Israeli MDMA Trafficker Extradicted To South Florida
Thomas W. Raffanello, The Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Miami Field Division, in conjunction with Marcos Jimenez, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Edward Stubbs, the Acting U.S. Marshal for the Southern District of Florida announce the arrival this evening in Miami, Florida of Lior AZOULAY. He is an Israeli National who was apprehended in Germany as a result of being charged by indictment in October 2000 in Miami for Conspiracy to Import MDMA and Possession with Intent to Distribute MDMA into the Southern District of Florida. As a result of this indictment, AZOULAY has been in custody in Germany since October 08, 2002.
This arrest is a part of the same DEA investigation which led to the extradition of the first two Israeli Nationals from Israel on July 26, 2002, Mier BEN DAVID and Josef LEVI, in an enforcement operation known as OPERATION FAHRID.
Special Agent in Charge Thomas Raffanello commended the assistance of the German law enforcement community, noting that men like AZOULAY are textbook examples of the type of major international drug traffickers the DEA targets worldwide.
The DEA's Fort Lauderdale office initiated this investigation in 1998. The investigation revealed that from the Spring of 1998 until 2000, AZOULAY was part of an Israeli Organized Crime Syndicate responsible for smuggling large quantities of MDMA from Europe into the United States. AZOULAY coordinated the distribution of the MDMA once it arrived in South Florida.
During the course of the overall investigation, hundreds of kilograms of MDMA were documented as being imported into the United States by this organization. Approximately 200,000 MDMA tablets were seized in South Florida. Monetary seizures from AZOULAY totalled $64,000. A total of 40 persons have been indicted in this investigation, and 36 of them have been arrested so far.
"The DEA is known for going after large scale trafficking organizations," said Acting Director John Brown. "Our resolve to bring traffickers to justice doesn't stop at the border."
An Initial Appearance in Federal Magistrate's court is anticipated for AZOULAY on Tuesday, February 18, 2003 at 1:30 P. M. at the U.S. District Courthouse in downtown Miami.
Public Information Officers from the United States Attorney's Office and DEA Miami will be available for on-camera interviews in English and Spanish with the media in front of the Federal Courthouse immediately following the Tuesday court appearance. The USAO is located at 99 NE 4th Street, Miami, Florida.
DEA video coverage of the extradition will be made available tonight at the DEA Office. Please send your live trucks to the DEA Office at 8:00 P.M. so that you can convert the video from mini-DV to your stations format.