Four suspects accused of smuggling drugs have done it before, say police

Young women arrested at Ben Gurion Airport two weeks ago set to be indicted on multiple counts of smuggling cocaine and ketamine worth millions

Four women suspected of trying to smuggle cocaine and ketamine into Israel, pictured at a hearing at the Rishon Lezion Magistrate's Court on January 22, 2023. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)
Four women suspected of trying to smuggle cocaine and ketamine into Israel, pictured at a hearing at the Rishon Lezion Magistrate's Court on January 22, 2023. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

The four young women suspected of attempting to smuggle millions of shekels worth of cocaine and ketamine into Israel are slated to be indicted in the coming days, the Rishon Lezion Magistrate’s Court ruled on Sunday.

The court extended by five days the remand of the four suspects, who were arrested upon their entry into Israel two weeks ago.

According to one police official cited by the public broadcaster Kan, there was evidence that pointed to previous smuggling activities by the suspects: Idan Tsauber, 24, of Kfar Saba, Orel Ben Haim, 24, also of Kfar Saba, Arbel Mizrahi, 24, of Tel Aviv, and Lee Poni, 22, of Kiryat Gat.

The report said police suspect that all four of the suspects had worked together to previously smuggle drugs into Israel, including twice from Budapest, once from Berlin, and once from Thailand.

According to the Ynet news site, police intend to charge the four women for multiple drug smuggling incidents dating back to September 2022.

Kan also cited the official as saying that the four young women were all active drug users and had spent more than NIS 100,000 combined on drugs they consumed themselves.

A police inspection of luggage of suspects who allegedly tried to smuggle 15 kilograms of cocaine and ketamine into Israel, at Ben Gurion Airport, January 15, 2023. (Israel Police)

A Channel 13 report cited police as saying the suspects were part of a smuggling network sponsored by criminal entities in Israel.

The arrest of the four young women without any previous criminal history shocked the nation — as well as many of their family members.

Four Israeli woman alleged to have attempted smuggle in cocaine and ketamine worth millions of dollars (Social media; used in accordance with clause 27a of the copyright law)

The four suspects were arrested on January 15 after landing at Ben Gurion Airport. While inspecting the luggage of three of the women, officers uncovered a large amount of suspected cocaine and ketamine hidden in shampoo containers and food supplement packages, leading to their arrests. The substances were taken to a police lab for testing.

The fourth woman managed to leave the airport with a suitcase of suspected illicit drugs, and was detained outside with her boyfriend and another person on suspicion of trying to hide the drugs, the Kan public broadcaster reported.

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