Police bust drug ring smuggling large cocaine haul disguised as almond syrup

Some 140 liters of liquefied drug imported from South America, valued at tens of millions of shekels; suspects from Qalansawe, Tira, and northern villages arrested

Bottles of almond syrup allegedly used to smuggle cocaine into the country, June 10, 2023. (Israel Police)
Bottles of almond syrup allegedly used to smuggle cocaine into the country, June 10, 2023. (Israel Police)

Cocaine worth tens of millions of shekels was seized after it was smuggled into the country inside bottles of almond syrup, Israel Police said in a statement on Saturday.

Several suspects from the towns of Qalansawe and Tira, as well as a number of villages in the Galilee, were arrested.

They were set to appear in court on Sunday for a remand hearing.

The contraband was brought into the country from South America, concealed inside some 180 bottles of syrup with a total volume of 140 liters.

It was stored in an unnamed city near the West Bank.

The arrests followed an undercover investigation over several months that included operations outside of the country, police said.

Packing containing bottle of almond syrup used to smuggle cocaine into the country. (Israel Police)

The bottles and their packaging were taken for forensic examination.

Some South American drug smugglers have in recent years reportedly turned to dissolving cocaine in liquids, which makes it harder to detect the drug by sniffer dogs or scanners located in ports.

The method requires eventually separating the cocaine from the liquid.

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