Israeli police have detained 10 members of an international crime ring suspected of organ trafficking and illegal transplant surgeries, an Israeli law enforcement source told RIA Novosti.
“The data that we have received indicates that an organ trafficking network that involved Israeli citizens has been operating here [in Israel], the source said on Friday.
“The suspects sought out donors who experienced financial difficulties and convinced them to sell their organs without warning of possible consequences and side effects, and without proper post-surgery treatment,” he added.
The source said that the names of the arrested suspects had not been made public yet, but Moshe Harel, the kingpin of the trafficking ring, could be among them.
Harel has been sought for years by Kosovo authorities for his alleged involvement in organ trafficking and illegal transplant surgeries at the Medicus clinic in the Kosovo capital, Pristina, in 2008.
According to investigation, at least 30 illegal kidney removals and transplants were carried out in the clinic.
The donors were from poor Eastern European and Central Asian countries, including Russia, Moldova and Kazakhstan. They were promised about 15,000 euros ($19,000) to become organ donors. The organs were later re-sold for between 80,000 and 100,000 euros ($100,000-$125,000).
The Medicus clinic was raided by police in 2008 after a Turkish man collapsed at Pristina airport waiting for a flight back to Istanbul after having a kidney removed.
Clinic owner Lutfi Dervishi, and six others are currently on trial in Pristina on charges of organ trafficking.
The case is being investigated by the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX), which was set up to assist and support the Kosovo authorities in the police, judiciary and customs areas after the territory declared independence from Serbia in 2008.