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WASHINGTON, D.C. - Attorney General John Ashcroft, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida Marcos Jiménez and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Administrator Karen Tandy announced today that Ze'ev Rosenstein was arrested in Israel based on a criminal complaint charging him with conspiring to distribute over 700,000 tablets of 3,4 Methylenedioxymethamphetamine, also known as "MDMA" and "Ecstasy." Rosenstein's arrest marks the culmination of a lengthy collaborative effort by the U.S. Department of Justice and Israeli Ministry of Justice prosecutors and investigators from the DEA and Israeli National Police ("INP").

Rosenstein, who is named in the Attorney General's Consolidated Priority Organization Target ("CPOT") list, was arrested today in Tel Aviv on a complaint filed in Miami, Florida. The charges against Rosenstein stem from the July 2001 seizure of more than 700,000 Ecstasy tablets from a Manhattan, New York apartment. The underlying investigation, a part of the Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Forces program (OCDETF), was developed by federal and state authorities in Miami when a jointly controlled DEA and Miami-Dade Police Department informant was allegedly approached by a Rosenstein associate who offered to sell the informant Ecstasy on consignment from a load hidden in New York.

Miami-Dade Police Department detectives in Miami passed the informant's information to detectives in New York, who followed a courier to an apartment in Manhattan, obtained a search warrant, seized more than 700,000 pills and $187,000.00 in United States currency, and arrested two individuals found inside the apartment with the drugs. A grand jury in the Southern District of Florida returned an Indictment and a superseding indictment against two individuals seeking to purchase a portion of the pills. These two defendants pleaded guilty.

Thereafter, the INP advised DEA headquarters of evidence suggesting that Rosenstein had organized the drugs seized in Manhattan. The U.S. Attorney's Office in Miami soon obtained a second superseding indictment against the occupants of the New York stash house. These individuals also pleaded guilty. A third superseding indictment was then obtained against Rosenstein lieutenant Shemtov Michtavi. Michtavi was convicted by a Miami jury in September and is awaiting sentencing.

"The arrest of Ze’ev Rosenstein is the result of extraordinary close and creative cooperation between U.S. and Israeli law enforcement," said Attorney General Ashcroft. "It is a significant step forward in our common struggle against trans-border organized crime and international narcotics trafficking that will make both of our countries safer."

"Ze’ev Rosenstein, as charged, is a drug trafficker who poured hundreds of thousands of deadly Ecstasy pills into America’s neighborhoods. DEA and our Israeli partners banded together like never before to make the children of our nations safer,” said DEA Administrator Tandy.

"This case sends the message to drug traffickers that we will pursue them no matter where in the world they might be," said U.S. Attorney. Jiménez. "The prosecution of sophisticated international drug traffickers continues to be a high priority of this Office. This case would not have been possible without the joint efforts of United States and Israeli authorities, including the Israel Ministry of Justice and the Israel National Police."

Rosenstein's arrest also highlights the impact of DOJ's drug enforcement priority targeting strategy. In March 2002, the Attorney General announced a comprehensive six-part drug enforcement strategy for DOJ. The strategy relies on the talent and expertise of numerous federal law enforcement agencies to identify and target the most significant drug supply organizations and their related components. The central element of the strategy was the development of the CPOT List, a unified list of international "command and control" drug traffickers and money launderers. Rosenstein's arrest brings to 31 the number CPOT targets charged nationally since the list was created.

In addition to the previously mentioned law enforcement agencies, this investigation was also conducted by the Justice Department's Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Section (NDDS); the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York; the DEA Special Operations Division; the DEA Foreign Operations Division and Nicosia office; the South Florida HIDTA Group 44; Miami-Dade Police Department Narcotics Squad; Glades County Sheriff's Office; Hialeah Police Department; the Office of International Affairs at the Justice Department, and the Attache & Liaison Officer to the United States from the government of Israel.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Benjamin G. Greenberg of the Southern District of Florida and Assistant United States Attorney Jed Davis of the Eastern District of New York.

The details contained in the complaint are allegations. The defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.