CRIME AND PUNISHMENT:
'Russian' Mafia (and General Drugs) Department
1930s-era Jewish gangster


  "An American of Russian Jewish descent, [Robert] Friedman is remarkably well positoned to report on the [Russian] Mafiya, since most Mafiya members are themselves Russian Jews. This curious fact owes its origin to the efforts, during the Nixon administration, of Democratic Senator Henry 'Scoop' Jackson to link trade concessions with Jewish emigration from the Soviet Union ... While the Italian Mafia has a singular link between Italy and America, the Russian Mafiya is more international. Ironically, in a Jewish transit camp near Rome, many Russian-Jewish career crirminals met, exchanged information and departed ... The Russians seem crazier than do the Italians. While the Mafia uses violence to punish enemies ... surgically, the Mafiya will kill the enemy, his wife, his children, and his friends, both as a theatrical warning to competitors and for the sheer joy of tyrannical violence ... Now 30 Russian crime syndicates are operating in at least 17 U. S. cities." Houston Chronicle,
5-14-2000, p. 15




"Because the Russian mob is mostly Jewish, it was a political hot potato, especially in the New York area."
Robert Friedman,
[Houston Chronicle, 5-14-2000, p. 15


In 1994, in Montreal, Canada, Rabbi Meyer Krentzman, a former director of the Canadian Jewish Zionist Federation, former director of the Jewish National Fund of Montreal, and member of the Jewish Educational Council, was arrested for selling cocaine and heroin to an undercover police officer.
Fishkoff, Sue. Montreal Rabbi Arrested on Drug-dealing Charges. Jerusalem Post, p. 1



In 1990, Linda Leary, a former chapter president of the National Council of Jewish Women, was extradited from Austria to stand trial in Indianapolis with her two sons for their prominent role in a drug ring that smuggled at least 250,000 pounds of marijuana into America. Leary "pleaded guilty of charges of racketeering and conspiracy for her part in the ring. She was accused of hiding drug money in bank accounts in the Cayman Islands."
Linda Leary Pleads Guilty in Drug Case, UPI, February 22, 1990

Accountant Faces Drug Sentence,
Totally Jewish, Nov 26, 2001
"A chartered accountant, who played a key role in an international plot to launder millions of pounds worth of Israeli drug money, has been told by the judge to expect a jail sentence. Appearing in Southwark Crown Court, Philip Lyons, from Stanmore, pleaded guilty to conspiring with others to converting the proceeds of drug trafficking and criminal conduct between June 1 and March 7 this year. The dad-of-three, who was part of a gang that laundered the proceeds of numerous heroin and ecstasy deals and then sent the money to Spain, was remanded in custody."

The Jewish Laundry of Drug Money
, translated from the Hebrew by Israel Shahak, former head of the Israel Civil Rights Association. [This piece, one of the first looks in English at the Jewish/Israeli involvement in the international drug scene, originally appeared in the Israeli magazine Maariv, September 2, 1994. It can be found here at Zionism and Israeli Apartheid, a pro-Palestinian site]
"In recent months the [US government] Eldorado agents discovered a new center of operations. It is termed The Cocaine Triangle. Its sides are: Colombian drug barons, Israeli-Jewish money launderers and Jewish-Russian mafiosi. The Colombians funnel the money, the Israelis launder it, the Russian mafiosi (who have recently overrun New York in droves) provide the security and the muscle. A New York journalist recently told 'Ma'ariv'; 'The Israeli Jews are gaining notoriety in the money laundering market. You need only look at the list of arrests and the inditements of the past 3 years, in order to grasp the enormous scope of Israeli involvement in that field.'"

Red Mafiya: How the Russian Mob Has Invaded America.
New York Review of Books
, November 16, 2000 [book review, posted at Center for Defense Information/Johnson's Russia List]
"Whatever the American laws, a successful campaign against Russian mobsters will require the cooperation of other governments, particularly those of Russia and Israel, the two countries that are now the principal residences of most Russian crime bosses ...'Of all the nations where the Russian mob has established a presence, none has been more deeply compromised than the State of Israel,' [Robert] Friedman writes, adding that the Russian mafia has 'become a grave threat to the stability of Israel.' Although this may be a bit hyperbolic, the Russian mafia does have a strong, safe base in Israel -- a story that American and Israeli journalists have largely overlooked. One FBI report observes, for example, that most members of Mogilevich's criminal organization have Israeli passports. And Jonathan Winer told Friedman (when Winer was still the State Department's crime expert), 'There is not a major Russian organized crime figure whom we are tracking who does not also carry an Israeli passport.'"

Red Mafiya, by Robert Friedman. TimeWarner. [sample chapter]
"In the 1970s, more than forty thousand Russian Jews settled in Brighton Beach, the formerly stolid working-class Jewish neighborhood that inspired Neil Simon's gentle play Brighton Beach Memoirs. It was under the shadow of the elevated subway tracks on Brighton Beach Avenue, bustling with Russian meat markets, vegetable pushcarts, and bakeries, that the Russian gangsters resumed their careers as professional killers, thieves, and scoundrels. By the time of [Monya] Elson's arrival, Brighton Beach had already become the seat of the dreaded Organizatsiya, the Russian Jewish mob."

Russian Organized Crime. PBS/Center for Strategic International Studies (CSIS) Task Force Report (1997)
"To date, U.S. Iaw enforcement officials have established a clear relationship between ROC [Russian Organized Crime] groups and La Cosa Nostra (LCN), the Italian-American criminal network in the United States ... Cooperative efforts between ROC groups and the Colombian drug cartels are centered in Miami, where the local FBI of office characterized the Russian gangsters as 'very brutal...they are very sophisticated. They are computer literate. They hit the ground running.' Miami represents a gateway to both the United States and Latin America ... Two major drug smuggling cases in 1996 illustrate the transnational reach of ROC. The first involved Russians as well as individuals from the Netherlands, Ukraine, Belarus, and African countries in an attempt to smuggle four tons of drugs via Russia. The second case involved ROC operations in five West European countries and Russia; the illicit activities led to a joint operation among the involved governments against a transnational drug trafficking group--and to the confiscation of 2.5 tons of drugs. In testimony before the U.S. Senate, FBI director Louis Freeh stated that some 27 ROC groups had been identified as operating in the United States. The activities of these groups are believed to center primarily around such major U.S. cities as San Francisco, Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago, and New York. One MVD official stated that ROC activities in the United States include money laundering, illegal money transactions, and narcotics trafficking. Other countries with a known and active ROC presence include Germany, with 47 groups; and Italy, with 60 groups. The MVD estimates that over 100 ROC groups are active in at least 50 countries."

US Senate: Russian Mafia Extortion in NHL More Extensive.
Sports Illustrated
, July 8, 1997
"The extent of extortion by the Russian mafia among NHL [National Hockey League] players is greater than previously believed, according to the united States Senate. ESPN, citing a 15-month Senate investigation produced more than 100 interviews with NHL players, officials, owners, team officials and agents, reports that serious conclusions have been made about the Russian mafia's influence among NHL players. There are 50 former Soviet players in the NHL and most of them are Russian ... 'If you add in people who would know firsthand about extortion that occurred, I would venture to say, based upon our investigation, that a significant percentage of Russian hockey players skating in the NHL have been extorted in some way,' Senate investigator Michael Bopp told ESPN. 'Based on the sample of players we spoke to, I would conclude that a third of the players had some direct involvement.'"

The Most Dangerous Mobster in the World.
Village Voice
[New York], May 20-26, 1998
"The enigmatic leader of the [Russian] Red Mafia is a 52-year-old Ukrainian-born Jew named Semion Mogilevich. He is a shadowy figure known as the ''Brainy Don''--he holds an economics degree from the University of Lvov--and until now, he has never been exposed by the media. But the Voice has obtained hundreds of pages of classified FBI and Israeli intelligence documents from August 1996, and these documents--as well as recent interviews with a key criminal associate and with dozens of law enforcement sources here and abroad--describe him as someone who has become a grave threat to the stability of Israel and Eastern Europe ... The FBI and Israeli intelligence assert that he traffics in nuclear materials, drugs, prostitutes, precious gems, and stolen art. His contract hit squads operate in the U.S. and Europe. He controls everything that goes in and out of Moscow's Sheremetyevo International Airport, a ''smugglers' paradise,'' says [Monya] Elson. Mogilevich bought a bankrupt airline in a former Central Asian Soviet republic for millions of dollars in cash so he could haul heroin out of the Golden Triangle. Most worrisome to U.S. authorities is Mogilevich's apparently legal purchase of virtually the entire Hungarian armaments industry, jeopardizing regional security, NATO, and the war against terrorism."

Telling His Story. ABC news, September 23, 2000
"The man suspected of being at the center of an alleged plot to launder as much as $15 billion through the Bank of New York by the Russian mob today denied any involvement in the scandal that has rocked the international financial establishment. In an exclusive interview with ABCNEWS’ Gillian Findlay, [Jewish Russian mobster] Semyon Mogilevich — who describes himself as a publisher and consultant to a cereal company — says the allegations have ruined him."

The Traffickers. Russian Crime Groups and Syndicates.
U. S. Department of State

"The Director of Operation Odessa, a Florida task force designed to combat Russian organized crime, believes that individual criminals, not necessarily organized crime, are trafficking Russian women to Florida. He claims that women are being trafficked to Miami, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, Jackson, Palm Beach, and increasingly the Florida panhandle. In his opinion, Russian entrepreneurs, with ties to Russian organized crime, are importing women for Florida's sex industry. For example, one Russian, Sergey Skobeltsyn, with alleged ties to the Russian organized crime group Kazanskaya, bought two strip clubs, Pure Platinum and Solid Gold, for $8 million dollars in late 1996. And Ludwig Fainberg [who once served in the Israeli army; Navarro, Mireya. New York Times, 3-7-97, p. A22], a Russian mafia figure with alleged ties to Colombian drug traffickers, was also heavily involved in running a strip club called Porkys, which likely involved trafficked women. FBI headquarters also has information that the following major Russian organized crime syndicates— the Izmailovskaya, Dagestantsy, Kazanskaya, and Solntsenskaya— are involved in the prostitution industry throughout the United States. Given the way these organized crime syndicates operate overseas and the brutality of these organizations, it is likely that this involvement in the US includes trafficking in women through the use of deception, threats, and violence."

Russian 'Mafiya' Takes on NY. The Russia Journal. May 15, 2000
"Police and investigators in New York told The Observer that they are connecting a sudden string of brutal murders to the mighty Russian 'Mafiya' who are taking over the city's underworld and pose what one source calls 'by far our greatest threat to stability and the rule of law' ... Ex-Bank of New York Executive Lucy Edwards [born Ludmilla Pritzker] and Peter Berlin admitted to masterminding the largest money-laundering scheme in U.S. history involving as much as $10 billion in 160,000 wire transfers, mostly connected to the Russian mob, corrupt Russian banks and their gun-toting clients. Two other murders have been handed over to the crime squad specializing in the Russian mafia. Orthodox Russian Jew Mark Simon's bullet-riddled body was found last month. He was allegedly involved in massive credit card fraud."

Russian Jewish Leader Charged with Kidnap.
The Independent
[Great Britain], January 25, 2001
"The deputy head of the Russian Jewish Congress, Mikhail Mirilashvili, has been arrested in St Petersburg and charged with kidnapping two people. The chairman of the congress, Vladimir Gusinsky, a media magnate, is already under house arrest in Spain after Moscow demanded his extradition. Police say the two cases are unconnected, but the Russian Jewish community will be alarmed that the authorities are pursuing two of its most prominent members. Mr Mirilashvili, who holds joint Israeli and Russian citizenship [so does Gusinksky], was due to leave Russia this week with the Israeli President, Moshe Katzav, who is on a state visit. Mr Mirilashvili is a director of the St Petersburg company Russian Video, which was bought by Media-Most, controlled by Mr Gusinsky, in 1997. Mr Gusinsky was later accused of defrauding the state by buying the company for $10m (£6.6m) - well below its real value. Over the past year the Kremlin has relentlessly feuded with Mr Gusinsky and Media-Most, which owns much of the independent media in Russia, because of its criticism of the government."

Spain Holds Israeli Drug Lord Wanted by U.S.
[Associated Press/Haaretz] May 23, 2001
"An Israeli [Oded Tuito] described as a major international smuggler of the drug Ecstasy is in custody in Spain awaiting a court decision on an American request for his extradition ...Spanish newspapers report that Tuito ran a massive smuggling operation in Europe, Israel, and the United States ... Israeli crime syndicates with links to Russian mobs are the primary source of Ecstasy smugglied in the United States, according to the DEA."

'Sammy the Bull' Trial Lifts Veil on Israelis in Ecstasy Trade.
[Jewish] Forward, January 19, 2001
"A celebrated mob informant's trial on drug-distribution charges is opening a window on an aspect of the drug trade that many New Yorkers would rather ignore. According to federal and local law enforcement officials, Israeli criminals have cornered the market on the drug ecstasy, controlling by some accounts as much as 75% of the American market ... According to the Drug Enforcement Agency's web page, 'In recent years, Israeli organized crime syndicates, some composed of Russian émigrés associated with Russian organized crime syndicates, have forged relationships with Western European traffickers, and gained control over a significant share of the European market. The Israeli syndicates are currently the primary sources to U.S. distribution groups." ... 'There are a lot of Israeli criminals in the three major hubs, New York, Miami and Los Angeles, so they didn't have to reinvent the wheel," Mr. Abramovsky said ... In July 1999, after a 21-month investigation, a joint federal-state organized crime-drug enforcement task force uncovered a smuggling operation that relied mostly on carriers of an unexpected nature in the drug business: young chasidic men. ... Sean Erez, an Israeli who according to the authorities ran the ring, is still in Amsterdam, where authorities are weighing a request for extradition to the United States. In February 2000, another ecstasy ring ran by Israeli citizens was exposed in Queens, N.Y. The group, allegedly headed by Oshri Amar, the son of a famous 1950s-era Israeli pop singer, was alleged by authorities to be distributing MDMA in clubs on the East Coast and in California. Some of these clubs made huge headlines in the New York press in the mid-1990s, where they were dubbed 'drug bazaars' ... Drug officials assert that additional side effects include anxiety and depression, and in the long run also permanent brain damage. The ecstasy trade is building a new reputation for Israeli criminal muscle, especially when combined with Russian gangs."

Stripper-Hasid Connection Bared by 'Ecstasy' Bust. New York Post. May 25, 2001
"An international 'ecstasy' kingpin [Israeli Oded Tuito], busted for smuggling the mind-bending pill into New York, was using leggy strippers, Hasidic teens in yarmulkes, and senior citizens as New Age drug mules, authorities say ... An Israeli national, named Sean Erez, allegedly tutored by Tuito in ecstasy smuggling, had risen through the ranks of Tuito's drug mob ... [Erez] hired Hasidic high-school boys ... These are kids who spend hours a day in the synagogue ... Federal Judge Leo Glasser ... sentenced nearly a dozen local Hasidic men. In March, Miami authorities busted a 71-year old retired Queens tailor ... Machloof Ben-Chitrit."

Ecstasy Lord Cops Plea Deal. New York Post, June 28, 2001
"An international "ecstasy" kingpin, whose organization flooded the United States with the popular club drug, is facing 17 years in prison after copping a plea in federal court yesterday. Prosecutors charge Jacob Orgad, 45, sold hundreds of thousands of pills to Israeli national Ilan Zarger. Zarger pleaded guilty in January to overseeing a ring that the feds say supplied Salvatore 'Sammy Bull' Gravano."

Two Israelis Arrested in Largest Drug Bust in NYC History.
Jerusalem Post
, July 20, 2001
"Two Israeli citizens were arrested Tuesday night in Manhattan on drug possession charges after police seized more than a million Ecstasy tablets, the largest drug bust in New York City history. Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik announced Wednesday that David Roash, 25, and Israel Ashkenazi, 28, both of Tel Aviv, were being held in Queens Criminal Court pending drug possession charges. The two face eight and a half years to life in prison if convicted. The pink, blue, and white Ecstasy pills, which weighed a total of 450 pounds and have a street value $40 million, and nearly $200,000 in cash were found in a studio apartment near the financial district."

International Ecstasy Ring Smashed By Police
. Jerusalem Post, August 2, 2001
"An Ecstasy-smuggling ring has been cracked by the Israel Police, in collaboration with its counterparts in the US and Europe. Seventeen Israelis are being held in Spain and the US, and more arrests are expected. The ring is believed to have operated for a year. The investigation began in March, when the Northern District police learned that an Ecstasy ring led by Oded Tuito was still active, although he was under arrest in Barcelona on different charges. The district passed information it had to the various countries concerned, and set up joint surveillance operations. A big break came when three Israelis - Eitan and Erez Noi and Yosef Hotvashvilli - were arrested in Barcelona for several jewelry-store heists, which turned up enough evidence to arrest Michel Elkayam - believed to have led the Ecstasy ring in lieu of Tuito - and his accomplices in North America."

A Scourge of Drugs Strikes a Pious Place
. U.S.News, March 6, 2000
"Over the past year, the number of calls about children abusing drugs in Orthodox communities 'has skyrocketed,' says Benzion Twerski, a physician who runs the substance-abuse program at Trinitas Hospital in Elizabeth, N.J. Among the reported problems: young Orthodox dealers selling drugs such as ecstasy, heroin, and crack cocaine to their schoolmates, and Orthodox drug users stealing from their parents to support their habits. The Drug Enforcement Administration last fall reported that Russian and Israeli organized-crime groups had become the major transporters of the stimulant ecstasy into the United States. Prosecutors say these syndicates sometimes sell to neophyte dealers in New York's Orthodox communities. In January, federal investigators charged a Brooklyn businessman and four other ultra-Orthodox Jewish men with conspiring to sell 180,000 ecstasy pills to an informant, then laundering the money through a local Jewish religious school. Last summer, federal authorities indicted seven people, at least two of them Orthodox teenagers, in a scheme to supply millions of ecstasy tablets to partyers at late-night clubs in New York City and Miami Beach. The feds say dealers recruited young men from ultra-Orthodox Hasidic sects in Brooklyn, believing that their black hats, dark suits, side curls, and religious affiliation would throw off cops. And just last week, six Israeli nationals and more than 20 of their alleged buyers and suppliers were arrested for allegedly carrying out a multimillion-dollar scheme using young Hasidic and other ultra-Orthodox drug couriers."

Israel's Other Export. Moment, August-September 2001
"Ecstasy, along with marijuana, hashish, heroin, and cocaine, is heavily used and traded in Israel today, in what some call a sign of the times. Contemporary Israel is an affluent, drug-consuming country—with an estimated 300,000 casual drug users and some 20,000 junkies [from at total man, woman, and child population of about 6million]. There are no reliable statistics on Ecstasy use in Israel, but in 2000 alone, police confiscated 270,000 Ecstasy tablets from smugglers, students, and partygoers in a series of stings. That same year, according to an online report by the Israeli Authority for Combating Drugs, Israeli agents confiscated more than 80 kilograms of heroin, 30 kilograms of hashish, 8,885 kilograms of marijuana, and nearly 8,000 'sheets' (resembling sheets of postage stamps) of LSD ... According to a report of the United Nations Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention, 75 percent of all crime in Israel is drug-related ... According to a U.S. State Department White Paper on Global Narcotics, issued in 1998, the Jewish State is 'a drug-consuming country with serious marijuana, hashish and heroin use, and a growing problem of cocaine, LSD, and amphetamine consumption.' But perhaps more striking, the report found that Israel is 'no longer just a user nation, but like Colombia, Thailand and Pakistan, it has also now become a trafficking power.' Authorities say Israeli crime groups have for several years had a virtual monopoly on global distribution of Ecstasy ... So how did organized Israeli crime rings become so adept at distributing and marketing Ecstasy globally? According to Antwerp police, Israelis have had smuggling networks in place for years: They shipped stolen diamonds through Brussels and Amsterdam to points worldwide."

Heroin Scandal Rocks London's Devout Jewish Community.
The Independent
[London], [posted here at the Media Awareness Project, a drug policy reform group], July 25, 1998
"The Orthodox Jewish community has been shocked by a series of arrests of its members for alleged heroin smuggling. Police and Customs inquiries are centering on a drugs link between Israel, Antwerp and London ... Police in several European countries began to suspect that the diamond area of Antwerp was becoming an international centre for drug smuggling two years ago when an Orthodox Jewish man from Antwerp was arrested at Ramsgate. Dror Hazenfratz ... from Antwerp, was jailed for 11 years for trying to smuggle heroin ... Hazenfratz, who was born in Haifa and holds an Israeli passport as well as a Belgian identity card, appeared in Canterbury court wearing traditional dress and carrying the Talmud ... Hazenfratz said he had been told to meet a Georgian Orthodox Jew at a north London hotel. The ultimate destination of the drugs was reputedly David Santini, a Glaswegian who, at the time, was Scotland's leading heroin dealer ... British drugs officers suspect they are seeing the beginning of a new drug operation involving Antwerp's Orthodox Jews and the Russian Mafia ... Last week, evidence of the violence associated with drug crime surfaced again in Antwerp. A Jewish trader in precious metals in the city, Rachmeil 'Mike' Brandwain, also reputed to be a leading figure in the Russian Mafia, was shot dead."

Rabbi Charged with Sneaking Drugs into Prison. Corpus Christi Caller Times [from Associated Press], October 16, 1998
"A diminutive 73-year-old rabbi in a rumpled pinstripe suit was released without bail Thursday on a charge he smuggled drugs into a federal prison in the Adirondacks where he ministered to inmates. Eli Gottesman, a former 'Rabbi of the Year,' has pleaded innocent to the charge of attempting to provide contraband, a felony. Authorities say Gottesman tried to smuggle a bottle of Pert Plus shampoo filled with cocaine and marijuana encased in balloons into the Federal Correctional Institute at Ray Brook, in the Adirondack Mountains. 'God knows I didn't do anything wrong. I was tricked,' Gottesman said after his court hearing. Gottesman was arrested by a special agent of the U.S. Justice Department on Oct. 7. Authorities said he had been under investigation for the past several months by prison officials, as well the Justice Department, the FBI, and state police."

The Jewish Club in Cell Block 2. The Jerusalem Report, December 20, 1999
"Shimon Dahan is doing time ... [in] Bangkok’s Bangkwang Central Prison for the past six years. Dahan is serving a 100-year sentence for smuggling a derivative of the poppy - heroin ... Among the other inmates in his Block 2 are three fellow Jews - all also lifers for drug offenses ... They have pulled together and carved out a life of comparative luxury for themselves. With cash sent in by friends and relatives, they bought themselves into the same cell, then bribed the guards to have only 10 other inmates in their 215-square-foot quarters, not the standard 20, and allow them sleeping mats, bottled water, and a diet of meat, fruit and vegetables. Two years ago, the four 'leased' a $500-a-year cell for their 'Jewish House.' It’s an exclusive club equipped with a table and chairs, bookshelves and a color TV ...The little brotherhood's membership badge is the yarmulkes they wear inside their sanctuary, where they have painted a large Star of David on the floor. Here they hold Shabbat services and eat kosher food sent in by the rabbi ... In his five years there, Stephen Roye has deteriorated from an Emmy-winning American television producer to a fading shadow. As a freelancer who had produced several anti-drug documentaries in the 1980s, he said he volunteered to run heroin from Bangkok to his native Los Angeles. He hoped it would revive his flagging career by getting the inside story of drug smuggling. He got no further than Bangkok airport."

15 Most Wanted Fugitive Steven Wolosky Arrested at Bus Stop.
U.S. Marshals' Service Press Release
, June 9, 2000
"United States Marshals Service Director John W. Marshall announced that alleged narcotic trafficker Steven M. Wolosky was arrested yesterday in Manchester, New Hampshire. Wolosky, led a drug ring responsible for the importation of more than 400,000 pounds of marijuana and hashish from Colombia and Thailand. 'He was a top ranking figure in an international maritime smuggling and distribution ring," said Marshall. 'His organization includes another TOP 15 MOST WANTED fugitive, Mark Stephen Gayer. Both men have been sought for more than a decade.' Wolosky and Gayer were indicted in March 1988, and later released on $500,000 bonds. Upon release, the two attempted to fake their deaths in a ruse to convince law enforcement that they had died in a boating accident off the California coast."

Mr. Nice. This is the entrepreneurial home page of Howard Marks, a famous British-based drug dealer who is now a performer and drug advocate after his release from an Indiana prison. He served seven years of a 25-year sentence for his role in the international drug trade. "At the height of his smuggling operation, Mr. Marks was reputedly responsible for the majority of the marijuana smoked in the western world in the 1970s and early 1980s." [Hull Daily Mail, 2-7-2000, p. 4] "The head of the United States Drug Enforcement Agency in Miami once called Marks 'the Marco Polo' of drug trafficking'." [Dening, Penelope. The Irish Times, September 7, 1996] Information about a Jewish heritage is hard to come by. We may note, however, that Marks' daughter Myfanwy lives in Israel. [Campbell, Duncan. The Guardian {London}.Second Front: Howard's Way ..., April 26, 1995, p.12]

Drug Lords Enjoy Mot of George's Kindness. Daily Illini, July 14, 1992
"Read about Max Mermelstein (the 'godfather of cocaine') who co-authored the book, The Man Who Made it Snow. This sweetheart did not merely smuggle 56 tons of coke into our country; he also admitted in sworn testimony at the Noriega trial to involvement in a number of murders. He also bribed officials in three different Latin American countries. His possible sentence of 90 years was reduced to time served (2 years, 21 days), and the man walked in return for sticking it to Noriega. Mermelstein did forfeit $1 million in drug proceeds, but made much more that and also cashed in $700,000 in U.S. reward money, plus about that much more from WPP. Why did he get so much from WPP? Because you and I paid for all 17 members of his family and, as he testified, 'some of them had babies' and he's 'not sure where the number stands now.' I will never again claim that George Bush has no child-care policy. You couldn't prove it by looking at the Mermelsteins." Mermelstein was once described by his lawyer as 'just a nice Jewish guy who got into the wrong industry.' [Murphy, Kim. One Man's Word Against the World's Most Dangerous Cocaine Cartel. Los Angeles Times, July 6, 1987, pt. 1, p. 3] 

The Aaron Cohen Affair
. World Corporal Punishment Research.
This is an archive (1987-1997) of mass media materials about Aaron Cohen and his mother Lorraine Cohen, New Zealand citizens, caught smuggling drugs in Malaysia in 1985. Ms. Cohen ("a self-confessed prostitute and heroin addict") was originally sentenced to death for trafficking 140.76 grams of heroin. Aaron was sentenced to life in prison, and caning (public whipping), for possessing 34.14 grams. They were both pardoned in 1996.

Man Charged in Killing of Former Partner in Crime.
Montreal Gazette, May 8, 2001
"A Montreal man was charged and police are looking for five other people believed to be involved in a Notre Dame de Grace drug deal that went sour and ended with a homicide. Jacob Cohen-Shiri, 24, of Montreal, appeared briefly in court yesterday to face charges of second-degree murder and attempted murder ... The shooting took place one day after the third anniversary of a court date in which Cohen-Shiri, Khezravani and another man pleaded guilty to committing armed robbery. They had also been charged with conspiracy and weapons charges related to the incident."

Family Pleads for Life of Man Who Slew Parents. Forward, 9-8-2000
"A Great Neck, N.Y., man who confessed to the gruesome murder of his parents last year has been spared the death penalty thanks to the intervention of his relatives, the prosecutor said. Resolving a case that shone an unexpectedly sordid light on an affluent, largely Jewish suburb of New York City, Adam Roberts, 23, pleaded guilty last week to intentionally killing his mother, Ronna and his father Seth in November, and then setting fire to their opulent Woodstock country home to hide the crime. In a deal offered by the court, Roberts is expected to be sentenced to the maximum of 25 years to life in prison on October 6. Following Roberts's arrest last year, Ulster County District Attorney Donald A. Williams strongly considered seeking the death penalty, but decided not to because of the pleas of his relatives. 'This is a special and unique case, the most critical aspect of which is that the victims' families are unanimous in requesting leniency,' Mr. Williams said. Roberts's defense attorney, Howard Weiswasser, said that at the time of the murder, Roberts was suffering from an intense heroin withdrawal and an adverse reaction to a medication recently prescribed to detoxify him."

The 20th Century in Review (1980-89). San Diego Metropolitan
"Richard Silberman, San Diego mover and shaker, is busted by the FBI for laundering what he believed to be drug money. Sentenced to 46 months in prison, he and wife Susan Golding [the mayor of San Diego, and also Jewish] divorce."

Berezovsky's Daughter Arrested
. St. Petersburg Times [Russia], May 15, 1998 "Yelizaveta Berezovskaya, the daughter of [Jewish Russian] billionaire tycoon-turned-politician Boris Berezovsky, who was detained in St. Petersburg last Saturday for cocaine possession, may be released with only a fine despite carrying an amount large enough to be punishable by up to three years in jail, according to the city's police chief. Anatoly Ponidelko told Interfax that because Berezovskaya, 27, handed the cocaine to police voluntarily, she will avoid a jail sentence, in spite of strict new drug laws enacted in Russia just last month."

Sacrifical Lamb
. Village Voice, February 27, 2001
"Toward the end of a recent hearing in Brooklyn Supreme Court, Judge Plummer E. Lott asked Rabbi Yitzchak Fried, who like so many other drug defendants in New York was waiving his right to trial and pleading guilty in exchange for a lighter sentence, if he had any questions about the charges against him. The Brooklyn district attorney's office had charged Fried with selling a total of more than seven ounces of marijuana to a police informant on five occasions in Borough Park. Under the plea, Fried would not serve more than three years in prison ... The judge asked if he had sold the marijuana. Fried answered stonily, 'I sold it. But not for profit.' 'Well, you may be a bad businessman. . . . ' 'I was not doing business,' Fried said. 'It was medical marijuana.'"

Police Tell of Smashing Arms Ring. St. Petersburg Times, June 20, 2000
"A joint operation by U.S., Israeli and Colombian authorities may have thwarted one of Latin America's largest illegal arms deals, interrupting alleged plans to ship as many as 50,000 AK-47 automatic rifles, as well as other weapons, to armed groups in Colombia. Police in Colombia and Israel who infiltrated what they described as a $100-million arms smuggling ring say the deal was being underwritten with large sums of counterfeit dollars being manufactured in Colombia, as well as cash from cocaine sales. In coordinated operations police in Israel and Colombia made five arrests last month. Three Israelis were detained in Colombia as part of Operation God of Death, and large amounts of forged dollar notes were seized. Two more Israelis were arrested in Tel Aviv in an Israeli police investigation dubbed Operation Aging Boy ... There is a heavy Israeli presence in both Colombia and Ecuador. Ex-Israeli commandos and security experts are accused of having armed and trained the private armies of Colombia's notorious drug cartels. Israel has also provided official anti-terrorist training for the government of Colombia, as well as legal arms sales."

Israelis Nabbed in Huge Hamburg Ecstasy Bust,
Jerusalem Post, November 22, 2001
"German police on Tuesday arrested two Israelis unloading a truck that contained 1.5 million Ecstasy pills, capping a long drug investigation by German, Dutch, Australian, and Israeli police into international Ecstasy trafficking by Israelis. Police said the infiltration of the drug ring represents the largest and most sweeping action in recent history against international Ecstasy trafficking, in which Israelis are known to be deeply involved. German detectives encountered the suspects unloading a truck with Dutch license plates near Hamburg Port. A search turned up the pills hidden in containers of artificial flowers. The two Israeli suspects, Uzi Gutman, 55, from Elkana, and Yosef Raphaelovitz, 41, from Jerusalem, were arrested, in addition to their Dutch driver."

Daughter of Vidal Sassoon Dies of Drug Overdose After New Year Party,
Independent [London], January 5, 2002
"Catya Sassoon, the hard-living and hard-partying daughter of the celebrity hairdresser Vidal, died of a suspected drug overdose after a New Year's Eve party. Some would call it an almost predictable end to a life riddled with excess. A former actress and model, Ms Sassoon, 33, was born into a high-achieving world in a Los Angeles household ... Her natural good looks, however, proved perfect for the industry and shortly after joining the fashionable Prestige Agency she found success. Standing at 5ft 8ins tall and only eight stone in weight, she had a svelte figure said to be enhanced by cosmetic surgery. As many others have been, she was drawn into the lifestyle the modelling industry offered. By the time she was 21, she was allegedly hooked on drugs and a regular at detox clinics."

Accountant Faces Drug Sentence, Totally Jewish, November 26, 2001
"A chartered accountant, who played a key role in an international plot to launder millions of pounds worth of Israeli drug money, has been told by the judge to expect a jail sentence. Appearing in Southwark Crown Court, Philip Lyons, from Stanmore, pleaded guilty to conspiring with others to converting the proceeds of drug trafficking and criminal conduct between June 1 and March 7 this year. The dad-of-three, who was part of a gang that laundered the proceeds of numerous heroin and ecstasy deals and then sent the money to Spain, was remanded in custody .... Lyons will only be sentenced after the trial of Abraham Israel, 31, of Cadoxton Avenue, Stamford Hill, who pleaded not guilty to the same two charges and denies assisting another in the retention of the benefits of drug trafficking and criminal conduct."

A Country for Sale, Jerusalem Post, October 8, 2001
"Israel's growing reputation as a major money-laundering center is threatening to undermine its international financial standing ... In 1997 sources estimated