Containers holding over half a ton of a new MDMB-type drug worth tens of millions of shekels were caught by Israel Police and Customs inspectors at the Ashdod Port, police and the Tax Authority announced on Thursday.
The containers were caught after an international undercover investigation. A resident of Herzliya suspected of involvement in the attempted smuggling has been notified that an indictment is being prepared against him.
Over a matter of weeks, the central unit of the Central District of Israel Police conducted a joint investigation spanning the globe with the intelligence department and drug inspectors at the Ashdod Customs office.
The investigators monitored and tracked two containers that were declared as holding legal furniture items, but inspectors found packages hidden among the furniture containing powder used in the production of new MDMB-type drugs weighing in at over 600 kg, as well as machinery used to mix the powder with other materials to produce the drugs.
The powder was transferred to laboratories run by Israel Police which found that the powder is part of a new MDMB-type drug that's worth about NIS 150,000 per kilogram, meaning that the shipment was worth over NIS 90 million.
During the investigation, police also tracked a suspect from Herzliya Pituach and, after collecting the necessary evidence, arrested him about three weeks ago, seizing assets and several luxury vehicles from his home.
The suspect's arrest has been extended by a court and an indictment is expected to be issued against the suspect in the coming days along with a request that he remain in custody until the end of the proceedings.
What are MDMB-type drugs?
MDMB-type drugs are one type of synthetic cannabinoids - drugs that bind to the same receptors that the chemicals in cannabis plants bind to. MDMB stands for "methyl-3,3-dimethyl butanoate." Synthetic cannabinoids are often sold in kiosks and on the internet and are sometimes referred to as "Nice Guy" in Israel.
These drugs have been linked to severe side effects and have even been linked to dozens of deaths around the world.