HAIFA, Israel, Nov. 25 (UPI) -- A multinational effort led to the breakup of a major cocaine ring and the seizure of the largest quantity of drugs in Israeli police history, officials said.
More than 3,000 pounds of cocaine was seized in three raids worldwide, including Haifa's international ports, Israeli Coastal Police Deputy Cmdr. Michael Shafshak told The Jerusalem Post Tuesday. The cocaine was stashed in metal cutting machines.
The operation involving the Coastal Police's Central Unit, Haifa Customs and authorities from Spain and Peru began six months ago, Shafshak said.
The investigation alleged that former soccer player Moshe El-Garbli, 40, of Magdim, led the network, and that Morris Abdelhek, 51, of Kiryat Yam, headed ground operations in Peru, he said.
El-Garbli is at large, police said while Abdelhek was arrested in Peru with four Peruvian suspects, the Post reported.
"We found a number of Israeli figures who made contact with Peruvian criminals," Shafshak said.
The two other ships, with approximately 600 pounds and 1,200 pounds of cocaine, respectively, were seized in the Bahamas and Peru, he said.
"This is a mortal blow to the cocaine market in Israel and it will cause serious damage to markets around the world," Shafshak told the Post.