Posted Friday, October 11, 2002

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New York, Wednesday, October 9, 2002

Three Israelis accused in New York of Ecstasy smuggle

NEW YORK, Oct 9 (Reuters) - Three Israeli nationals were arrested and accused of trying to smuggle $42 million worth of hallucinogenic Ecstasy pills to the United States from Belgium, the largest such drug seizure ever in Europe, U.S. authorities said on Wednesday.

The three men tried to smuggle 1.4 million pills inside diamond polishing tables bound for New York by ship from Antwerp, according to a statement from the office of Roslynn Mauskopf [where DO they get these names], U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.

Tipped off by witnesses who saw two of the men stuffing the pills into three tables inside an Antwerp warehouse in August, authorities allowed the tables to be delivered -- without the pills -- to New York where they were put under surveillance.

The three men were arrested on Tuesday as they were retrieving the tables and trying to deliver the drugs to a buyer, the statement said. The case marks the largest Ecstasy seizure in Europe and the third largest such seizure in the United States, with a wholesale value of about $14 million and a retail value of about $42 million, officials said.

Arrested were Nachshow Sinvanni, who allegedly wanted to buy 900,000 of the pills for distribution; and Ofir Lebar and Ofir Weizman, who were spotted packing the tables with drugs in Belgium, officials said.

All three men live in Israel, authorities said. They each were charged with conspiring to import MDMA, the technical name for Ecstasy and, if convicted, face a possible prison sentence of 20 years and a $1 million fine.

on this website:

  Ecstasy: A gift from "our best friend and ally"...
Help to fund  Ultra-Orthodox couriers ran drugs for major international ring, reports Reuters
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