A day after Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu speculated at the possibility of legalizing recreational Marijuana, the police have busted a gang of 42 members who were allegedly running a mass cannabis distribution network named ‘Telegrass’ from a number of countries, including Israel, Ukraine, Germany, and the United States.
Notably, Telegrass, which operated via the Telegram instant messaging app, was one of the largest drug sale networks in Israel. The syndicate reportedly had thousands of dealers, and tens of thousands of customers, including minors, who could anonymously order drugs – not just cannabis, but MDMA and cocaine as well – through their smartphone app.
The gang members who were arrested in Israel are due to appear in Rishon Lezion Magistrate’s Court on March 12. The leader of Telegrass, however, was busted in Ukraine and attempts are being made to extradite him to Israel at the earliest.
Post the arrest of the 42 individuals, the police have raided dozens of houses and offices, confiscating drugs and “technological means” used by the organization to run their network.
The arrested men who dubbed their network as the “crime syndicate for all intents and purposes” will be charged on grounds of trading & providing dangerous drugs, brokering drug deals, money laundering, managing and funding a criminal organization, disrupting court proceedings, conspiring to commit a crime and tax evasion.
Israel has taken a number of steps in recent years to make medical cannabis available to patients and the government is now looking to legalize recreational marijuana, especially after a surge in support for the rival pro-cannabis and quasi-libertarian Zehut party, led by firebrand former Likud MK Moshe Feiglin.