(photo credit: JPOST STAFF)
Police arrested 21 people in the southern cities of Sderot and Kiryat Gat on Monday after an extensive undercover operation produced suspicions of weapons trafficking, drug trafficking, and violent offenses.
The arrests came after an undercover agent code-named “The Jewel” operated in the southern cities for the past few months.
“After establishing his position and gaining the trust of the suspects, the agent purchased various weapons, dangerous drugs such as cocaine, hashish and heroin, and collected evidence against the suspects in a number of cases of severe violence, including stabbings, robbing a jewelry store and more,” the Lachish District Police said in a statement on Monday.
The agent, a man in his 20s whose identity was placed under gag order, was also “demanded” to carry out acts of violence, police said. However, he managed to thwart any attacks from taking place.
According to police the operations were conducted in the midst of a series of clashes between criminal organizations in Sderot and Kiryat Gat and the actions were directed against the heads of those criminal organizations.
“This is a tool that breaks the balance against people who want to do harm,” Southern District Commander David Bitan said after the arrests. “It’s our job to eradicate the chametz,” he remarked, making reference to the Jewish tradition of discarding all bread before the holiday of Passover.
Police are still seeking to extend the suspects' remands in court.