Archive for Monday, April 13, 2009

On frontier, drug officers wage quiet war

April 13, 2009


— Filmed with a night-vision camera just before Israeli narcotics officers pounced from nearby bushes, the video shows a Lebanese courier lobbing half-kilo packages of heroin over the border fence into Israel and an Israeli courier throwing back packages of $100 bills.

Israeli soldiers and Hezbollah guerrillas have been battling for years along the Israel-Lebanon frontier. But a quieter war goes on here every night, one between narcotics teams and the smugglers who have turned this jumpy border into the main conduit for heroin bound for Israeli drug markets.

Police here believe the trade, worth hundreds of millions of dollars a year, is controlled in large part by Hezbollah, and call it “narco-terrorism.”

Israeli police say Hezbollah, the dominant power in the towns and villages of south Lebanon, takes a cut of the trade and uses the money to fund operations and recruit agents inside Israel, one of them an Israeli army colonel now in jail for trading secrets for drugs and cash.


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