Netanya police launch major raid on organized crime

Olmert hosts meeting on fighting mobsters.

police generic 224.88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
police generic 224.88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The Netanya police launched a series of raids on organized crime hubs on Wednesday, targeting three gambling houses and searching the homes of suspects who launder money for crime organizations. The move came as Prime Minister Ehud Olmert held a special meeting in his office to discuss the battle against organized crime. The police action in Netanya was joined by the Central Unit's Special Patrol Officers and Border Police officers, who recovered a large number of checks, documents, computers and diaries "showing suspicious criminal financial activities," police said. Drugs of various kinds were also seized in the raid, as well as weapons and items police suspect are stolen. Five suspects said to be linked to organized crime were also charged with traffic offenses, police added. The action came days after Netanya was rocked by yet another criminal assassination, when a man identified as 27-year-old Nati Ohion, who was linked to the Abutbul crime family, was gunned down in his car. Ohion married into the Abutbul family one month ago. A second man, Rami Meimon, 40, sustained moderate to serious wounds. The Abutbuls are entangled in mob warfare in Netanya, reportedly with mobster Ricko Shirazi. Family head Charlie Abutbul was shot by two gunmen in a kiosk in September, an attack that also wounded three civilians. Also on Wednesday, a man who was fleeing from a criminal attempting to extort him crashed his vehicle into a number of other vehicles. Police who stopped the man first suspected him of being drunk before learning that he was a law-abiding citizen on the run from a criminal. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert convened a special meeting to discuss police efforts against organized crime. The meeting was attended by Public Security Minister Avi Dichter, Justice Minister Daniel Friedmann, Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz, State Prosecutor Moshe Lador, and Israel Police Commissioner Insp.-Gen Dudi Cohen. It was also attended by Prisons Service Commissioner Benny Kaniak, Tax Authority Director Yehuda Nasardishi and other senior law enforcement officials. Olmert was told that approximately 500 criminal organization operatives are currently being held in Prisons Service installations, either on remand or serving sentences. Olmert said the Israel Police could not be accused of not doing enough to combat organized crime, heaping praise on "the achievements in the struggle so far [which] were worthy of admiration." He added, however, that the war on organized crime had to become more centralized and called for the establishment of a body to exclusively deal with the issue. Olmert instructed Dichter, Friedmann, and Finance Minister Ronnie Bar-On to chair a team that will present proposals within a month for a body to coordinate the war on organized crime which will include economic measures against criminal syndicates.