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Israeli mob figure held in drug deal

By Asscoiated Press
Published November 9, 2004

MIAMI - A man described as one of Israel's most notorious mob bosses was arrested Monday in Tel Aviv on drug charges originating in Miami and was awaiting extradition here, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

Zeev Rosenstein was charged with conspiring to distribute more than 700,000 ecstasy pills in the United States.

Rosenstein is "one of the most wanted drug traffickers in the entire world," said U.S. Attorney Marcos Jimenez in Miami.

The 700,000 ecstasy pills were seized in a Manhattan apartment along with $187,000 in July 2001.

The drugs, which originated in Europe, were offered for sale to an undercover informer for Miami-Dade County police.

Miami detectives passed the information to officers in New York, who tailed a courier to the apartment where the drugs were stashed. Two people in the apartment were also arrested.

Israel national police had evidence that Rosenstein was involved in organizing the load, and additional charges were filed. The U.S. Attorney's Office declined to give details on the evidence implicating Rosenstein.

Rosenstein, 50, has long been accused of being one of Israel's top mob leaders, but aside from a brief stint in prison for armed robbery in the 1970s, he had eluded authorities.

Rosenstein was arrested outside a hotel in Tel Aviv without incident, said Brig. Gen. Simon Perry of the Israeli Embassy in Washington.

He narrowly escaped the seventh attempt on his life in December. A bomb intended for Rosenstein left him with only scratches, but killed three passers-by and wounded 18 others in Tel Aviv.

[Last modified November 9, 2004, 00:26:24]


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