Police bust Ashdod crime-ring.
(photo credit: Courtesy Ashdod Police)
Detectives raided the addresses of 19 organized crime suspects and a senior
Ashdod Municipality worker on Monday morning following a major undercover
Police and Tax Authority officials gathered evidence that
pointed to the existence of a hierarchical crime organization that profits from
illegal gambling, police said.
Proceeds totaled tens of millions of
shekels, police added. Protection money extracted from businesses,
sometimes with violence, was also a major alleged source of income for the
During the investigation, suspicions emerged that an Ashdod
Municipality employee was on the mob’s payroll, helping the alleged criminals
launder funds and ensuring that they won public tenders.
points to an organized, systematic and continuous connection and exploitation of
contacts with a municipality worker to promote the objectives of the crime
organization and gain profit,” police said.
For the first time, police
and prosecutors will make use of Clause 4 of the Organized Crime Law, which
tackles cooperation between criminals and public workers, and carries a maximum
penalty of 10 years in prison.
Police say the use of the law is
unprecedented, and a sign of things to come when dealing with crime
organizations “and their wrongful connections with public
During Monday’s raids, officers searched the suspect’s home and
seized a million shekels in cash, as well 11 luxury vehicles. Assets and
properties worth tens of millions of shekels were frozen by police.
is a sad day for all lawabiding citizens regarding the wrongful connection
between wealth and power,” Cmdr. Yossi Prienti, head of the police’s
southern district, said following the operation.
He described the linkage
between a mob outfit and a local government employee as “worrying and dangerous.
It has kept me up at nights, and should set off warning lights for us all.”