IDF major gets 13-year sentence for selling drugs

Former head of operations for the Gaza Division’s Southern Brigade gets 13-year sentence for sales of heroin, hashish seized from Sinai border.

Arrest [illustrative] 370 (photo credit: Nir Elias/Reuters)
Arrest [illustrative] 370
(photo credit: Nir Elias/Reuters)
A former IDF major was sentenced on Wednesday to 13 years in prison, for selling hundreds of kilos of heroin and hashish that his unit seized from smugglers on the Sinai border.
Eran Kabalo, a 33-year-old father of two, was convicted by the Southern District Military Court of conspiracy to commit a crime, dealing dangerous controlled substances, fraud and breach of trust.
He also received three years probation and a dishonorable discharge, and was stripped of his rank. He will have to return the NIS 1.24 million he is believed to have made from the drug trade.
The former head of operations for the Gaza Division’s Southern Brigade was arrested in 2011 after he was caught selling dozens of kilos of hashish to Avi Shalom, a civilian who had served under him in the army years earlier.
Kabalo was a major in a unit that among other missions was responsible for stopping drug smugglers coming across the Egyptian border. The drugs seized by Kabalo and his troops made their way to army storehouses, where they would later be picked up by police to be documented and destroyed.
According to prosecutors, Kabalo skimmed kilos of hashish and heroin from the seizures and falsified the reports later given to police.
The drugs were then given or sold to Shalom, who offloaded the contraband and shared the proceeds with Kabalo, according to the court.
In at least one case, Kabalo gave Shalom an IDF uniform so he could enter the base as a soldier and meet Kabalo at a storehouse where the drugs were kept.
Shalom was convicted by the Tel Aviv District Court and sentenced earlier this year to 11 years in prison.
Kabalo’s attorney, Avi Amiram, said his client wasn’t the brains behind the operation, and that the business started after he innocently mentioned to Shalom that there were dozens of kilos of drugs at his base collecting dust while police dragged their feet confiscating them.
“He told Shalom this and the light bulb clicked on for Shalom, and Kabalo found himself mixed up in this,” the lawyer said.
Amiram said he plans to appeal the sentence, and that he assumes that his client will be released at his first parole board hearing, which should be in a little over four years from now.
Amiram described his client as a storied officer who “prevented mega-terror attacks by killing terrorists with his own hands,” adding that “history will judge him favorably.”