Ultra-Orthodox men busted at airport with 7.5 kilos of coke
One suspect tells investigators he was given suitcase in Amsterdam and wasn’t aware of its contents; police hunting larger drug ring
Israeli customs officials recently arrested two ultra-Orthodox men at Ben Gurion Airport in possession of 7.5 kilograms (16.5 pounds) of cocaine stashed in a suitcase.
Several other men are suspected of involvement in attempt to smuggle the illegal substance, Channel 2 reported Friday.
A suspect’s lawyer told Channel 2 that his client was arrested two weeks ago and said he was given the suitcase in Amsterdam to bring to Israel without knowledge of its contents.
Police were investigating the possibility of a larger drug smuggling ring attempting to bring hundreds of pounds of cocaine into the country.
The bust was the latest in a series of arrests of alleged drug smugglers attempting to sneak illegal substances into the country. In July officers seized five kilograms (11 pounds) of ecstasy found in liquid form in a man’s suitcase.
The drug, said to be worth NIS 2 million ($524,000), was concealed inside wine bottles and absorbed within the walls of a suitcase.
Three ultra-Orthodox Israeli men were also nabbed in July for allegedly operating an international drug trafficking operation after authorities found thousands of ecstasy pills on their person at the airport.
According to a Walla news report, their traditional ultra-Orthodox apparel didn’t raise suspicions among airport and customs authorities.
One suspect, a 25-year-old man from Netanya, was nabbed upon landing at Ben Gurion Airport in possession of six kilograms — 13,000 pills — of ecstasy in his suitcase and another kilo of “raw drug material of great worth,” according to the ultra-Orthodox news site B’hadrei Haredim. The other two suspects, a 22-year-old man from Beitar Illit and a 26-year-old from Jerusalem, were rounded up shortly afterward.