Police Arrest Four Suspected of Attempting to Smuggle Ecstasy

In two separate cases, police nabbed would-be smugglers who sought to bring thousands of pills into country.

Authorities have arrested four people who are alleged to have attempted to smuggle thousands of ecstasy pills into the country from Europe, law enforcement officials announced Thursday. Prosecutors will file an indictment against the four suspects in the coming days.

The first alleged incident occurred on November 22, when a package containing thousands of ecstasy pills arrived from Belgium. The box, which was addressed to an 81-year-old Italian tourist who at the time was staying as a guest at a Tiberias hotel, was received at a Haifa post office.

Police say customs officials were tipped off to the ecstasy shipment and began a covert investigation in tandem with police intelligence investigators from the national office and the Northern District.

Law enforcement officials say the Tiberias hotel manager, Eli Klugman, used the Italian tourist's passport in order to arrange for the shipment to be delivered under her name.

Klugman, 35, picked up the package at the Haifa post office, where undercover agents were waiting to arrest him. Police who interrogated Klugman then focused their attention on another suspect, Oren Mordechai, a 55-year-old reputed drug dealer from the Dead Sea area. Mordechai is alleged to have been involved in the smuggling plot.

Earlier this month, two released inmates from Givat Ada and Pardes Hana were arrested for attempted drug smuggling. Both men had earlier served time in prison for attempted murder, theft, and drug-related crimes.

Police say one of the suspects, Avi Nashalti, 40, flew to the Netherlands, where he sent a package containing thousands of ecstasy pills to Eliezer Goldberg, a Givat Ada resident.

Dutch authorities became aware of the contents of the package and proceeded to inform their Israeli counterparts, who requested that the delivery be allowed to proceed. Once the package arrived, police launched an undercover investigation which resulted in the arrest of both Nashalti and Goldberg.

Police say the quantities of ecstasy that Nashalti allegedly sent are worth upwards of NIS 3 million. Prosecutors are in the process of preparing indictments against the suspects.