- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 7, 2006

An Israeli citizen named by the U.S. government as a drug kingpin and extradited to the United States on Monday made his first appearance in a Florida courtroom yesterday to answer federal charges of conspiracy to distribute and import Ecstasy.

U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration chief Karen P. Tandy said Ze’ev Rosenstein faces up to 20 years in prison on each of two counts in a grand-jury indictment handed up in U.S. District Court in Fort Lauderdale.

At his initial appearance yesterday, the government requested that Mr. Rosenstein be held in pretrial detention. A hearing on the motion and arraignment has been set for March 28 in U.S. District Court in Fort Lauderdale before Magistrate Judge Lurana Snow.

Mrs. Tandy said the case against Mr. Rosenstein is based on the seizure of more than 700,000 Ecstasy pills in July 2001 during which, according to the indictment, he led a sophisticated drug-trafficking network whose operations spanned four continents and involved the shipment of more than 1 million Ecstasy pills to the United States.

The seizure, she said, occurred after one of Mr. Rosenstein’s co-conspirators sold a sample of the 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 said that before distributing any of the pills they received instructions from other co-conspirators in Israel.

Law-enforcement officials later determined that Mr. Rosenstein was one of the co-conspirators responsible for financing the shipment of the pills to the United States, according to the indictment. It also said that all decisions about the sale of the pills were run through Mr. Rosenstein, placing him at the center of the conspiracy.

“Rosenstein has orchestrated the delivery of hundreds of thousands of Ecstasy tablets into American neighborhoods,” Mrs. Tandy said. “Today, we answer his crime with the consequence criminals fear most: extradition to the United States.”

U.S. Attorney R. Alexander Acosta in Miami said that by joining forces, law-enforcement authorities in the United States and Israel were able to disrupt and dismantle a major international drug-trafficking operation.

“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,” he said.

Mr. Acosta said the investigation would not have been possible without the “extraordinary joint efforts of the United States and Israeli authorities,” including the Israeli Ministry of Justice, the Israel National Police and the INP office at the Israeli Embassy in Washington.

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