23 major drug dealers caught in sting

In a massive operation involving 350 law enforcement officers and relying on evidence gathered by a 21-year-old former drug-addict-turned-informant, police arrested 23 suspected major drug dealers on Tuesday morning. The blond-highlighted informant "Liron" said that she had been a heavy drug user for seven years, and that she had met the raid's targets before undergoing rehabilitation for her addiction. Liron said that she had not touched narcotics since completing rehabilitation a year-and-a-half ago. Recently, throughout months of undercover work, she posed as a distributor in order to gather evidence against the suspects, making key drug transactions and working under the auspices of detectives from the Amakim Subdistrict's elite Central Investigations Unit. In the early hours of Tuesday, officers from the Central Investigations Units of both the Amakim Subdistrict and the Northern District worked in conjunction with Border Police and the elite specialized team of the Prisons Authority's "Metzada" Unit under command of Amakim Subdistrict Police Chief Asst.-Cmdr. Ya'akov Zigdon and Northern District Chief Cmdr. Dan Ronen. In the course of the operation, 23 senior drug dealers were arrested throughout the Northern District, and law enforcement officers recovered large quantities of drugs such as ecstacy and heroin and including narcotics smuggled into the country across the Lebanese and Jordanian borders. In addition to the drugs, police confiscated 11 vehicles, $16,000 in cash, NIS 35,000, also in cash, four handguns including a Baretta with a silencer and three grenades. All 23 suspects were brought later in the day for remand extensions at the Nazareth Magistrate's Court. Of the suspects, 17 had their remand extended by eight days, one for six days and one was released to full house arrest for five days. Of the remainder, three had their hearings delayed for Wednesday in order to allow ample time to appoint attorneys, and one suspect was released. In a separate raid on Monday, Prisons Service wardens acting on intelligence information conducted a surprise raid on a prison cell and discovered an estimated NIS 10,500 of narcotics. Using information gathered from jailers at Ramleh's Ayalon Prison, wardens searched a cell in the wing of the jail reserved for Palestinians arrested after working illegally in Israel. The Prisons Service said that while examining prisoners' possessions, officers discovered 210 doses of a narcotic substance concealed in the lids of four cola bottles. The drugs were confiscated and the prisoners in the cell were punished. Police teams were called in to investigate how the drugs were smuggled in to the jail.