TEL AVIV – A 267-kilogram shipment of cocaine hidden in bags of coal and bound for Israel was intercepted by Spanish authorities on Tuesday.
En route from Colombia, authorities at the Port of Algeciras seized the cargo, and opened the coal bags to find the illicit drug concealed inside.
According to a recent UN World Drug Report, cocaine use in Israel is steadily on the rise, in particular among white-collar Israelis.
“Whereas people in the past looked for drugs that would soothe them and produce peace of mind, now they are looking for drugs that will enable them to be more alert. Cocaine is a social drug that can be found in nightclubs in Israel’s major cities and among a wide range of users, most of them in the liberal professions,” Dr. Haim Mal, head of the rehabilitation unit in the Israel Anti-Drug Authority, told Haaretz newspaper in 2013.
The International Narcotics Control Board in 2012 listed Brazil and Israel among the “countries that are major manufacturers, exporters, importers and users of narcotic drugs.”
Israel is strategically situated between different drug-trafficking routes crossing Africa, Eastern Europe and the Middle East, turning the country into a “major hub” in the international cocaine trade.
In 2008, Israeli police successfully dismantled a major international smuggling ring after a shipment of cocaine worth more than half a billion dollars was intercepted.
Last month, the U.S. issued an extradition demand to Poland for an Israeli Arab man in his 30s accused of intent to ship $2.5 million worth of cocaine from Colombia to Israel via Boston. Jalal Altarabeen was also charged with six counts of money laundering.
A Jordanian national was also indicted in the offence but has so far evaded U.S. authorities.