Haredi drug trade network in Mea Shearim and Beit Shemesh uncovered by police

The undercover agent was able to purchase stolen cars, weapons and drugs, including marijuana, hashish, ecstasy and Cocaine in the ultra-Orthodox communities.

Jerusalem Mea Shearim (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Jerusalem Mea Shearim
A major drug trade network centered in Jerusalem’s ultra-Orthodox neighborhood Mea She’arim and in Ramat Beit Shemesh has been revealed and broken by an undercover cop.
News of the drugs ring, run by haredi men, was revealed by the police Tuesday.
The investigation involved many months of undercover work by the Jerusalem Police Force agent involved. Early Tuesday, police, detectives and Border Police forces arrested 45 suspects in Jerusalem, Beit Shemesh, the central region and Judea and Samaria, who bought and sold drugs and weapons to the police agent who worked among them. Two minors between the ages of 15 and 17 were among those arrested.
Following information collected by the Jerusalem police about drug trade activity in Mea She’arim two years ago, it was decided to send an undercover agent to pose as a haredi and to assimilate within society and penetrate the criminal underworld that had been established.
The investigative and intelligence unit of the police then identified an appropriate religious individual to carry out the role, and after several months of training, including guidance in criminal slang, concepts with the criminal world, required behavior, body language and speech, the agent began work in Mea She’arim.
From what he experienced, the agent said he quickly discerned that there was “a Mea She’arim of the day and a Mea She’arim of the night,” and that with nightfall came an active trade in drugs in the many kiosks and narrow alleys of the famously austere and pious haredi neighborhood.
The agent successfully integrated into the haredi society in Mea She’arim, and under police supervision, began to by different types of drugs, including marijuana, hashish, ecstasy and cocaine.
He was also able to buy a stolen vehicle along with various firearms from two Arabs working in the neighborhood from Hebron, who were working in Jerusalem without permits.
After operating in Mea She’arim for several months, the agent switched to work in the haredi population in Ramat Beit Shemesh, a predominantly haredi, and, in parts, radical neighborhood of Beit Shemesh.
According to the agent, there was a particularly vigilant criminal cell in the neighborhood, which was extremely suspicious of police activity, although he eventually managed to penetrate it as well.
Once accepted, he carried out drug acquisitions from drug traders in Ramat Beit Shemesh, buying several dozen kilograms of hashish, ecstasy and cocaine, totaling several hundred thousands of shekels in value.
He was once again also able to purchase a stolen vehicle, two modified Carl Gustav submachine guns and an M-16 assault rifle.
His work in Beit Shemesh incriminated 60 drug dealers, some of whom were major criminal targets for the police’s National Unit for International Crime Investigations.
“This was a very complex operation, among an experienced criminal cell, which was very suspicious of the police,” said Jerusalem police head Asst.-Ch. Moshe Edri.
“The agent’s professional training from experienced detectives, along with his learning abilities, resourcefulness and belief in the justness of this mission led to the incrimination of 60 suspects and their removal from the general public, for the sake of the security of residents of the neighborhoods of Mea She’arim and Ramat Beit Shemesh and the security of all residents of Jerusalem,” added Edri.
The agent himself said he hoped his work would bring security and quiet to the residents of the two communities where he worked, and that innocent people would be prevented from falling into the criminal world.
“As it says in the Book of Deuteronomy, ‘you shall destroy the evil in your midst,’ and I am hopeful that we will learn how to maintain the good and eliminate the bad in order to create a better society,” he said.