Japan Sentences Hasidic Israeli to 8 Years in Jail After Ecstasy Bust

The Israeli, who was a minor at the time of the crime, was arrested along with three other Satmar Hasidim in 2008.

Yair Ettinger
Yair Ettinger
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Yair Ettinger
Yair Ettinger

A Japanese court sentenced an Israeli to eight years in prison on Friday after convicting him of attempting to smuggle Ecstasy into the country, according to friends of his family.

The Israeli, who was a minor at the time of the crime, is the youngest of three yeshiva students arrested a year ago while attempting to enter Japan with suitcases containing large quantities of Ecstasy pills.

The other two Israelis, Yoel Goldstein and Yaakov Yosef Grinwald, are still waiting to face trial.

Goldstein, Grinwald and the minor were arrested in April 2008 at Tokyo's Narita International airport after arriving on a flight from Amsterdam. Customs officials found that they were carrying 90,000 Ecstasy pills after suspicions were raised over their large suitcases.

The affair has caused shockwaves in the Satmar Hasidic ultra-orthodox community to which the three men belong.

Two more Satmar Hasidim are suspected of being behind the operation: Haim Roter is believed to have fled to Europe and Ben Zion Miller was arrested in Israel in February.

Police believe Miller worked for an Israeli criminal organization that they suspect is connected to the Abergil family.

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