A prison guard has been arrested for allegedly smuggling hashish and marijuana into a prison in the South, in exchange for cash payments from two inmates.
The guard is a 26-year-old resident of the North whose family includes a number of people who serve in the Prisons Service. According to police, beginning in mid- 2014, he started smuggling cigarette packs full of hashish and marijuana to the prisoners, in exchange for as much as $1,000 per drop.
The guard’s attorney told a judge at the Rishon Lezion Magistrate’s Court on Monday that his client only smuggled the drugs because he was threatened by one of the inmates, who he claimed is connected to the Russian mafia. The police officer testifying at the remand hearing Monday said he does not know of any such connection, and that the two inmates are serving relatively short sentences, one pending trial and the other set for release in 2016.
The case broke a few months ago after police said they received a tip from an inmate at the facility.
On Monday, the judge approved a request to ban the guard’s name from publication, saying it could adversely affect relatives who serve in the prison system, as well as due to the fact that a prison social worker said he has been suffering from emotional distress.
As it stands, he could potentially face charges of drug possession, bribery and conspiracy, among others.
Smuggling carried out by prison guards is a widespread phenomenon in the country.
Over the past couple of years, the Prisons Service and police have carried out a series of arrests of guards caught smuggling cell phones to Palestinian security prisoners, who pay large sums for the phones, which help them get around the surveillance of their approved phone calls and family visits, and allow them to contact associates in the West Bank and Gaza.
In one case from last year, a 20-year-old guard performing his national service at an Ashkelon prison was arrested after a Fatah security prisoner gave him cash to smuggle in phones. Police said the guard was promised NIS 25,000 per phone.