Commander Tomer Basah
Photo: Ilana Curiel
Photo: Roee Idan
No more Mr Niceguy
Photo: Roee Idan

Beersheba police raid crime centers in bid to clean city

In anticipation of summer, 400 officers from Southern District Police conduct major operation targeting drug dealers, illegal gambling, semilegal 'kiosk drugs' sold to youths; result in 41 arrests

Some 400 Beersheba police officers took part in a special op over the weekend, making more than 40 arrests of those suspected of a wide array of offenses, ranging from drugs to gambling.


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.


Also, suspected drug dealers were arrested after undercover police officers managed to buy heroin and crystal meth from them.


Video: Southern District Police    (צילום: דוברות מחוז דרום )

Video: Southern District Police


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In one of the police videos documenting the operation, a police officer can be seen buying drugs from one of the suspects, who is in his car. In the later part of the video his arrest can be seen, as police arrive and remove him from the vehicle.


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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פרסום ראשון: 06.23.13, 20:22
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