Police investigating Israeli organ-trafficking ring


The Israeli man believed to be behind an organ-trafficking ring has evaded capture, according to a monthlong police investigation.

The main suspect is from Beersheva and is in his 40s, police in southern Israel said.

A gag order on the organ-trafficking case was lifted on Tuesday.

Young women reportedly were convinced to travel to Turkey to provide organs for transplant into older, wealthier women. They were promised thousands of dollars for the service.

Turkish police also are investigating the case, according to Haaretz.

Police were made aware of the scheme last month, when an 18-year-old who had flown to Turkey to have her kidney removed returned to Israel after changing her mind about the surgery. Her parents filed a complaint with Beersheva police.

The young women were introduced to the would-be recipients to form an emotional bond and thus ensure their cooperation, Ynet reported. Many of the women interviewed for the investigation said they did not receive money for their act, though police believe they did receive payment in cash.

Israeli living in N.Y. sentenced for organ trafficking


An Israeli citizen living in New York was sentenced to prison for organ trafficking.

Levy Izhak Rosenbaum, 61, of Brooklyn, was sentenced Wednesday to 2 1/2 years in prison. He had pleaded guilty last Oct. 27 to three counts of organ trafficking and one count of conspiracy in a New Jersey federal court.

Rosenbaum had faced up to 20 years in prison; he could be deported to Israel after finishing his prison term.

He was the first person to be convicted of illegal organ trafficking in the United States since a 1984 law banned the sale of human organs, according to reports.

Rosenbaum reportedly was paid $410,000 to arrange the sales of kidneys from healthy donors in Israel to three people in New Jersey. He was caught in a sting operation in July 2009 set up with government informant Solomon Dwek, a real estate speculator arrested for a $50 million bank fraud. Some 40 other people, mostly rabbis and politicians from New Jersey, were arrested in a sting assisted by Dwek.

Surgeries for the donors and recipients took place in American hospitals, which were not identified by prosecutors in the case. The kidney donors and recipients also were not identified or charged.

+