A large-scale detention operation was held this morning in Judea and Samaria ending an undercover investigation against a network to smuggle weapons and various products from Judea and Samaria to pre-'67 Israel.
The investigation began after it was suspected that weapons, tobacco, and goods of various kinds were being smuggled from Judea and Samaria in private and commercial vehicles through routes used to cross between Israel and Judea and Samaria.
At the beginning of the undercover investigation, intelligence and operational activities were carried out led by the Israel Police and in collaboration with the IDF Internal Investigation Unit.
The investigation revealed that during the period in question, large-scale smuggling was carried out by vehicles into Israel proper. As the investigation progressed, another suspicion arose that soldiers serving at Judea and Samaria crossings cooperated with the suspects and allowed smuggling for a fee of thousands of shekels.
In an early morning raid, 22 suspects were arrested - 8 Israeli civilians, 8 Palestinian Authority residents, and 6 soldiers serving at the crossings.
Judea and Samaria Police Crime Unit Commander Deputy Superintendent Eliaz Haliba said, "This is significant activity in which we identified a dangerous triangle in which weapons and goods were smuggled from Judea and Samaria to Israel through passages that should serve as a 'sieve' and a safety net. This activity joins a variety of effective activities in which the Israeli police and security forces invest during the year to reduce combined crime between Judea and Samaria and Israel, which affects the amount and quality of the crime in Israel."
According to him, "During the searches, parts of weapons and cellphones were seized with cash worth tens of thousands of shekels, and documents. All detainees are now being investigated for suspicion of trafficking arms and smuggling goods under aggravated circumstances and others for suspicion of taking bribes and abusing authority comprising a state security risk. Subsequently, the suspects will be brought to the Jerusalem Magistrates' Courts and the Jaffa Military Court for hearings on their case."