Cleared for publication – An IDF Operations Directorate officer with the rank of a major is suspected of heading a drug ring that sold narcotics smuggled into Israel.
The officer, who commanded cadets in Bahad 1 training base in the south, was responsible for storing narcotics seized by security forces on the Egypt-Israel border. The police suspect that he sold heroin and hashish to drug dealers in central Israel.
Police arrested nine other suspects along with the IDF officer. They are all expected to be arraigned later this week.
Drugs caught in suspect's possession (Photo: Israel Police)
A covert investigation of the Tel Aviv Central Police Unit's drugs division and the Military Police Investigations Unit exposed the deep involvement of the officer, who holds a highly sensitive position in the military, in the activities of the smuggling network.
According to Chief Superintendent Yedidia Sabag, who headed the investigation, the officer was "in charge of arranging the drugs," which he had to hand to the police as part of his military duty.
In addition, the police suspect that the officer contacted other drug dealers and even conducted independent drug sales, mostly within the military base where he serves – and right under the noses of his commanders.
Sold drugs for NIS 2.1 million
The suspect was arrested at the beginning of October, shortly after completing another transaction in which he sold some 50 kg of hashish.
The affair was revealed last month following the arrest of a Yahud resident who was caught with 17 kg of hashish and thousands of ecstasy pills in his vehicle.
Suspect received NIS 30,000 for each kilo of heroin (Photo: Israel Police)
The large amounts of narcotics sparked the police's suspicion, and the investigation was handed over to the Tel Aviv Central Police Unit's drugs division, which launched a covert probe and revealed the drug ring and its members.
According to the drug ring's modus operandi, the officer was responsible for transferring the drugs seized by Border Guard officers to the police. He would then secretly take out a certain portion of the drugs and hide it near his office. Later, he contacted criminal elements from the center of Israel, who were responsible for distributing the stolen stash.
According to police estimates, the officer has been involved in drug ring for almost a year, and had pocketed hundreds of thousands of shekels.
The investigation also revealed that the officer transferred the members of the drug ring some 25 kg of heroin and between 150 and 200 kg of marihuana and hashish in the past few months.
Suspect during arraignment (Photo: Tsafrir Abayov)
According to the arrangement, the officer would be paid approximately NIS 30,000 for each kilo of heroin and NIS 10,000 for each kilo of hashish or marijuana.
The police estimate that the suspect was supposed to be paid a total sum of NIS 2.1 million, but found only NIS 300,000 deposited in his bank account. Further investigation revealed an additional NIS 300,000 hidden in a closet in the suspect's home, and police estimate the IDF officer had already spent a similar amount.
Tel Aviv Central Police Unit Commander Gadi Eshed told reporters, "This is a very grave incident in which normative people commit crimes. Most of the suspects had no criminal record."
Meanwhile, The suspect's parents on Sunday refused to believe the serious allegations, the mother insisting that her son fell victim to "a plot that someone has devised against him. I'm sure that someone will put a spoke in their wheel," she told Ynet.
"This is not possible, it can't be happening," the father said of the grave suspicions.
"He has no connection whatsoever to criminals," the major's mother added, "all his friends are fine people, including doctors. He's a lovely boy, salt of the earth. His wife would scream at him sometimes for being away from home a lot but I explained to her that she married a military man," she said.
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