40 arrested in two drug busts after months-long covert operations

Some 40 drug dealers were arrested in two drug busts on Sunday and Monday that were based on months-long covert operations, as police continue their crackdown on organized crime.

Lachish district detectives raid a hydro-lab in an 800 sq.m. basement of a building in Ashdod on January 9, 2022.

Some 33 suspected drug dealers were arrested on Monday morning after a former criminal provided evidence against them over the last eight months, the Israel Police announced. Seven others were arrested on Sunday for operating a hydro plant-based drug laboratory in Ashdod after a five-month-long surveillance operation, as police continue to ramp up their operations against organized crime. 

The former criminal was handled by the police's Jerusalem district. The operation was focused on incriminating leading and dangerous drug dealers. He was able to buy dangerous drugs directly from the dealers in dozens of purchases, including large quantities of cocaine, MDMA, hallucinogenic mushrooms, LSD and more. 

The suspects are all between the ages of 20 and 40 and are residents of Jerusalem, Lod, Beit Shemesh, scattered Bedouin villages and other towns. During the arrests, the police seized additional drugs, large sums of cash, and 14 vehicles that belonged to dealers suspected of other economic infractions.

"In the past year we have been putting a heavy emphasis on operations in the heart of crime syndicates and we will continue doing so without respite for the wellbeing and safety of the people of Israel," said police Insp.-Gen. Kobi Shabtai.

The police's Jerusalem District head Asst.-Ch. Doron Turjeman expressed his appreciation to the mole and his handlers for the "sophistication and creativity" they exhibited throughout the operation.

Israel Police detectives arrest 33 drug dealers after an eight-month covert operation during which a mole provided insider information on major dealers. January 10, 2022.

The mole's details were placed under a gag order. 

In another unrelated operation, Lachish district detectives raided on Sunday a large hydro-lab in a basement of a building in an industrial area in the north of Ashdod. The lab sprawled over 800 sqm and was divided into rooms based on the stages of the plants' growth, including a room dedicated to harvesting the plants and producing the drug. The detectives seized over 3100 plants nearly ready for distribution and weighing approximately a half-ton with a net worth of tens of millions of shekels.

Seven people aged 18-50 were arrested during the raid, five of whom were present at the lab and two others who were involved in its operation. The detectives also seized three cars and a truck.

The lab was under surveillance from day one, the Lachish Police said. The operation lasted five months, during which police collected evidence on the growers. 

"The Israel Police will continue to combat the scourge of dangerous drugs through criminal and economic enforcement, activating agents and a variety of overt and covert investigative actions in order to locate, arrest and prosecute the perpetrators of crime, with an emphasis on drug distributors and traffickers," the Police Spokesperson's Unit said.