The head of a crime syndicate from the North, as well as an engineer and contractor suspected of being involved in the extortion of over NIS 25 million were arrested by Israel Police forces on Sunday.
The crime lord and the other suspects were taken in for questioning and are set to be brought before a court hearing to extend their detention in police custody.
According to Maariv, the crime syndicate in question is the Abu Latif crime ring. This is one of Israel's largest and most infamous criminal organizations, along with the Ramle-based Jarushi crime family.
What was the Israeli crime ring involved in?
According to police officers in Lahav 443's financial crime unit, the suspects are accused of extortion by allegedly threatening contractors to give up a tender awarded by the Defense Ministry. This tender was worth some NIS 25 million and would have seen the contractors work on a building project at a school in Karmiel.
The suspects allegedly forced the winning contractors to transfer the tender over to a contractor linked to the crime syndicate, who is included among the suspects.
One of the winning contractors filed a complaint about threats he received from the suspects after he later won another tender from the Defense Ministry for the construction of a security barrier on the Lebanese border.
The tender was awarded two years ago, but due to the threats of extortion, none of the construction work has begun.
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.
In early February, Israel Police forces raided the Abu Latif criminal organization as part of an investigation that uncovered billions of shekels' worth of tax evasion. This investigation was known internally as the "Black Billion" investigation and culminated in the arrest of 21 suspects.