Arms Dealing Found - in GALILEE!Arms Dealing Found - in GALILEE!
34 arms dealers arrested in Galilee
April 22, 2010
Hundreds of detectives, policemen and Border Guard officers take part in wide-scale police operation. Some of weapons 'imported' from Jordan, Egypt and Palestinian Authority
The police on Wednesday night arrested 34 arm dealers in a wide-scale operation involving hundreds of detectives, policemen and Border Guard officers. The arrests followed 39 arms purchase deals conducted by an undercover police agent, who paid tens of thousands of shekels for each deal, in Arab communities in the Galilee.
The operation began about half a year ago, when the Galilee District Police recruited a resident of one of the Galilee villages as an undercover agent.
"The man got into trouble with the police and decided to accept an offer to become an agent," explained Deputy Commander Avi Maor.
"The agent gained the suspects' trust and began purchasing the weapons and explosives. He bought 24 guns, Carl Gustav and Sten submachine guns and improvised submachine guns of high quality, two grenades and explosive devices," said Maor.
"Each of the weapons was sold for NIS 12,000 to NIS 17,000 ($3,200-4,500). The deals were often conducted in front of other people and in crowded places. More than once, the purchase followed an examination of the weapon, which included firing in constructed areas out of houses and on balconies," he added.
According to Maor, "This is the first time such an operation is conducted in Israel, both in terms of the operation of an agent and in terms of its volume. Until now, agents were operated almost only in the field of drugs."
The weapons and explosives purchased by the agent were examined by the national police headquarters' laboratories, which ruled that some of them were "imported" from Jordan, Egypt and the Palestinian Authority, and some were used in criminal incidents, including attempted murders.
11 members of one family arrested
Wednesday night's arrests were conducted in 40 compounds in the towns of Shfaram, Tamra, Majd al-Krum, Sha'ab, Kabul, Makr and Arraba. Eleven members of one family were arrested in Kabul. An 18-year-old youth was arrested on suspicion of selling the weapons on behalf of a prisoner sitting in jail.
The agent incriminated 37 suspects, 34 of whom were arrested Wednesday night. Two others are prisoners and the police are looking for one more suspect. Fourteen vehicles were confiscated and additional weapons were seized during the arrests.
The police were expected to ask the Akko Magistrate's Court to extend the suspects' remand.
Deputy Inspector General Menachem Hever said many efforts were being made to fight the "unbearable lightness of the potential use of weapons by criminals for criminal purposes."
Galilee District Commander Shimon Koren added that hundreds of policemen were dealing with the phenomenon of illegal weapons on a daily basis. "Anyone caught with any type of weapon, even just a bullet, will be judged severely," he said.