Three Israelis were arrested over the weekend in Colombia, along with 15 others, on suspicion of involvement in sex trafficking in the tourist city of Cartagena that included the sexual exploitation of more than 250 women and girls, Israel's Ynet news reported.
It's reported that Colombian authorities also asked Interpol to arrest a former Israel soldier deported from Colombia for running a child prostitution ring. Authorities claimed that even after his expulsion, 44-year-old Israeli citizen Assi Ben-Mosh continued to manage his illicit operations in Colombia from afar.
Mosh was deported to Israel after it was discovered that he was part of a group of ex-Israeli soldiers that had turned a small fishing village in Taganga into a "sex and drug den" from their base in a luxury resort, the Benjamin Hostel which was known to locals as "little Israel".
From "little Israel" Moosh is reported to have run similar clubs exploiting drugs and children in Cartagena, Bogotá, Medellín, Ecuador, Mexico and Brazil. Local residents spoke of their relief following his arrest and deportation last November and thought they had seen the back of the former Israeli soldier.
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Colombian authorities said that Moosh had harmed the security of the state and its citizens. Reports identified Moosh who was also accused of a number of other charges including tax fraud, drug offenses and inciting children to prostitution.
Moosh denies any connection to the tourism sex ring and, according to Israeli sources, he is currently waging a legal battle to return to Colombia.
The bust over the weekend followed months of surveillance. Authorities said that it was one of the biggest operations to combat child sex trafficking and forced prostitution in Cartagena. In a statement, the attorney general's office described the victims as "real slaves of the 21st century".