8 November 2004 LAWFUEL – Crime, law, lawyer, attorney, legal news Marcos Daniel Jiménez, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Robert J. Joura, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), announced today that defendant, Ze’ev Rosenstein, was arrested in Tel Aviv, Israel this morning 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,” in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Sections 841(a)(1) and 846. Rosenstein’s arrest marks the culmination of a lengthy collaborative effort by the U.S. Department of Justice and Israel Ministry of Justice prosecutors and investigators from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and Israel National Police (“INP”).
Rosenstein, who is named in the Attorney General’s Consolidated Priority Organization Target (“CPOT”) list, was arrested on a complaint filed in Miami, Florida and unsealed today. 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 was developed by federal and state authorities in Miami when a jointly controlled DEA and Miami-Dade Police Department informant was approached by a Rosenstein associate who offered to sell the informant Ecstasy on consignment from a load stashed in New York. Miami-Dade Police Department detectives in Miami passed the informant’s information to detectives in New York, who tailed 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 individuals pleaded guilty.
Thereafter, the INP advised DEA headquarters of evidence suggesting that Rosenstein had organized the seized load. 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 John 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 Karen Tandy.
“This case sends the message to drug traffickers that we will pursue them no matter where in the world they might be,” said Mr. 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.”
Since the late-1990’s ecstasy trafficking from Western Europe to the United States has largely been controlled by Israeli-led criminal groups in the U.S., Europe, and Israel. As the result of a weeklong conference that the INP convened in Tel Aviv in early 2001 organized by the Tel Aviv Central Unit of INP, federal agents and their Israeli counterparts began exchanging leads on a more regular and disciplined basis. Dozens of arrests in the U.S., Israel, and across Europe, as well as seizures of millions of Ecstasy tablets destined for the U.S. market, resulted from this U.S.-Israeli law enforcement partnership.
Coordination efforts deepened in late 2003 after a rival criminal organization attempted to assassinate Rosenstein using a bomb planted outside his office in Tel Aviv. Three innocent bystanders were killed and dozens more were injured. The investigation of Rosenstein required cooperation between, among others, Israeli prosecutors in the Tel Aviv District and in the Department of International Affairs in the Israel Ministry of Justice, INP officers based in Tel Aviv and at the Special Operations Division of the Intelligence Department at INP Headquarters in Jerusalem, DEA agents in the U.S. and overseas and the United States Attorneys for Southern District of Florida and the Eastern District of New York. This cooperation has been closely coordinated through the INP liaison office in Washington, D.C. and American prosecutors assigned to the Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Section at the Department of Justice.
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 signifi-cant 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 approximately 37 the number CPOT targets charged nationally since the list was created. Of those targets, eight (8) have been charged in the Southern District of Florida.
Mr. Jiménez commended the efforts of Michael F. Walther, Deputy Chief, of the Department of Justice’s Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Section, Roslynn R. Mauskopf, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Jed Davis, an Assistant United States Attorney in her Office; Blair Berman, Trial Attorney, Office of International Affairs; and Brigadier General Simon Perry, Attache & Liaison Officer to the United States, who coordinated matters for the government of Israel.
Mr. Jiménez also commended the investigative efforts of the Drug Enforcement Administration, including the DEA Special Operations Division, the DEA Foreign Operations Division, and the DEA-Nicosia, as well as the South Florida HIDTA Group 44, Miami-Dade Police Department Narcotics Squad, Glades County Sheriff’s Office, and Hialeah Police Department.
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.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls