An Israeli man deported by Colombia for allegedly running a crime ring in the country was arrested on Tuesday upon his arrival in Israel at Ben Gurion International Airport.
Assi Ben-Mosh, 44, said “everything’s alright, it’ll be fine,” as he was handed over to Israeli custody by Colombian policemen, the Ynet news site reported.
— איתי בלומנטל (@ItayBlumental) November 28, 2017
Colombian authorities put Ben-Mosh on a flight out of the country on Sunday and footage aired by Colombian media showed him being marched through Bogota’s El Dorado International Airport.
The Israeli had allegedly been running a resort hotel near the northern Colombian town of 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 over the weekend when the expulsion order against him was issued. Ben-Mosh had tried unsuccessfully to prevent his deportation from Columbia, including by applying to become a 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.”
He will be banned from returning to Columbia for 10 years, local media said.
The El Heraldo daily newspaper quoted Colonel Gustavo Berdugo, commander of the Metropolitan Police of Santa Marta, as saying that with Ben-Mosh’s departure the local population wants to clear Taganga of its tarnished image.
“The population is very concerned, because we want it to be a favored place of tourism, but due to its nature and landscapes, and not because of prostitution and drugs,” he said in Spanish comments he made to the daily.