Narcotics Dealers to West Bank Settlers Held for Trafficking

Police launched investigation after Neveh Daniel youth caught in possession of marijuana named settler as his supplier.

Two brothers were arrested and charged with running a drug dealing business in a West Bank settlement near Jerusalem about two weeks ago.

Police launched a covert investigation against Yair Kaufman of the Etzion bloc settlement Neveh Daniel three months ago, after a youth from a West Bank settlement caught in possession of marijuana named Kaufman as his supplier.

Yair Kaufman - Lior Mizrachi - Spet. 30, 2010
Lior Mizrachi

Kaufman, who was convicted of drug dealing a few years ago, recently completed a three-and-a-half-year prison sentence.

Kaufman, 24, who worked in a grocery store in nearby Efrat, allegedly operated a large drug dealing business with his brother, Haim, a soldier in the Golani brigade. The brothers sold drugs to area residents, mainly from Efrat and Neveh Daniel, police sources said.

Police questioned 45 people in the course of the inquiry, 16 of whom admitted that Kaufman was their drug dealer.

One of them said he had asked for an especially large amount of drugs as he was about to be married and wanted to treat the wedding guests.

At the beginning of September the detectives found that Kaufman and his brother allegedly intended to join a drug dealer in the south and buy 33 kilograms of hashish from him. They followed the brothers to the site where the deal was supposed to be carried out - though the brothers were swindled of their money without receiving any drugs.

The brothers were later arrested. Yair was charged with 22 counts of drug dealing and selling drugs to minors.

His remand was extended to the end of the procedures against him. Central Unit commander Eli Asyad told Haaretz "the arrests have had a substantial impact on the drug trafficking in the Judea area."

Kaufman is known as a drug provider to settlers throughout the West Bank. In 2004, at the age of 18, he was charged with carrying out 120 drug deals - involving dozens of kilograms - in various settlements.

He was sentenced to a four-year prison term that was later commuted by Supreme Court judges Aharon Barak, Elyakim Rubinstein and David Cheshin to three and a half years.