HALIFAX — Israeli police have arrested 11 suspects in Tel Aviv after authorities in Halifax found nearly five kilograms of cocaine in a container headed for the Middle East.

The Canada Border Services Agency said its officers found 4.76 kilograms of cocaine in 33 small bags hidden among 1,200 bags of vegetable charcoal at the Port of Halifax on Nov. 16, 2018.

It said in a release Friday that the drug was turned over to the RCMP, and the Israeli National Police arrested 11 suspects in Tel Aviv.

The CBSA said the container was en route to Israel, and officers found them during an extensive search aided by unspecified tools.

Staff Sgt. Monica Jodrey of the Nova Scotia RCMP’s Federal and Serious Organized Crime unit said authorities around the globe are “sharing intelligence and co-ordinating enforcement activities” to target such criminals.

Chris Lorenz, the CBSA’s director general for the Atlantic region, said smugglers are using increasingly sophisticated means, and their officers are trained to detect them.

“Our officers are the first line of defence in protecting Canadians from the devastating social impacts and criminal activity associated with the smuggling of illegal drugs,” said Lorenz.

The Canadian Press

The Canadian Press