Drug Bust 311.
(photo credit: Courtesy Central Unit Tel Aviv District Police)
An IDF major is suspected of exploiting his position to run a drug trafficking ring that distributed heroin, hashish and ecstasy across the country, police announced on Sunday.
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Following the partial lifting of a media ban on the case, police said Sunday that the officer was in charge of anti-smuggling efforts by the IDF in the south, and is believed to have stolen and sold drugs seized in IDF operations from an evidence storage facility. Police believe that over the past six months he moved more than 25 kg. of heroin and 150 kg. of hashish, a take worth millions of shekels.
Altogether, police have arrested 10 suspects in the case, following investigation by the Tel Aviv branch of the special YAMAR central investigative unit along with the IDF special investigations unit. According to police, the investigation was launched in August after police found 17 kg. of hashish and thousands of pills of ecstasy during a vehicle search. The car, which reportedly belonged to a resident of Tel Aviv, eventually led back to the officer and the remainder of the subjects in the case.
Israel Police Spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said Sunday that the officer stole the drugs from a storage facility he was in charge of supervising that contained contraband from IDF seizures in the south. Rosenfeld said the man and his brother began pilfering drugs from the storehouse and selling them around six months ago, and that the drugs were distributed across the country.
He added that police view the incident with great severity, but don’t believe it is part of a wider phenomenon, unlike the theft by IDF personnel of firearms and ammunition from IDF facilities, which has become more common in recent years.
IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz received updates on the investigation, and said Sunday it constituted a very serious incident which “was exposed thanks to the awareness of the Military Police, who have been following this for some time.”
He added, “Should it become clear that the officer was involved, this would be a serious failure of values,” Gantz added.
The IDF Spokesman’s Office said the Military Police played a part in the investigation, adding that two additional soldiers were arrested for indirect involvement in the affair.
“The officer has been replaced,” the military said. “Military law enforcement will continue to act with all tools available to them to ensure that laws are not broken within the ranks in the military,” it said.