A convicted murderer smuggled deadly cyanide poison into the prison where he is serving a life sentence, and then revealed its location to guards who told him they would cut him a deal to shorten his sentence, according to a Hebrew-language media report Monday.
The prisoner, who was not named in the report by Channel 12 news, is suspected of having been aided by a prison guard.
A source familiar with the incident, which occurred several weeks ago, told the station that there was enough cyanide smuggled in to kill dozens of people.
The prisoner, who is serving 26 years for murder and attempted murder in Hasharon prison according to the report, informed prison authorities once the poison was already inside and said he would tell them where it is hidden if he is either made a state witness or his sentence is shortened.
Officials told him they agreed to the bargain — even though they had no authority to do so — and recovered the cyanide but then told the prisoner that since the State Prosecution was not involved in the process they can’t keep their side of the deal.
An Israel Prison Service spokesperson told the Times of Israel the matter was handed over to police and said he could not provide any further details including whether a prison guard was involved or the circumstances of the prisoner’s incarceration.
The police’s Lahav 433 national crime unit opened an investigation and the State Prosecution also opened a probe into the affair, Channel 12 reported. Police declined to comment on the case.
It was not immediately clear what disciplinary actions had been taken against the guard accused of helping the prisoner smuggle in the cyanide, which is highly lethal. An Israel Prisons Service spokesman did not immediately reply to a Times of Israel request for comment.
Israel Prisons Service chief Asher Vaknin told Channel 12 the incident came as part of the IPS intelligence unit’s efforts to “eradicate crime from within and within prisons in order to protect human life and public welfare.”
“As is the nature of things, we can’t give details beyond that at this stage,” Vaknin said. “The IPS will continue to operate resolutely within prisons wherever necessary.”
The IPS faces a constant challenge to prevent contraband items entering prisons, with a reoccurring problem of unauthorized cellphones being smuggled to security prisoners.
Hasharon prison, in central Israel, houses both Israeli and Palestinian inmates, including those, such as state’s witnesses, who require extra protection from the general prison population.