Police arrest 70 in major raid on organized crime

Agents managed to purchase machine guns, rifles, explosives, dozens of kilos of various drugs in months-long undercover operation.

Police car in Tel Aviv at night 311 (photo credit: Yoni Cohen)
Police car in Tel Aviv at night 311
(photo credit: Yoni Cohen)
Police arrested 70 suspects from across Israel overnight Tuesday in the one of the largest anti-organized crime raids in recent years.
Hundreds of officers led by Coastal Police officers raided addresses in several cities, from Nazareth to Eilat, after two undercover agents spent months purchasing weapons and narcotics from the suspects, police said.
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The investigation began after a convict in his 40s, a resident of a northern village, agreed to become an undercover police agent while still behind bars. Working with an undercover police handler who operated outside of prison, the two men carried out dozens of transactions, purchasing a MAG machine gun, rifles, handguns and bombs – weapons criminals intended to use on one another, but which also posed a real threat to members of the public who could have been caught in the crossfire. The two also bought dozens of kilograms of heroin, cocaine, hashish and thousands of Ecstasy pills.
“Some of the suspects are influential organized crime figures,” a police spokesman said. Several are suspected of attacking police and threatening the lives of officers.
Police impounded luxurious jeeps and all-terrain vehicles in the raid, as well as water bikes. The Tax Authority froze bank accounts and seized real state assets.
Before the raid, Cmdr. Hagai Dotan, head of the Coastal Police, briefed officers preparing for the mission, telling them that the raid would strike a serious blow to organized crime across the country.
“We won’t be deterred by the complexity of the mission,” he said. Dotan handed out certificates to honor the two undercover agents and their handlers.
“Dozens of indictments are being written up. This will have a serious effect on organized crime across the country,” Dotan said.
Three of the suspects are affiliated with the crime organization of Michael Mor, considered by police to be a major mob boss, who left the country. Mor served a prison sentence for threatening the lives of police tracking him in Nahariya and was released in 2009. Four of those officers were later themselves imprisoned for planting explosives outside of Mor’s home. One of the officers was shot and moderately wounded in a drive-by shooting in Nahariya in July.
The suspects include Mor’s brother, and another man said by police to be linked to the organization who owns a currency exchange store.