In a groundbreaking operation on Saturday, June 10, 2023, Israel Police announced the interception of a massive drug smuggling operation, netting cocaine worth tens of millions of shekels. The drug was intricately concealed within 180 bottles of almond syrup, amounting to a total of 140 liters.

Apprehension of Key Suspects

Several key suspects from the towns of Qalansawe and Tira, along with a number of villages in the Galilee region, have been detained. Following their arrest, these individuals are scheduled for a court appearance on Sunday for their remand hearing.

Innovative Smuggling Techniques

The seized contraband, originally sourced from South America, was ingeniously concealed in almond syrup bottles, a creative technique that is reportedly becoming more common among South American drug cartels according to The Guardian. The dissolved form of cocaine in liquids poses significant challenges for detection by sniffer dogs or port scanners, a factor that presumably played a part in the choice of this smuggling method. However, this method demands a subsequent process of drug extraction from the liquid medium.

Undercover Operation & Findings

The successful bust was the result of a several-month-long undercover investigation, inclusive of operations outside Israel. The confiscated bottles and packaging have been sent for further forensic analysis as reported by The Jerusalem Post. According to the police statement, the stash was hidden in an undisclosed city near the West Bank.

Police Progress in the Anti-Drug Crusade

This successful operation is a significant win for the Central Unit of the police’s Central District, which has been conducting a stealth, international investigation focused on halting the influx of cocaine from South America. The seized contraband represents a significant financial value in the drug market. The next steps involve a continued evidence extraction process in forensic labs from the containers and other evidence collected.