(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
An eight month undercover investigation led by a single officer into major crimes in east Jerusalem culminated in the arrest of 30 suspects Wednesday, on charges ranging from black market weapons sales, drug trafficking, home break-ins and possession of stolen goods.
According to police, an Arab-Israeli agent posing as a taxi driver infiltrated the crime ring, eventually buying automatic weapons, cocaine, marijuana, and stolen goods until enough evidence was accumulated to issue warrants to make the arrests.
During the early hours of Wednesday morning, Jerusalem Police, Border Police and Undercover Units raided a number of the suspects’ homes, seizing automatic weapons, including uzi submachine guns, 9mm pistols, ammunition, and a large cache of drugs and stolen property.
“These were major crime figures in east Jerusalem involved in a wide array of crimes afflicting the city,” said Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld Wednesday.
Rosenfeld added that the 23-year-old Muslim undercover agent was so committed to the case that he even gained 30 kilos for the investigation to appear like an authentic taxi driver.
“He changed his appearance by gaining a lot of weight to fit the profile of someone who sits in a car all day eating,” he said. “It was important that he looked the part, which helped him gain their trust and make important contacts.”
Rosenfeld said the suspects participated in the most serious crimes in the Arab sector’s black market, adding that following the arrests the investigation was completed.
All 30 suspects are scheduled to appear before the Jerusalem Magistrate Court within the next 24-hours, he said.