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News Release [printer friendly page]
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 7, 2006

Extradited Israeli Drug Lord Appears in Federal Court
to Face Ecstasy Drug Charges

Ze'ev Rosenstein (right) is escorted by federal agents as he boards a plane bound for the United States.
Ze'ev Rosenstein (right) is escorted by federal agents as he boards a plane bound for the United States.

Karen P. Tandy, Administrator, Drug Enforcement Administration, R. Alexander Acosta, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Mark R. Trouville, Special Agent in charge, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Miami Field Office, announced that defendant Ze’ev Rosenstein made his initial appearance in federal court today after being extradited from Israel on March 6, 2006. Rosenstein is charged by Indictment with conspiracy to distribute Ecstasy and conspiracy to import Ecstasy. If convicted on these charges, he faces a term of imprisonment of 20 years as to each count. At the initial appearance this morning, the United States requested that Rosenstein be held in pretrial detention. A hearing on the government’s motion and arraignment has been set for March 28, 2006, in Ft. Lauderdale, before Magistrate Judge Lurana Snow.

Ze'ev Rosenstein (right) is escorted by federal agents as he boards a plane bound for the United States.A significant part of the case against Rosenstein is based on the seizure of approximately 700,000 Ecstasy pills in July 2001. The Indictment also covers a two year period during which Rosenstein headed a sophisticated drug trafficking network whose operations spanned four continents and involved the shipment of well over one million Ecstasy pills to the United States. The July 2001 seizure occurred after one of Rosenstein’s co-conspirators sold a sample of the Ecstasy pills to a confidential source in New York. The next day, investigators with the New York Police Department executed a search warrant and arrested two Israeli nationals who subsequently stated that prior to distributing any of the pills they would receive instructions from other co-conspirators in Israel. Law enforcement officials later determined that Rosenstein was one of the individuals responsible for financing the shipment of the pills to the United States. It was also determined that one of the main brokers connecting potential buyers with potential sellers was also passing information to Rosenstein through another co-conspirator. In essence, all decisions about the sale of the pills were run through Rosenstein, placing him at the center the conspiracy.

“Rosenstein has orchestrated the delivery of hundreds of thousands of Ecstasy tablets into American neighborhoods," said DEA Administrator Karen P. Tandy. "Today, we answer his crime with the consequence criminals fear most: extradition to the United States. DEA stands firmly with our Israeli partners in this battle against drugs, and we will not relent until drug traffickers, from the kingpins to the street dealers, are behind bars."

U.S. Attorney R. Alexander Acosta stated, “By joining forces with our law enforcement colleagues in Israel, today's prosecution disrupts and dismantles a major international drug trafficking operation. Rosenstein is alleged to have headed a sophisticated drug trafficking network whose operations spanned four continents and involved the shipment of well over one million Ecstasy pills to the United States. The best way to keep our children and our streets free of drugs is to continue to prosecute cases like today's, where the quantities of drugs and the breadth of the trafficking network reach into countless American neighborhoods.”

Ze'ev Rosenstein (right) is escorted by federal agents as he boards a plane bound for the United States.Mr. Acosta noted that this case would not have been possible without the extraordinary joint efforts of the United States and Israeli authorities, including the Israel Ministry of Justice, the Israel National Police (“INP”), and the INP office at the Israeli Embassy in Washington. For nearly five years, the prosecution of Rosenstein has involved the close and full cooperation of the Tel-Aviv District Attorney’s Office and the Tel Aviv Central Unit of the INP.

In addition, Acosta commended the efforts of Michael F. Walther, formerly Deputy Chief, of the Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Section in Washington (NDDS), for his leadership in coordinating the U.S. side of the case. In addition, Mr. Acosta expressed his gratitude to Roslynn R. Mauskopf, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, for her Office’s aid in the investigation, which included detailing Jed Davis, an Assistant United States Attorney in her Office, to assist NDDS and the Southern District of Florida. Mr. Acosta also commended the efforts of Trial Attorney Blair Berman of the Office of International Affairs; DEA Special Operations Division; DEA Foreign Operations Division; DEA-Nicosia; the Miami-Dade Police Department Narcotics Squad; the Glades County Sheriff’s Office; the Hialeah Police Department, and the New York Police Department Queens Narcotics Major Case Squad. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Benjamin Greenberg and Michael Sullivan, and DEA HIDTA Group 44.

Extradition photos are available at DEA.gov or by calling (202) 307-7977.

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