Israel dagga smokers choked by new border fence

2014-01-30 14:52
(File, AFP)

(File, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Israel-Egypt border - Israel's newly fortified Egyptian border has delivered a severe blow to drug smugglers, forcing its hashish and marijuana smokers to deal with a new kind of high - soaring prices.

The ravines that snake past rocky red mountains once provided a popular, low-risk route for traffickers to run drugs, women and African migrants into Israel over the southern frontier along Egypt's Sinai desert.

But with a rise in Islamist militant violence in Sinai, Israel in 2011 accelerated the fortification of the border with a 5m-high fence, state-of-the art surveillance and special military forces - with a crippling side effect for smugglers.

And as workers weld the few remaining patches of the metal barrier, drug supply in Israel is down and prices are up.

"We've hit smuggling hard. Just last week we caught almost 100 kilos of hashish. That's millions of shekels," said a senior Israeli military officer in the area.

As far as the army is concerned, any breach of the border could be a potential militant attack by one of the jihadi groups that inhabit the Sinai. That is why soldiers can find themselves dealing with criminal activity together with police.

The Bedouin traffickers have deep knowledge of the millennia-old trade route, the officer said.

"They [the smugglers] know the terrain as well as we do. They collect intelligence on us and observe our movements. They do all that well, but we wait for them at the right spots and we catch them."

'Like cocaine'

Middle East turmoil has affected the northern drug route into Israel too. Neighbouring Lebanon has become increasingly embroiled in the Syrian civil war and violence in the area has complicated cross-border narcotics trafficking.

Though a criminal offence, marijuana and hashish consumption is fairly common in mainstream Israel. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, almost 9% of Israelis use cannabis.

These drug consumers today spend between double to triple what they would have before 2011, when neighbouring Arab states descended into political turbulence and bloodshed.

"I just paid $1 492 for a plate (100g of hash. Two or three years ago it would have cost $570s," complained one Israeli who said he smokes the drug daily. Palestinian hashish consumers in the West Bank have cited the same price jump.

Briefing an Israeli parliamentary committee last week, police said the drug "dry-spell" caused by the fence on the Egyptian border might not last, with the eastern Jordanian frontier possibly turning into an alternative drug route.

In the meantime, to meet market demands, suppliers have been increasingly dealing home-grown "Hydro", which is marijuana grown on water.

"We see more and more labs operated inside flats, basements, and private homes equipped with automatic ventilation, watering and even fertilisation," police said. "This cannabis yields high-quality drugs in relation to that smuggled over the borders."

Smokers, it appears, agree.

"All I need is one slim joint of Hydro in the evening and that's cool, I'm flying," said a second smoker.

Medicinal marijuana, which is allowed in Israel under certain Health Ministry regulations, has also been seeping into the illegal drug market, according to users and police.

Hydro-marijuana and medicinal marijuana both sell for the same street rate - about $285 for 10g. The same amount smuggled in from Sinai before the border was fortified would have gone for about a third of the price.

"The high with these drugs is much better than the regular weed that came in from Sinai," said a third smoker. But scarcity and costliness have dampened the fun.

"It's become like cocaine. You think about each and every gram."

Read more on:    egypt  |  israel  |  narcotics
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
3 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Joburg hot spots for cocktails, craft beer, tapas and wine!

It’s the season to be jolly – so we’ve rounded up some new Joburg hot spots!

 
 

I love summer.24

The craziest deaths of 2014
How to make this a sensual, sexy summer!
This is what South Africans Googled in 2014!
This hilarious song is your new holiday anthem

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

HOUSES FOR SALE IN Hermanus

Houses R 2 680 000

HOUSES FOR SALE IN Paarl

Houses R 2 690 000

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is so much going on around you and inside your head. You may want to take your ideas to the next level. Romance may be...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.