Three United Nations employees have been arrested on suspicion of trying to smuggle cocaine across the Jordanian border into Israel by liquefying the drug and disguising it as a perfume-making component.
The suspects, who work for the UN in Syria, were apprehended on Sunday near Beit She’an as they tried to enter Israel at the Jordan River Border Crossing, according to a joint statement by police and the Israel Tax Authority. Inspectors detected what they believed to be liquid cocaine in perfume-making kits that the UN workers were allegedly trying to bring into the country.
Read more: Israel to sell tanks to ‘European country’
Smugglers often dissolve cocaine into a liquid form to disguise the drug, putting it in containers for such products as liquor or perfume, then convert it back to powder at their destination. A drug-sniffing dog helped identify the alleged cocaine in Sunday’s case. The Israel Defense Forces have thwarted 30 drug-smuggling attempts so far this year amid rising cocaine use in the country.
The three UN employees weren’t identified. They work on the Syrian border with Israel, according to Israeli authorities.
UN staffers around the world have been involved in crimes ranging from rape to drug trafficking. A former UN employee was sentenced last year to 15 years in prison for drugging and sexually assaulting at least 13 women in the US and Iraq.