Two Israelis, a man in his 30s and a 22-year-old woman, were arrested in Arica, Chile last week on suspicion of attempting to smuggle about 15 kilos (33 pounds) of cocaine out of the country, Ynet has learned.
The detainees, both residents of south Israel, were apprehended by customs officials at an airport in the northern city, which is located just a few kilometers from the Peruvian border. They were taken to a local detention center, where they are currently awaiting developments in the investigation.
Israel's consul in Santiago has contacted them and said they were in good health. The suspects' families have hired a lawyer, Mordechai Tzivin, who is expected to travel to Chile in the coming days.
Ina, the mother of the Israeli woman who was detained, told Ynet "I don’t even know how she ended up in South America. She flew to Berlin for a two-week vacation. She's a good, normative girl, and has never had any run-ins with the law. All that is left for us to do is hope that our attorney will handle the matter successfully."
In November 2008, Israeli police detectives and customs officials, in cooperation with law enforcement officials in Peru and other Latin American countries, uncovered one of the largest drug smuggling operations in Israel's history.
At the time, authorities seized almost a ton and a half of cocaine worth NIS 2 billion (roughly $500 million.)