Undercover police sting leads to arrest of 42 weapons dealers

Police seized weapons, drugs and money in several towns on Monday.

By Aryeh Savir, TPS

A police officer working undercover in recent months has exposed and led to the arrest of 42 individuals, including suspects from the Arab sector, who are suspected of trafficking weapons and drugs, and to the seizure of weapons, the police announced Monday.

For the past eight months, the police have been operating an undercover agent who was initially engaged in criminal activity, but was persuaded by the police to cross the lines and act against a number of middle-tier criminals implicated in violence, gang conflicts, drugs, and illegal weapons deals.

The agent penetrated the criminal world in various localities in the coastal, northern, and central districts and gained the trust of illegal drug and arms dealers in several locations, including in Arab towns and cities.

The agent carried out 32 controlled and supervised transactions and purchased three guns, 9 kg of marijuana, and hundreds of grams of cocaine, at the cost of hundreds of thousands of shekels.

On Monday morning, with the decision to move on to the open phase of the investigation, more than 300 police officers raided the homes of dozens of suspects in Haifa, the Krayot area, Hadera, Tirat Carmel, Or Akiva, Taibeh, and Umm Al-Fahm, arresting of 42 suspects. Further arrests are expected.

Read  Israeli special forces, police rescue Palestinian kidnapped for ransom

The forces exposed and seized NIS 150,000 and additional foreign currency, 22 vehicles worth hundreds of thousands of shekels, and ab1out 5 kg of a substance suspected as marijuana.

In addition, the police uncovered a laboratory for growing drugs in Kfar Vradim with dozens of seedlings and equipment used to grow drugs.

The suspects were taken for questioning on suspicion of weapons trafficking, drug trafficking, illegal possession and carrying of weapons, possession of drugs, conspiracy to commit a crime, and more.

This wave of arrests was part of Operation Safe Track, the police’s national enforcement operation against the main perpetrators of crime in the country, primarily in the Arab society.

In the past four months, the police have seized hundreds of weapons, and indictments have been filed against more than180 suspects for various offenses.

Arab-Israeli society is plagued with daily incidents of violence. Over 110 Arabs were killed in criminal violence in 2020 and 126 in 2021.

The vast majority of police activity is carried out in the Arab sector, and about 90 percent of the suspects arrested for shooting and weapons offenses were Arab Israelis.

Approximately 85% of the indictments filed in Israel in 2020 for shooting, illegal possession of weapons, trafficking, and illegal use of weapons have been filed against suspects from the Arab society.

Read  Israeli forces thwart smuggling of 32 handguns near Jordanian border

Speaking at the Knesset’s Public Security Committee in September, Barlev described the lawlessness in the Arab sector as “a genuine threat to the internal security of the State of Israel.”