After nearly a year of operating an undercover cop within northern Israel's major crime organizations, the police carried out arrests overnight Saturday of suspected arms and drug traffickers, arresting 33 of them, including the infamous crime boss Michael Mor, and confiscating large amounts of guns, ammunition and drugs.
Mor, 39, is a renowned criminal and resident of Ramat Gan who is believed by the police to head a major criminal organization in northern Israel. His remand was extended by nine days, as he faces charges of running a criminal outfit, importing and trading drugs, trading weapons and weapon accessories, and trading in stolen car parts.
Another person arrested during the operation is Shimon Sharvit, 37, Mor's right-hand man and the son-in-law of Ze'ev Rosenstein, an infamous drug trafficker.
There have been several violent incidents in Nahariya and the Krayot in recent weeks as part of the infighting between the criminal underground gangs in the north, where grenades and explosive charges have been used to eliminate rivals.
Just last Thursday, an explosive device detonated underneath a car belonging to a person connected to one of those organizations, stationed in Kiryat Haim in Haifa, seriously wounding its owner.
The investigation against the crime organization, which was originally based in Nahariya, is usually conducted by the police's Central Command in the Coastal District. This time, however, the investigation was conducted by the Central Command in the Northern District, and also encompassed the phenomenon of arms trafficking in the Arab sector.
As part of the undercover agent's activities, he purchased weapons and drugs, including two Carl Gustav rifles, an M-16 rifle, an MP5 submachine gun, a FN pistol, a Beretta pistol and a silencer, a Glock pistol, a Smith & Wesson pistol, and four more guns of different types. In addition, he bought half a kilogram of cocaine and 2.7 kilograms of marijuana.
The police also seized drugs, about NIS 200,000 in cash and several vehicles and motorcycles, which were believed to have been used by the suspected criminals to carry out transactions.
The investigation was made known when on early Sunday morning, about 250 police officers, detectives, border police officers, border guards, K-9 handlers and others surrounded and raided the houses of suspects in Ramat Gan, Petah Tikva, Afula, Migdal Ha'emek, Nahariya, Umm al-Fahm, and Shibli–Umm al-Ghanam.
Seven people suspected of involvement are already held in prison for previous offenses.
The police said this is part of its determined struggle against serious and violent crime, especially the phenomenon of illegal weapons in the Arab sector, dealing in various types of weapons, drug trafficking and violence over disputes between criminal organizations, which they defined as "a danger to the peace and security of the general public."
"The suspects strongly deny the suspicions against them," said the lawyers representing them. "We have no doubt that this is a false arrest and that they will be released in the next few days."