Drugs Bust (370).
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Police in the northern district on Tuesday seized a package of raw amphetamines
they said was to be used to make over a million shekels worth of ecstasy and the
kiosk drug hagigat (made from khat, orcatha edulis leaves).
At the center
of the case are two Tiberias brothers, one a 30-year-old cab driver with a
small-time criminal record and the other a 19- year-old IDF soldier. Both are
suspected of receiving two separate packages from India containing a total of 11
kilos of mephadrone,” a key component in the cooking of Hagigat and non-MDMA
(methylendioxymethamphetamine, a synthetic drug with stimulant and
hallucinogenic properties) forms of ecstasy.
Police were tipped-off last
month when a package arrived at customs from Chennai on the eastern coast of
India that aroused their suspicion. The package was wrapped in cloth and tied
with rope, and inside, tucked beneath packages of pasta, dried noodles and stir
fry, was a substance that was sent to a lab by customs officials and tested
positive for mephadrone.
At this point customs officials contacted
investigators from the northern branch of the YAMAR investigative unit, who lay
in wait at the post office for the suspects to arrive.
After the two
suspects arrived at the post office on Tuesday, police followed them to a second
post office, where they reportedly picked up an additional package from the Far
East that police did not know was on its way.
Officers then flipped on
the sirens and brought the two suspects in. The soldier was handed over to
According to Commander Michael Shifshak, head of the
northern branch of YAMAR, mephadrone is shipped to Israel and combined with
other chemicals at Israeli labs to cook up “made in Israel” party drugs.
Shifshak said that neither of the two suspects was known to be involved in drug
trafficking before the arrest was made.
The YAMAR officer said that while
he doesn’t know if the seizure will lead to any sort of shortage in the market
for ecstasy or the cheap party drug hagigat – a powdered speed widely available
in pill form at kiosks in Tel Aviv – the bust still constitutes a major drug
seizure and a blow to the drug market in Israel.
The Safed Magistrate’s
Court has extended the brother’s remand by eight days.