15 arrested in Nazareth drug, illegal meat raid

Authorities investigating 17 restaurants, butchers and businesses for money laundering, fraud.

Handcuffs [Illustrative] (photo credit: INIMAGE)
Handcuffs [Illustrative]
(photo credit: INIMAGE)
Over 150 police officers working in coordination with the Attorney-General’s Office arrested 15 Nazareth restaurateurs and businessmen Monday for money laundering, drug dealing and selling over 100 kg. of illegally procured meat.
According to police, the joint operation was recently initiated following widespread reports of financial fraud among at least 17 restaurants, area businesses and butchers in the area working together to launder millions of shekels and selling the illegal meat.
“Information was picked up over the last few weeks that led to concrete evidence of widespread illegal activity under the same umbrella in terms of money laundering and selling illegal meat,” said Police Spokesman Micky Rosenfeld.
The subsequent far-reaching undercover investigation, he said, involved the National Fraud Squad, Finance Ministry, attorney-general and several other regional law enforcement agencies.
During a simultaneous Monday morning raid of the 17 businesses, Rosenfeld said police seized over NIS 2 million in cash in foreign currencies, NIS 1.5m.
in fraudulent checks, over 100 kg. of illegally purchased meat and an unspecified amount of hash intended for sale.
Additionally, five vehicles were seized as evidence, he said.
Citing the ongoing investigation, Rosenfeld said he could not comment on the origins of the money and meat, or the time period the suspects coordinated their illegal operation.
Charges against the suspects also include tax evasion, electricity theft and banking fraud, he said.