Israel-Egypt border - DO NOT USE
The Israel-Egyptian border, February 2011. Photo by Uriel Sinai
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A 31-year-old Israel Defense Forces major was arrested on suspicion of drug trafficking, it emerged on Sunday after a gag order on the affair was lifted. The major was arrested along with nine others involved in a drug trafficking ring, including two military police officers under the major’s command.

The drug ring was uncovered in late August after police stopped a car for a routine traffic check and found the driver driving without a driver’s license, ultimately leading to the car being towed. The tow-truck driver soon realized he was being followed by a suspicious vehicle, and decided to call the police. The police stopped the suspicious vehicle, and found 15 kilograms of hash in the towed car.

The towed car, along with the drugs were traced back to a man who was allegedly part of a drug trafficking ring, which had been smuggling drugs from the Egyptian border, and was likely linked to a high-ranking IDF officer.

The complex undercover case made its way to the Tel Aviv central police unit, which was able to tie the drug ring to an IDF major in the Southern Command, ultimately leading to his arrest, along with that of eight others. According to police sources, the ring was able to traffic 200 kilograms of hash, 25 kilograms of heroin, worth a total of NIS 2.5 million.

Top brass IDF officials were stunned to find out that the officer was involved in the drug ring, and are currently looking into reformulating the military’s policies against smuggling. Israel police were surprised to find out the ease with which one can move contraband across the border.

The case is being treated with utmost severity, as it is the first time that a high-ranking officer has been arrested for such a crime.

Soldiers in the Gaza Division, where the suspect served, were dumbfounded to find out that a person in such a high position could be guilty of drug trafficking. “He was an outstanding officer with a lot of responsibility”, said one of the division officers. “It is hard for all of us to believe the news."