Aviv Abutbul arrested as police crackdown on mob continues

Son of Netanya-based crime family head Charlie Abutbul charged with possession of gun loaded with a bullet, silencer.

charlie abutbul 224 88 (photo credit: Channel 10 [file])
charlie abutbul 224 88
(photo credit: Channel 10 [file])
Aviv Abutbul, the son of alleged Netanya crime family head Charlie Abutbul, was arrested by the National Fraud Unit on Thursday in an operation police say is part of its war on organized crime. Abutbul was charged with possession of an improvised gun loaded with a bullet and a silencer. Shortly aftertwards, Aviv's brother, Adam, was also arrested by Netanya police after he was found to be in posession of an IDF-owned firearm. Adam was arrested while driving in Netanya together with four other suspects, who were also taken into custody. A gun and fireworks were discovered in the vehcile during a police search. The suspects will be brought before court on Friday for a custody hearing. Aviv and Adam's father, Charlie Abutbul, was shot and seriously wounded by two gunmen at a Netanya eatery in September, in an attack that also injured three innocent bystanders. Aviv Abutbul is the third underworld figure to be charged with possession of a firearm and silencer in the weeks that have followed the car-bomb slaying of another crime kingpin, Ya'acov Alperon. Alperon's brother Nissim and another gangland figure, Amir Mulner, who is one of the prime suspects in last month's hit, were arrested under similar charges. Aviv Abutbul's remand was extended by five days by a Petah Tivka court on Thursday afternoon. During the remand hearing, Abutbul's lawyer, David Yiftah, questioned the police representative, Moti Shwartzenberg, why other people in the Abutbul family residence in which the gun was hidden, such as Charlie Abutbul, were not arrested. Shwartzenberg said the police had made the reasons for Abutbul's arrest clear to the court, adding that Abutbul is suspected of being part of a criminal conspiracy. The police representative also denied claims by Yiftah that the improvised gun was found outside of the Abutbul home. The firearm was recovered by police in an internal elevator within the Abutbul complex, where it was hidden among old schoolbooks, Shwartzenberg said. Police have not said whether the arrest is linked to a shooting in Netanya earlier this week, when a man with links to the Abutbul crime family, 27-year-old Nati Ohayon, was gunned down in his car. Ohayon married into the Abutbul family one month ago. Petah Tikva Magistrate's Court Judge Aharon Golds ruled in favor of the police on Thursday, accepting the argument that releasing Abutbul would endanger the public and subvert a police investigation. Abutbul was already under house arrest due to a police raid two months ago, which found him to be in possession of two guns and a grenade. Thursday's arrest comes a day after Netanya police launched a series of raids on organized crime hubs in the city, targeting three gambling houses and searching the homes of suspected money launderers. Also Thursday, the Ashdod Magistrate's Court extended the remand of Roni and David Harari by four days. The Harari brothers, leaders of the Ramat Amidar gang, were arrested on Monday morning by Lachish Police on charges of extortion and threats against a businessman.