By YAAKOV LAPPIN
A week after police proudly announced they shut down an enormous cocaine smuggling network involving senior Israeli mobsters and Panamanian criminals, alleged underworld kingpin and explosives expert Amir Mulner, who was a suspect in the case, was released from custody on Tuesday.
Police released Mulner after they failed to find sufficient evidence linking him to the case, but the alleged senior mob figure will remain in jail as he is serving sentences in other cases, Army Radio reported.
It appears that another senior mobster who was a suspect in the case, Ze'ev Rosenstein, will also be let off the hook due to lack of sufficient evidence linking him to the network.
Rosenstein is currently serving a 12-year prison sentence for managing an international ecstasy smuggling network.
Eighteen suspects in the drug smuggling case remain in custody, and five of them will be indicted this week, police said.
An international undercover investigation began earlier this year after the Central Police District's Central Unit received intelligence regarding a massive operation to smuggle pure, high-quality cocaine, stashed in electric transformers in speakers, into Israel from Panama in a shipping container.
The Customs Service and the Israel Postal Company were brought into the investigation, as were police in Panama, and Israeli police attaches abroad were activated to coordinate the transnational law enforcement operation.
Yaakov Lappin contributed to this report
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