Police arrest 5 in prison phone smuggling ring

Prison canteen employees charged with distributing phones to Arab inmates.

October 2, 2017 11:12
Police arrest 5 in prison phone smuggling ring

A still image from video released by police of a prison phone smuggling ring.. (photo credit: POLICE SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)

Five Israeli and Palestinian employees of a prison supplies company accused of smuggling cellphones and SIM cards to Arab inmates at prisons throughout the country were arrested Sunday.

An investigation into the smuggling was launched by police in coordination with Prison Services in August, after prison officials found smartphones hidden in food supplies at Ofer Prison.

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“During the course of the investigation, Israel Police investigators uncovered a systematic scheme in which the company’s employees smuggled cellphones inside the canteen’s goods, which were transferred from the company’s warehouses in the Shfela region to prisons across the country,” police said in a Sunday statement.

According to police, the canteen company employees received NIS 8,000 to smuggle a regular cellphone and up to NIS 15,000 to smuggle a smartphone.

“The exposure of the network is another move by the Israel Police to thwart the smuggling of communications devices to terrorists imprisoned in Israel, and to make it difficult to attempt to direct terror attacks from within the prisons,” police said in a statement.

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