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Sunday, September 30, 2012

The $40M, Pre 9-11 Israeli Ecstasy Raid

In July of 2001, two Israelis, Israel Ashkenazi and David Roash, were found in possession of $40M in Ecstasy pills.  Both Ashkenazi and Roash were later found to have connections with Ze'ev Rosenstein, "Godfather" of the Israeli mob. It was the largest Ectasy bust in NY history. 

The reason for the bust is made clear in the article Criminal Justice - The Israeli Connection, by Carl Jones - two Israeli gangs were attempting to wipe out each other.  As a result, the Israeli National Police were contacted by Mordechai “Flaco” Cohen, son of Columbian drug lord Elias Cohen.  In exchange for testimony, some Israeli drug families will receive US citizenship and new identities.

NYPD Raid Nets 40m In Ecstasy

Narcotic cops raiding a swank lower Manhattan apartment found $40 million worth of Ecstasy - believed to the largest seizure of the drug ever in the city, authorities said yesterday.

During the Tuesday night raid, cops netted 1 million pills - and arrested David Roash, 25, and Israel Ashkenazi, 27, two Israeli nationals who recently rented an apartment overlooking Battery Park, Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik said.

Roash and Ashkenazi, both of Tel Aviv, were described as the kingpins of a distribution ring that supplied Ecstasy to sellers around the metropolitan area.

Their brand was allegedly sold under names such as Mercedes, Mitsubishi and Superman, and was produced in Europe, possibly Amsterdam, a law enforcement source said.

Huge Ecstasy Bust

(AP)  Police raided an apartment and found 450 pounds of Ecstasy pills worth $40 million, the largest seizure of the popular club drug in the city's history, officials said.Police seized more than one million pills and found $187,000 in cash in the Tuesday night raid.

They were led to the apartment by a drug investigation that focused on two men identified as Israelis - David Roash, 28, and Israel Ashkenazi, 25. One of the men was staying at the apartment.

Roash and Ashkenazi were suppliers who gave dealers about 100,000 pills to sell at a time, Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik said Wednesday. Ecstasy pills are sold for $20 to $40 per pill.

The two suspects were arrested and charged with a variety of drug offenses, and could face up to life in prison if convicted.
Israeli 'godfather' caught in ecstasy dragnet  

November 9th, 2004  The reputed "godfather" of the Israeli mob was arrested in Tel Aviv today on a criminal complaint from Miami accusing him of trafficking in the illegal club drug ecstasy, federal authorities said.

Ze'ev Rosenstein, 51, who surrounds himself with bodyguards and travels in an armored limousine, was taken into custody as he left a hotel in Tel Aviv.

His arrest was touted at news conferences in Israel and the United States, where law enforcement officials said they had caught one of the most wanted drug traffickers in the world.

The US Drug Enforcement Administration says Rosenstein is a dominant force in the international ecstasy market. The US Department of Justice considers him a priority organised crime target.

Rosenstein is accused of masterminding the sale of 700,000 ecstasy tablets in 2001. The ecstasy, along with $US 187,000 in cash, was seized during a raid that July at an apartment building in Manhattan.

Rosenstein's lawyer said the charges surprised him. "I am hopeful it will be disproved," Benny Nahiri told the Associated Press in Israel.

Extraditing Rosenstein from Israel could take several months, US Attorney Marcos Daniel Jimenez said.

The three-year investigation received a boost from unprecedented cooperation between law enforcement agencies in Israel and the United States, officials from both countries said.

It was stepped up after a December bombing intended for Rosenstein killed three passersby and injured 18 in Tel Aviv's business district.

Rosenstein, who has survived seven previous attempts on his life involving bullets, bombs and a shoulder-launched missile, escaped with minor cuts.

Brigaider-General Simon Perry of the Israel National Police described Rosenstein as one of the most infamous men in his country.

"He's a major criminal in Israel," Perry, who works out of Israel's embassy in Washington, said at the news conference in Miami. "Every Israeli knows Rosenstein is at the top of the list."

In Israel, Rosenstein reportedly rubbed elbows with a-listers from the worlds of politics, sports and the party circuit, becoming a celebrity in his own right. His son's lavish wedding was highly publicized and attended by Israel's glitterati.

After the bombing, Moshe Misrahi, the brother of one of the victims, complained bitterly to the Jerusalem Post: "They've turned him into a hero.

"When I see how they take his picture and write about him all over the place, and even show his son's wedding on television, I feel like this country has gone to the dogs."

The bombing compelled Israeli police, who often refer to Rosenstein as "Public Enemy No 1," to announce a crackdown on gangland crime.

Since the late 1990s, Israeli-led crime groups have controlled ecstasy trafficking from Western Europe to the United States.

In 2001, the Israel National Police began sharing leads and other information with the DEA and law enforcement agencies across Europe.

US Attorney General John Ashcroft called the cooperation that led to Rosenstein's arrest "a significant step forward" in combating crime that crosses international borders.

A 2002 Miami drug case involving the sale of 65,000 ecstasy tablets for $US393,000 ($519,290) led agents and police to Rosenstein, according to court documents.

According to an affidavit by DEA agent Robert Deak, the ecstasy was offered for sale to an undercover informant who worked for Miami-Dade County police and the DEA.

When it became difficult to get the drugs to Miami, arrangements were made to pick up the ecstasy in New York. New York police tailed a courier and raided the apartment, seizing the cash and the stash and arresting two men, including Israel Ashkenazi.

Also known as "Sharp", Ashkenazi was indicted in Miami, pleaded guilty, and was sentenced to 35 months in federal prison.

The DEA informant arranged the deal through Mordechai "Flaco" Cohen, a 29-year-old Israeli who lived in Spain, according to the affidavit. Cohen was indicted in Miami, pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate in hopes of reducing a possible 20-year sentence.

Cohen, now serving 87 months, told authorities he was introduced over the telephone to Rosenstein by a top "lieutenant", Shemtov Michtavi. Michtavi, 52, was convicted by a federal jury in Miami in September and is scheduled to be sentenced on November 19.
According to the affidavit, Cohen said Rosenstein told him he was behind the deal. After the drugs were seized, he said, Rosenstein called and said he needed to know what happened because "the person who was supposed to pick up the pills must have been in law enforcement."

Following the raid, court documents said, Israeli police passed on information that Rosenstein had been involved in supplying the seized drugs.

The following quotes are excerpts from the article Criminal Justice - The Israeli Connection

Mordechai “Flaco” Cohen. Cohen, who grew up in Colombia and moved to Madrid in 2001, is the son of Elias Cohen, an alleged drug lord in Colombia...

Michtavi’s defense lawyer at trial, Bruce Lehr of Lehr & Gasalla in Miami, said in an interview earlier this month that he had not yet talked to his client but was “sure he will be thrilled” with the 11th Circuit ruling. Ira N. Loewy, a partner at Bierman Shohat & Loewy in Miami, handled the appeal...

Two months before the Manhattan bust, Michtavi and Cohen met at Cohen’s home in Madrid to discuss a contract murder...

Michtavi testified that Cohen said his father, Elias Cohen, had ordered two Colombian brothers to kill Rosenstein and Michtavi at the direction of a rival Israeli crime syndicate, the Alperon family. According to Michtavi, Cohen said he could intervene and stop the hits if Michtavi and Rosenstein gave him money to pay off the Colombian hit men. Michtavi said he and Rosenstein arranged for a series of payments to be made to Cohen to save their lives. 

In contrast, Cohen testified that Michtavi asked him to hire the two Colombian hit men to kill members of the rival Alperon family. Cohen said that is when he decided to begin working with the Israeli National Police...

According to news accounts, the Israeli government agreed to extradite Rosenstein only if the United States agreed to allow him to serve any prison sentence in Israel. Rosenstein is being held under 24-hour video surveillance in an Israeli prison. He sits in the same cell that once held the man who assassinated Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin 10 years ago.

Authorities said the drugs had been made in Amsterdam, while deals were sealed in Israel. That information led to the sweep and the discovery of some 1.6 million Ecstasy pills in Germany...

The Dadush brothers were convicted in April 2004 in Israel for financing drug buys and arranging the deals. The Jerusalem Post reported last November that they and their families were flown to the United States from Israel — where they were serving 18 years for their roles in the drug ring. According to the article, both men and their families will enter federal protective custody and receive new identities and U.S. citizenship in exchange for their testimony.




kenny said...

A little bird told me this story.

Back around 1986 Israelis flooded Dallas with very high quality ecstasy or MDMA as the more scientifically minded called it. (It was not known at the time it was Israelis, that would come later)

Entrepreneurs were making regular trips to Dallas and and bringing the drug back to cities in the South. Not so much for the money but to spread the high. Evangelicals for ecstasy.

The tablets were described as nearly perfect doses, pharmaceutical grade and of therapeutic quality. Don't underestimate the therapeutic value, even the potential for help for PTSD sufferers.

For those with common sense, occasional use became magical moments. Especially among couples and friends.

Certain small concert venues in Nashville sometimes became a gathering where love, smiles, hugs and kisses were memorable.

Contacts come and go and the little bird lost his but by the early 90's he was hearing reports of kids saying they took 3,4 or 5 hits of X in one night.

The little bird was perplexed. How could someone take that much high quality MDMA? Though a couple of chance encounters with sources the bird found out.

The slimy Israelis decided that now the word was out they would cut the dosage to about 1/4 of the original and sell the tabs for the same price. Those who knew cursed.

The little bird never knew whether others across the country knew the real deal or if the traffickers like Roash, Ashkenazi or Rosenstein as mentioned in the article were dealing in quality or trash. The guess would be both.

The little bird did learn a lesson. Never trust Israeli drug dealers and be wary of Israelis in general.

Wiki has a fairly good overview on MDMA.

Unknown said...

Read solving 911 for more about the Israelis