Amos Dov Silver, founder of the Israeli cannabis distribution network Telegrass, was arrested in Kyiv on Tuesday, announced Israeli Ambassador to Ukraine Joel Lion.
At the same time, 42 members of the criminal organization were arrested in Israel.
The operation was jointly coordinated by the Israel Police and the Security Service of Ukraine’s directorate for fighting organized crime and corruption.
“The embassy of the State of Israel in Ukraine takes this opportunity to sincerely thank our Ukrainian partners for the assistance given and the work done in good faith. This is yet another demonstration of the high level of our bilateral relations between Israel and Ukraine,” the Israeli ambassador wrote.
According to media reports, the Telegrass group was used to take “orders” and coordinate between producers and suppliers through the encrypted Telegram messaging service. In addition to marijuana, Telegrass sells cocaine, LSD and MDMA (ecstasy). The monthly revenue of the platform is estimated at 60 million shekels ($16.6 million).
Organization participants are paid in cash, cryptocurrency or drugs to keep the source of funds hidden from external control, and members operate under fake names.
“On 12 March, on the basis of a request for international assistance, Ukrainian law enforcement arrested the leader of a drug cartel in Kyiv, where he had come to establish ‘business ties’ with members of the local criminal circles. The foreigner has now been given over to the National Police for his extradition to be organized,” the report states.