Police have arrested one of the biggest smugglers on the Israel-Egypt border it emerged Wednesday, after seven years spent hunting for him.
Odeh Zanon had spent years as the top priority target of police and Border Police officers operating on the tense and often lawless border, before he was nabbed by undercover agents on Saturday night for driving with a suspended license.
Though he was only arrested for a traffic violation, police were still thrilled this week to have finally put handcuffs on a man they say was one of the central players in the smuggling of massive amounts of drugs into Israel, as well of hundreds of women trafficked into the sex trade in Israel.
Zanon was caught when a Border Police unit in the Arava desert saw a man and woman driving a Mazda 6, whom they then asked to pull over. Zanon pulled over and quickly switched places with the female passenger. Border policemen arrested Zanon for driving on a license suspended four years ago, and he is still in police custody. The female passenger was taken in for questioning.
Border Police spokesperson Moshe Pinchi said Wednesday that the operation showed the benefits of deploying border patrolmen, in that they "operate as both police and soldiers, they can affect arrests, and they can fight."
Pinchi told The Jerusalem Post Wednesday that although they found no drugs or other contraband in Zanon's vehicle, the arrest was still very positive.
"Sometimes you have to arrest the big criminals on small crimes," Pinchi said.