Two police officers were arrested on Thursday on suspicion of planting a large amount of heroin in a man’s car and then arresting him. The man spent three months in jail until doubts surfaced about the case, and he was released in March.
The two officers are from the intelligence branch of the police’s Southern District and were arrested by the Justice Ministry’s internal affairs unit.
Two other men suspected of involvement in the planting of the drugs were also arrested. Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court remanded all four for 24 hours as the investigation continues.
The story began last December when the two police officers stopped a man, who lives in the south, while he was driving along a main street in Be’er Sheva.
The officers searched his car and initially found 4.2 grams of hashish, an amount that is enough only for the minor crime of possession of drugs for personal use. After that, though, they found 50 grams of heroin in the car – a large quantity of a dangerous drug, which is a much more serious offense as it suggested drug dealing.
The suspect was surprised to hear there was heroin in his car and claimed the police had planted it there. He was arrested and remanded until the end of legal proceedings against him.
The indictment included two clauses: One for possession of heroin, and the second for the lesser charge of possession of hashish. After the man spent three months in jail, Justice Ministry investigators received information supporting his claims. This raised suspicions that the arresting officers, along with others, were responsible for placing the heroin in the car.
It is still not clear whether, if they did plant the heroin, the police placed it there during the search or whether it was placed in the car before they stopped the suspect – knowing in advance what they would find during the search.
The man reached a plea-bargain agreement with the prosecution after the indictment was corrected, pleading guilty to the lesser offense of possession of the hashish for personal use.