Israel arrests 'organ traffickers'

Six suspects held on suspicion of running an international organ-trafficking ring.

    Further arrests are expected following a month-long undercover investigation across Israel [EPA]

    They also said they had prevented several would-be donors from giving up their kidneys, intercepting some at Israel's airport as they were preparing to travel abroad for surgery.

    The traffickers offered up to $100,000 per kidney but in at least two cases did not pay the donors after the organs were surgically removed, police said.

    The number of actual transplants was not known, Rosenfeld said. He said that "dozens" of potential donors answered newspaper ads placed by the ring.

    The donors were flown to Europe, South America or Southeast Asia, where the organs were extracted.

    They often returned home empty-handed and with medical complications, police said. Israeli law bans organ sales.

    Potential donors cautioned

    Police notified several potential donors shortly before surgery, as well as several people who had already travelled abroad and others who were stopped at the Ben-Gurion airport in Tel Aviv, Rosenfeld said.

    In an unrelated case last year, an FBI sting in New Jersey exposed an organ-trafficking ring that operated for more than a decade. Levy Izhak Rosenbaum, an American, was charged with conspiring to arrange the sale of an Israeli citizen's kidney for $160,000.

    Organ donors in that case were brought to the US from Israel, where their kidneys were removed, according to the indictment.

    The New Jersey case mushroomed from an investigation into money laundering and trafficking in kidneys and fake designer bags to a political-corruption probe, resulting in 44 arrests.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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