One of the operation's central targets was kiosks selling Mr. Niceguy, a recently illegalized drug still sold over the counter in Israeli kiosks. The drug is considered dangerous and is usually sold to minors, prompting fears as the school year ends and the summer recess begins.
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The police operation was one of the biggest in the southern district's history and it was the third such sweep since police district commander Yoram Halevy had taken command.
Thursday night, during the first leg of the operation, the officers arrested 12 men suspected of involvement in drug trade after larger quantities of Mr. Niceguy and Hashish were found in theidr home.
Afterwards, police shifted their focus to kiosks spread throughout the city which police believed were involved in selling the Mr. Niceguy drug.
Over the counter trouble
In five separate incidents, police managed to purchase the drug in a kiosk, prompting them to detain the salesperson and shut down the kiosk for a month.
In one incident, a kiosk owner had apparently failed to come to terms with the drug's new illegal status and outside the kiosk, a large neon sign advertised the drug's availability. In this case, the police had no problem in finding evidence.
"People don't understand how dangerous this drug is," city police commander Oren Sabag said, adding that "Even hard time drug addicts we speak with tell us they don't mess with it. It disrupts all of your systems."
The police have recently begun enforcing the drug's new illegal status, but this specific operation had youths and public safety in mind, and was intended to clean the city in anticipation of the summer break when alcohol usage among youths become more prevalent.
A large supermarket chain was also hit, after a police officer masquerading as a minor successfully managed to buy alcohol, prompting the police to shut down the supermarket's liquor department indefinitely.
Police also raided apartments suspected of serving as gambling dens, with connections to local underworld.
According to police, these apartments derogated the quality of life for their neighbors, both in terms of noise and lack of parking; not to mention the shady figures involved.
An additional apartment, housing a brothel, was also shut down.
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