Large swathes of Israel Police forces raided the Abu Latif criminal organization on Wednesday morning, as part of an investigation that uncovered billions of shekels' worth of tax evasion.
The large-scale police investigation, which culminated on Wednesday with the arrest of 21 individuals, was internally named the 'Black Billion' investigation.
The raid was conducted following a year-long undercover investigation of Israel Police's Northern District central unit. The investigation found that Abu Latif was involved in several extortion incidents targeting citizens and business owners from Israel's North.
700 officers take part in huge raid of northern Israel mob
As part of the undercover probe, police officers disguised themselves as construction workers to portray themselves as prime targets for extortion. A breakthrough in the case was achieved a year ago, allowing police to build evidence against senior officials and members connected to the organization.
Some 700 police officers, Border Police officers and special forces units all took part in the Wednesday morning raid. While the police did not name the suspects arrested during the raid, it is believed that criminal organization's leaders were included as part of the 21 individuals arrested by police.
More arrests are expected to be conducted over the coming days, police said.
What is the Abu Latif criminal organization?
According to police, the Abu Latif organization is further tied to a myriad of crimes carried out across northern Israel. The organization is suspected to be connected to the collection of protection rackets, involvement in public tenders, hostile takeovers of businesses, shooting incidents and several murders.
The organization was also involved in a couple of shootouts with police in the Druze city of Maghar. One, which occurred some 18 months ago, led to the death of a member by police fire and another some two months ago, in which an Abu Latif member was seriously injured.