A year ago she was a hairstylist working out of a salon in the Petah Tikva area. The 26-year-old single mother of a two-year-old girl was busy juggling work and parenting when she was recruited by detectives from the Central District.
Her handlers decided to nickname her “Nikita,” after the female assassin from the French thriller, though her methods were never lethal and she was never armed.
On Monday morning before sunrise, 11 months after she was recruited, some 300 policemen raided buildings in Petah Tikva, Netanya and the Triangle area, arresting 29 suspects allegedly involved in the drug trade.
“Nikita” said she built the case mainly through her work as a stylist, saying she would make house calls to cut the hair of drug dealers in the Petah Tikva area and make a record of the people coming and going, the drugs they bought and the money exchanged. She herself would also go out after working hours and make undercover drug buys, which she recorded, all the while leaving her daughter with her parents.
Most of the targets knew “Nikita” from the hair salon, where she earned their trust, she told The Jerusalem Post on Monday.
“I was always myself with them – I never had to adopt a different identity. They knew me and most of them trusted me, even though some kept things more hidden from me than others,” she said after being presented with a plaque and a pistol by Central District officers, at a ceremony held just before the arrests were carried out, to welcome her officially into the Israel Police.
When asked what it was like to go from being a hard-working, single mother to a police agent, she said the transition was easy and a privilege.
“This was a crazy experience that I feel very privileged to take part in,” she said, adding that she doesn’t fear for the well-being of herself or her daughter now that dozens of men facing drug charges know that she was working with the police.
That said, she added that during her work she constantly had to adapt her behavior to different situations, knowing that with certain drug dealers she had to be more guarded, more careful than with others.
She said that she hopes to remain on the action side of police work. As of Monday morning, she is a member of the Central District’s investigations branch.
The raid on Monday came one day after Tel Aviv police arrested some 50 African migrants on drug and property charges, some 14 months after an undercover investigation begun by a Beduin policeman in southern Tel Aviv. The officer operated a bar frequented by African migrants, which he used as a base to record their drug transactions.