ARRESTED IN CONNECTION WITH SEIZURE OF 1.4 MILLION ECSTASY TABLETS WORTH
APPROXIMATELY $42 MILLION DOLLARS
JOHN P. GILBRIDE, Acting Special Agent In Charge, New York Division of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, and the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York announced the arrest of three Israel nationals and the seizure of approximately 1.4 MILLION ECSTASY TABLETS (approximately 288 kilograms) with an estimated value of $42 MILLON DOLLARS. To date, this is the largest seizure of ecstasy in Europe and the third largest seizure in the United States.
The investigation revealed that on August 21, 2002, defendants Ofir LEBAR and Ofir WEIZMAN arrived at a warehouse in Belgium where three diamond polishing tables were awaiting shipment. LEBAR AND WEIZMAN proceeded to stock the polishing tables with the ecstasy tablets in plain sight of warehouse workers. When questioned about the tablets they responded that the tablets were "horse vitamins".
On August 23, 2002 Belgium Federal Police responded to information that tablets were secreted inside three diamond polishing tables intend to be loaded on a container ship bound for the United States. The Belgian Federal Police took custody of the tablets and turned the ecstasy tablets and tables over to the Brussels Country Office of the Drug Enforcement Administration for further investigation.
The Belgium Federal Police allowed the tables, absent the pills to leave as scheduled, bound for the United States where the Drug Enforcement Administration would continue monitoring the delivery.
With assistance of the United States Customs Service it was subsequently determined that WEIZMAN entered the United States on September 29, 2002 and LEBAR on October 2, 2002.
The investigation further revealed a meeting scheduled by LEBAR with Nachshow SINVANNI on October 7, 2002 for the purpose of delivering approximately 900,000 ecstasy tablets to SINVANNI. It was during this transaction that DEA and U.S. Customs Agents arrested defendants WEIZMAN, LEBAR AND SINVANNI.
Acting Special Agent in Charge John P. Gilbride stated "the dismantling of this major international drug trafficking organization shows us once again the success of cooperative investigative pursuits between federal, state, local and foreign law enforcement counterparts. This comprehensive law enforcement approach coupled with the Drug Enforcement Administration's demand reduction efforts will continue our achievements in the fight against drug trafficking in this nation."
The investigation is continuing.