3 smugglers, 26kg of heroin nabbed in drug bust

Police spent Monday morning in hot pursuit of three alleged smugglers, who attempted to flee by forcing authorities into a head-on collision.

heroin 88 (photo credit: )
heroin 88
(photo credit: )
Following a crash that almost cost the lives of four Negev Subdistrict detectives, police chalked up a victory against drug smugglers Monday when they nabbed $7 million worth of heroin that had been smuggled into the country earlier that day. Police from the Negev Subdistrict's Central Investigative Unit and from the newly-established Magen Unit, which was formed to combat smuggling through the porous southern desert borders, spent Monday morning in hot pursuit of three alleged smugglers whom police believed infiltrated across the Jordanian border. When officers closed in on their vehicle and attempted to stop it and arrest the suspects, the vehicle made a quick U-turn and slammed into the police car near the Ein Yahav Bridge on Route 90. Four CIU detectives, including CIU commander Dep.-Cmdr. Yossi Cohen, were all injured in the crash. Initially, Magen David Adom teams reported that Cohen and a second detective were both seriously injured, one detective was in moderate condition and the fourth detective was in fair condition. Two helicopters were sent to airlift the injured detectives from the remote Arava location to Beersheba's Soroka Medical Center. As of Monday evening, Cohen's condition and that of one other officer was upgraded to moderate, while the other two CIU members' conditions were listed as fair. Cohen suffered injuries to his lower body, and doctors are awaiting the results of further operations before giving a prognosis. One of the detectives who was involved in the crash extracted himself from the vehicle and ran after the suspects, who attempted to flee on foot. With one hand completely crushed, the detective managed to catch one of the suspects with his good hand and kept him pinned down until reinforcements arrived. The detectives' comrades continued, undaunted, to arrest the two other suspected drug traffickers. All three are Negev residents with known criminal pasts. Upon searching their vehicle, police discovered 26 kilograms of heroin - a relatively large quantity of the expensive drug. One kilogram of quality pure heroin, one police officer said, currently has a street value of NIS 1 million. "The police officers behaved exactly as they should have. We expect that in a situation such as this one, they continue in pursuit and catch the criminals, and that is exactly what they did," said Southern District Police Chief Cmdr. Uri Bar-Lev. The suspects spent the rest of the day on Monday under interrogation by police, who said that all three are likely to be brought Tuesday before a judge for an extension of their remand.