Law enforcement in Colombia on Thursday raided an Israeli-organized festival in the northeast of the country, confiscating large quantities of drugs.
The event, known as BenjaFest, was allegedly organized by suspected Israeli crime lord Assi Ben-Mosh and was attended by some 800 people, 90 percent of whom were Israeli, the Ynet news site quoted Colombian immigration authorities as saying.
During the raid on the festival, which took place near the city of Santa Marta, authorities took down the information of Israeli participants but did not catch the event organizers, according to Ynet.
There were no reports of Israelis arrested.
Rafael Martinez, the mayor of Santa Marta, posted photos and video from the raid on his Twitter account.
Among the drugs seized by authorities were cocaine and ecstasy, according to Martinez.
Operativos dieron como resultado la incautación de:
* 140 dosis de éxtasis verde.
* 40 dosis de éxtasis rosado.
* 38 dosis de cocaína
* 20 gramos de cocaína.
* 307 dosis de 2CB
* 168 dosis de droga sintética MDMA
* 43 botellas de vodka adulterado. pic.twitter.com/8VqgUJBylr
— Rafael Martinez (@mrafael70) April 26, 2018
“Unfortunately, authorities in Colombia decided we are lawbreakers, even though we submitted to them all the approvals and everything we would need in order for the event to happen smoothly and pleasantly,” Ynet quoted BenjaFest organizers as saying.
Ben-Mosh, who reportedly organized the event, was deported to Israel from Colombia in November for allegedly running a crime ring that harmed the country’s security.
He had allegedly been running a resort hotel near Santa Marta, where he had set up a drug and sex crime ring. The Hotel Benjamin, in the fishing village of Taganga, was an attraction for many Israelis on their post-army travels but was unpopular with local residents due to the activities associated with it. His operations also extended into Ecuador, Brazil, and Mexico, local media reported.
Ben-Mosh and his partners were suspected of drug dealing, forcing minors into prostitution, and tax evasion, Hebrew media reported in November when the expulsion order against him was issued. Ben-Mosh had tried unsuccessfully to prevent his deportation, including by applying to become a Colombian resident.
In a statement at the time, local police announced “the deportation of the Israeli citizen who was running a spa hotel that was popular with many foreign tourists,” noting that Ben-Mosh “caused harm to the security of Colombia.”
After this incident, he will be banned from returning to Colombia for 10 years, local media said.