Ten soldiers were arrested last year on drug smuggling charges, the Military Police head of intelligence, Lt. Col. Nir Golan, told the parliamentary committee on the war on drugs. Golan said there has been a significant increase in the number of officers and soldiers involved in smuggling drugs in exchange for intelligence information, which reaches Hezbollah, about the IDF deployment along the border.
On the Egyptian front, five tons of drugs were captured in 2001, six tons in 2002 and on the southern border so far, nine tons of marijuana, 52 kilograms of hashish and 57 kilograms of heroin have been seized, said Border Patrol Deputy Commander Ronni Ohana.
A special Border Patrol unit, dubbed Rimon, was established in March and so far has caught 80 foreign workers, 44 Egyptian smugglers, 25 Israeli smugglers, 77 stolen cars, and 11 tons of tobacco on the border. He said the unit works in cooperation with Egyptian police.
Meanwhile, police said six employees at a private facility near Acre which the police contracted to incinerate seized drugs, are suspected of stealing some of the drugs to sell them.
The police yesterday seized 10 kilograms of hashish and 19,000 Ecstasy pills, worth some NIS 1.3 million on the open market, hidden in a cache on the grounds of the incinerator facility. A loaded pistol was also found in the hiding place.
Galilee subdistrict chief of detectives, Effi Leibe said that a search of a car at a nearby intersection late Monday night led to the capture of three kilograms of hashish and the arrest of the driver, a 25-year-old from Acre. His arrest led police to the incinerator on the Acre-Carmiel road.
Leibe said the suspects, aged 22 to 35 are from Acre or neighboring villages. Police said they are cooperating and none have criminal records.