Spain busts 267-kg shipment of cocaine en route to Israel

Police at Port of Algeciras find drugs concealed in bags of coal in shipment from Colombia bound for Ben Gurion Airport

File: Illustrative photo of cocaine (CC BY-SA Valerie Everett, Flickr)
File: Illustrative photo of cocaine (CC BY-SA Valerie Everett, Flickr)

Spanish authorities on Tuesday seized a 267-kilogram shipment of cocaine from Colombia to Israel.

According to reports in Hebrew-language media, police at the Port of Algeciras intercepted the cocaine, which was packed inside bags of coal in a shipment bound for Ben Gurion Airport.

Israel has seen an increase in demand for cocaine in recent years, especially among white-collar Israelis, according to a recent UN World Drug Report.

Israel is situated at a crossroads between several drug-trafficking routes crossing Africa, Eastern Europe and the Middle East, a location that is reportedly making Israel a “major hub” in the international cocaine trade.

Last month, an Israeli man was extradited from Poland to the US where he was charged with drug trafficking and money laundering charges.

Prosecutors said 33-year-old Jalal Altarabeen conspired to transfer $2.5 million worth of cocaine from Colombia to Israel via Boston. He was charged with conspiring to possess with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine and six counts of international money laundering.

A Jordanian national, whom US authorities have declined to name, also was indicted over the scheme in February but remains at large. The indictments were the result of an undercover operation that began in October 2015.

AP contributed to this report.

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