Plot to smuggle cell phones to terrorists uncovered

Employees at canteen company paid thousands of shekels per device to smuggle phones to terrorists in drink containers.

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Arutz Sheva Staff,

How phones were smuggled to terrorists
How phones were smuggled to terrorists
Israel Police spokesperson

An Israeli police unit, together with the Israeli Prison Service (IPS), uncovered a plot to smuggle cell phones to terrorists being held in Israeli prisons.

The detainees, including Israeli citizens and Arab residents of Judea and Samaria, work at a canteen company which supplies refreshments and other goods to prisoners at Israeli prisons.

An undercover investigation was launched at the end of August, after an IPS search of a crate of snacks and other goods for prisoners at the Ofer prison uncovered five cell phones and SIM cards.

The investigation revealed that the phones were intended for security prisoners at the Ofer prison.

Several days later, a minor brought a crate of drinks to the Ramon prison. The crate was also found to contain cell phones meant for security prisoners. The phones were unusually small, about the size of a finger, authorities say.

Over the course of the investigation, authorities uncovered an organized plot to plant workers into the marketing company for the purpose of smuggling the phones to security prisoners through the company's shipments to prisons throughout the country.

The workers knew which prisons the shipments were sent to, and placed the phones in specific boxes of drinks accordingly.

After the plot was uncovered, one of the workers testified that they received thousands of shekels for each cell phone they were to smuggle in, ranging from NIS 8,000 ($2,250) for the tiny phones to NIS 15,000 ($4,250) for standard smart phones.

In September, police detained Ziad Shanti, a 39-year-old resident of Qalqiliya, Eli Turkey, a 22-year-old resident of Rishon Lezion, Yaakov Ibergimov, a 25-year old resident of Bat Yam, 23-year-old Richard Pashnik from Rosh Ha'ayin and another suspect whose name remains under gag order at the request of his lawyer.

The suspects' detention has been extended several times, and tomorrow the Central District Prosecutor's Office will file an indictment against them for smuggling cell phones into Israeli prisons and for violating Israeli anti-terrorism laws.



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