An ex-security chief for Israeli airline El Al is accused of being part of a drugs smuggling ring and using his position of authority to help illegally bring 150 kilograms of cocaine through Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion International Airport. Rami Yogev has been charged with importing a dangerous drug and conspiracy to commit a crime alongside Avi Peretz, David Dadon, Yaniv Hazan, Lidan Shatui, Asher Mesilti, and Yaakov Felician.
Another of the suspects was an ex-Shin Bet officer who once served as the head of security for the Prime Ministers office.
Yogev, who had worked for El Al for 25 years at the time of his arrest is described as a former “high-ranking security liaison” who often worked with Shin Bet on determining the Israeli flag carrier’s foreign security arrangements. The position gave him privileged access to bypass normal security rules at what is believed to be one of the most secure airports in the world.
The indictment against the eight men accuses them of smuggling Cocaine in hand luggage that was brought onboard El Al flights from Johannesburg, South Africa to Tel Aviv. Yogev allegedly met seven flights in total after landing in Israel and immediately whisked the hand luggage containing the drugs off the mule as soon as the aircraft doors opened.
He was then allegedly able to use his high-level security clearance to bypass normal security and customs checks to get the drugs into Israel undetected.
Yogev was originally arrested alongside three others in November 2018 but the investigation has been dragging on ever since and six fresh charges were filed against the men on Sunday.
During his first court appearance, a police officer accused Yogev of having a larger role to play in the drug trafficking syndicate than the others. His attorney, however, said that while he strenuously denied the allegations, he could not elaborate further due to the sensitive nature of his job.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.