Jews and drug money laundering (source questionable)

Like many other things on this site, this is not vetted information. Much of it is posted for future examination.


“Top Russian Mafiosi from Russia, Europe, and the United States, convened in Israel three times between 1993 and 1994 to decide upon their investment policies and to settle disputes.”
— Alan Block, 1996, p. 33]

“The element of trust is vital in the diamond trade, and religious orthodoxy, curiously enough, is often regarded as the ultimate guarantee of a Jew’s honesty.”
— Howard Sachar, 1985, p. 47]

“I can’t believe it. A rabbi stole my money. A rabbi stole my money.”

— comments of prominent Jewish American mobster Joseph
“Doc” Stacher, arrested over the years for “atrocious assault
and battery, robbery, burglary, larceny, bootlegging, hijacking
and murder,” then an Israeli citizen after being deported from
America in 1965. These comments were made upon winning a
lawsuit after being swindled by Rabbi Menachem Porush of the
ultra-Orthodox Agudat Israel Party. [ROCKAWAY, R., 1993,
p. 116-117)


Jews in America have been prominent in the narcotics underworld since the early
twentieth century. As Rich Cohen notes:

“The first major American drug dealer was probably Arnold Rothstein
… [COHEN, R., 1999, p. 131] … In the mid-nineteenth century, when
the government started to ban certain narcotics, drugs were smuggled
in from Europe and the Far East. But it was a slapdash affair — not a
business. Rothstein changed all that. He saw Repeal coming and knew
drugs could fill the void left by alcohol … So in the late [19] twenties
Rothstein retooled a mechanism he had built to carry booze. It would
now carry, among other things, heroin and cocaine … [It became] a
blueprint for smuggling drugs into America.” [COHEN, R., p. 132]

“By 1926,” notes Israeli scholar Robert Rockaway,

“[Rothstein] was allegedly the overlord of the foreign narcotics trade
in America. Beginning with Rothstein, American Jewish underworld
figures became prominently involved in smuggling and distributing
opium and opiates in the United States. During the 1920s and 1930s
Jews competed with Italians for dominance of the trade. The Italian-
American’s racketeering predominated during World War II. This
was because of the Nazis. When the Germans began to exterminate
European Jewry, they also destroyed the Jewish criminals who
supplied American distributors.” [ROCKAWAY, R., 1993, p. 8]

Rothstein’s right-hand man was Louis Lepke, who took over the drug empire when his boss died in 1928. In the 1930s associate Yasha Katzenberg journeyed to Shanghai, China, contacted underworld figures there, and “taught them how to make heroin.” “In the last thirties,” says Cohen, “when officials at last figured out what Katzenberg was up to, the League of Nations declared him an international menace. A few years later Yasha was indicted, along with Lepke and twenty-eight others, for violation of narcotics laws.” [COHEN, R., p. 133-134] In the late 1940s, there were still “dozens of Jewish drug dealers roaming New York City, the remnants of Rothstein’s machine.” [COHEN, p. 139] Particularly noteworthy were Solly Gelb, Solly Gordon, Tudi Schoenfeld, Artie West, Niggy Rutkin, Harry Koch, Sam Haas, Moe Taubman and
Harry Hechinger. Tolly Greenberg even invented a machine to turn liquid heroin into pill form.
[COHEN, p. 139-140] Harry Strauss, “Philadelphia’s gambling czar,” later became involved in smuggling “heroin into the United States from France. He reportedly earned $20 million a year from the trade.” [ROCKAWAY, R., 1993, p. 33-34]

Today’s drug dealing is probably the world’s most profitable crime; profit margins can range from 200% for cocaine to 1,200% for heroin. The Colombian international drug cartel, “Kali,” which monopolizes the trade in Los Angeles and Miami, is estimated to distribute over 80% of the world’s cocaine and a third of its heroin. Illegal drug syndicates are estimated to take in about $25 billion a year in the United States alone. In 1998, 59 tons of cocaine and 770 pounds of heroin were confiscated by American police authorities.

Little known — and little publicized — in America, in recent years the Jewish “Russian mafia,” and Orthodox religious and Israeli business networks with deep links to drug cartels, have been instrumental in maintaining the United States drug problem. Many of these criminals are particularly pious Jews, and a number of Orthodox Jewish religious institutions have been used for the laundering of literally hundreds of millions of dollars in drug money in (particularly) New York City. (Money laundering here refers to the task of getting huge sums of money that were paid for drugs, originally in small bills, into a form of assets that has the appearance of legality.) In 1994 Israeli journalist Ben Kapit exposed this story of Jewish culpability and corruption in America’s growing drug problem; he wrote in Hebrew, to an Israeli audience, in the newspaper Ma’ariv.

American Jews and Israelis dominate the jewelry and precious stones and metals trade in Manhattan, mostly located in the 47th Street area. “75-80% of the active traders on the street are Jews,” said Kapit, “A large part of them are very pious Orthodox Jews, mainly Hassids. There is also a respectable representation of Jews from Iran and Syria, usually also very pious … the place is also the biggest launderer for drug money in the United States.” [KAPIT, p. 2]

Daily transactions of huge sums of money — including interstate and international — is part of the diamond business (as is backroom secrecy, based on “personal acquaintance and trust,” [KAPIT, p. 2]; boxes, large packages, and armored trucks come and go regularly under heavy security. All this provides a convenient front for the laundering of massive amounts of drug money, most of it in $10 and $20 bills. “One of the most popularly successful ways to launder money,” notes Kapit, “is through Jewish religious institutions, such as yeshivas and synagogues. Since the majority of the 47th Street gold and diamond merchants are religious Jews, the process is made easier.” [KAPIT, p. 4]

“Today,” noted Newsweek in 1977, “the Japanese give diamond engagement rings nearly as often as American, and wealthy Arabs who once eschewed diamonds for the more colorful stones, have become insatiable diamond buyers … Little wonder, then, that tampering robberies and even murders have come to haunt the business, not only along West 47th Street in New York — where the mostly Jewish dealers see an ‘Israeli mafia’ behind the murder last month of one of their numbers — but the world’s other diamond centers as well.” [ATLAS, p. 95] “The robberies that plague the diamond districts of New York and Tel Aviv,” notes David Koskoff, “are almost always perpetrated by people from within the diamond community.” [KOSKOFF, p. 191]
In 1990, the Jerusalem Post, paraphrasing the Los Angeles County Sheriff, Sherman Block (also Jewish), noted that “Los Angeles’ small but potent ‘Israeli mafia’ has spread across America, graduating in the last two decades from extorting poor Jews — often concentration camp survivors — to major drug-dealing and fraud schemes against the rich … Cocaine is the favored product of the mafia’s drug dealing, and their clients tend to be affluent people who demand the highest quality.” [DERFNER, 9-9-90, ONLINE]

U.S. Federal agents have identified, says Kapit, what it calls “the Cocaine Triangle. Its sides are: Colombian drug barons, Israeli-Jewish money launderers, and Jewish-Russian mafiosos … You need only look at the list of arrests and indictments of the past three years in order to grasp the enormous scope of Israeli involvement in the field.” [KAPIT, p. 3] There are numerous murky criminal interfaces between these Israeli drug dealers, the so-called “Russian” mafia, and some of the most pious Jewish Orthodox religious circles. The link between Israeli weapons dealing and South American underworld organizations is also deep. In 1988, for example, an Israeli paramilitary training company called “Spearhead,” directed by a former senior army officer, Yair Klein, was hired to train members of a drug cartel in Colombia.
Klein was eventually fined all of $13,000 by Israeli authorities for “exporting defense know-how not covered in his permit.” [HIRSCHBERG, p. 13] In 1990 the Jewish Week reported that “three United States officials were in Israel … investigating possible Israeli connections to the Colombian drug cartel” and that earlier NBC had reported that “Israeli reserve officers…. [were providing] military training to drug-cartel gunmen.” [GOLBERG, A, p. 51]

An associate of Klein, Israeli Arik Afek, known publicly as a “flower importer,” was found dead in the trunk of a car at the Miami airport in 1990. The Washington Post noted that

“Afek’s name first surfaced last summer when NBC News broadcast film
allegedly showing foreign mercenaries training Medellin cartel gunmen in
ambush assassinations and other paramilitary activities.” [ISIKOFF, p.

Still, in May 2000, Colombian authorities busted four Israelis and one Colombian citizen in an “arms trafficking ring” that sought to funnel weapons into the country. [XINHUA GENERAL NEWS SERVICE, 5-27-2000] Itzik Richter, Ofer Zismanovich, David Birnbaum and Yaron Cohen with known links to the Cali drug cartel, were arrested, also on charges of a scheme to counterfeit dollars. A few weeks earlier another Israeli, Amos Shimoni, had been arrested in Panama on similar charges. [KRAU, 5-29-2000]

“Among the recent items of news that failed to make more than passing mention,” noted R. T. Naylor in 1989, “… is the scandal over the chummy relations senior members of Israel’s military maintain with both the Colombian cocaine barons and their Panamanian affiliate, General Manual Noreiga.” [TAYLOR, p. 136] Noreiga’s alleged “right hand man” was a Mossad agent, Mikhail Harari. In 1988 the Jewish Week reported that “[U.S.] Senate investigations have turned up information linking Panama’s recently indicted military strongman, General Manuel Antonio Noreiga, to the Mossad, Israel’s external intelligence agency.” [WAGMAN, p. 5]
Jose I. Blandon, a former influential Noreiga adviser and Panamanian counsel in New York, told Congress that Michael Harrari, “described as a former Israeli army general who later worked for Mossad,” lived in close contact with Noreiga for 5-7 years and trained “Noreiga’s private guard — a unit separate from the Panamanian army. Guard officers report to Noreiga through Harari.” [WAGMAN, p. 5] Brandon also noted that “Harrari often acts as a middleman in weapons purchases that Noreiga makes in Europe,” and that “when Noreiga travels in Europe, Harari arranges for his protection by Israeli military intelligence and Mossad personnel.”
“Investigators believe Panama,” reported the Jewish Week, “a kind of Switzerland of the Caribbean, has become a center of Israeli financial dealings and for so-called front companies — corporate shells operating for secret owners, in this case the Israeli government. Investigators believe another of Harari’s functions is to oversee bank accounts and shell companies … Panama [functions] … as a haven for shadowy financial transactions.” [WAGMAN, p. 5] Secret reports were also in Noreiga’s possession of various United States politicians, from Senators Edward Kennedy to Jesse Helms; “Some [Senate investigators] speculate,” said the Jewish Week, “the files may have come to Noreiga through Harari.” [WAGMAN, p. 5]

In 1985, Israeli Shmuel Targan, who used a fake shoe store in New York City as the front for his drug operation, was arrested for cocaine and heroin smuggling. Rudolph Giuliani, then the U.S. District Attorney for Southern New York, noted that Taragan’s store “was one of a 100 Israeli-operated legitimate businesses in the city that disguised illegal operations.”
[FISHER, A.] In 1986 five Israelis were arrested in New York for a million-dollar-a-week heroin and cocaine operation. In 1988 five more Israelis were busted in Boston for drug running by the FBI. Also in 1988, in Los Angeles, Israelis Abraham Zarchia and Yitzhak Edvi received ten year prison sentences for drug trafficking — $22 million over a five month period. [HUNTER, LINK, p. 4, 6, 7]

In 1985, Max Mermelstein, described by his lawyer as “just a nice Jewish guy who got into the wrong industry,” [MURPHY, pt. 1, p. 3] became a government witness against a number of former accomplices in Colombia’s international Medellin drug cartel. Over seven years, Mermelstein was himself responsible for the smuggling of 55 tons of cocaine, worth $360 million, into the United States. (Curiously, the town of Medellin was actually founded by Spanish Jews in 1616).

Elsewhere, a pioneer in the laundering of Colombian drug money (particularly that from marijuana and cocaine) was Isaac Kattan-Kassin, son of a Sephardic Jewish family that had fled Hitler’s Germany in the 1930s. In the late 1970s, over $100 million a year of the tainted bills passed through his family’s currency exchange business in Cali, Colombia, although Kattan established business offices in New York and Miami, where he spent most of his time. In 1977, he “went to work full time for several cocaine organizations” [POWIS, p. 34] and he eventually became known as “the most famous of the money launderers of this period.” [POWIS,
p. 32] Another prominent drug money launderer in this era was Beno Ghitis, who also headed a Colombian currency exchange business founded by his father, Alter. Victor Eisenstein was also a crucial partner in the drug money ring, and Abel Holtz, president of Capital Bank in Miami, was a participant as the American depository. [POWIS, p. 74]

In 1993 an FBI sting operation arrested an Israeli in New York City, Zion Ya’akov
Eveheim, who had both Israeli and Colombian citizenship. In less than a year he and his associates laundered $22.5 million in drug money through a fake corporation called Prism. Other Israelis arrested with him were Raymond Shoshanna, Daniella Levi, Binyamin Hazon, Meir Ochayan, and Alex Ajami. “Many other suspects,” says Kapit, “escaped to Israel.” [KAPIT, p. 3]
One of the interviewers in Hebrew for the FBI was a Jewish New Jersey resident, Neil Elefant. He was disturbed to discover an Israeli friend in trouble. He went to his rabbi, Elazar Teitz, who recommended “that it was his religious duty to warn [Elefant’s Jewish friend].” Elefant did so, and upon his own exposure for aiding a drug criminal to escape, Elefant claimed he did it because of “the zealousness, almost approaching anti-Semitism, which he found among the FBI agents trying to involve Israel in drug affairs.” [KAPIT, p. 3] Among those Israelis whoescaped, thanks to Elefant’s warning, were Adi Tal, David Va’anunu, Yishai Ya’anunu, and Ya’akov Cohen. “Most of them,” says Kapit, “came out of the affair with a lot of money they took to Israel. The Americans know that the chances of any of them being extradited to the
United States are close to nil.” [KAPIT, p. 4]

In another drug laundering case, in 1990 Aharon Sharir, “undoubtedly the major Israeli launderer,” in America [KAPIT, p. 5] was busted; he subsequently confessed to laundering $200 million. Sharir’s testimony led to 35 other Jewish launderers, including American Stephan Scorkin, “the biggest laundering shark in the history of the United States.” Scorkin was accused of laundering $300 million. Sharir’s partner, Lihu Ichilov, fled back to Israel. [KAPIT, p. 6] “Even with automatic money counting machines,” testified Sharir, “it was difficult to count the money. It arrived in bills of five, ten, and twenty dollars. The bills, most of which had been to sniff cocaine, had a strong odor of coke. A real stink. My employees could not stand it. Every 2-3 hours they had to take a break, go out for some fresh air, so as not to get high.” [KAPIT, p. 5]

Another Israeli drug laundering ring, led by Adi Tal, a former El-Al airline security guard, was broken up by American authorities in 1988. Eleven members were arrested. “An important member of Tal’s laundering ring,” notes Kapit, “was Rabbi Shalom Levitin, a Lubavitch Hassid, head of the Chabad branch in Seattle. It is assumed that all the considerable political power of these Hassids were exerted in favor of that laundering ring.”
[KAPIT, p. 4] “I was motivated by my desire to help my brethren in need,” explained Rabbi Levitin, “with funds being transferred to Israel.” “People in the community know that he is only concerned about helping Jewish people,” said Mark Goldberg, President of Congregation Shareiev Telfilah-Lubavitch.” [Degginger, C., p. 12] Levitin got off easy with a $10,000 fine and a 30-day sentence in a half-way house.

In 1984 the oldest yeshiva [Jewish Orthodox religious studies center] in New York City, Tifereth Yerushalayim, was also busted for drug laundering. “The yeshiva’s representative,” says Kapit, “was a very pious Hassid, Mendel Goldenberger, who daily received cash … and deposited the money in the yeshiva’s account … Nine persons were convicted in the affair, including Rabbi Israel Eidelman, Vice President of the yeshiva, and some of its dignitaries.”
[KAPIT, p. 4] “Laundering money is extremely beneficial to the yeshivas and other Jewish institutions,” Kapit was told, “… The attitude of the pious Jewish community … is drugs are sold anyway. As long as it does not harm our community and only does good for it, it doesn’t matter if we benefit from drug trade.” [KAPIT, p. 5]

In 1990 another rabbi, Yosef Crozer, was arrested by FBI agents; he had in his possession prayer books, five passports, and $280,000 in cash in the trunk of his car.” [KAPIT, p. 1] In another 1990 case, a group of Hassids in the Orthodox community of Williamsburg, New York, was investigated for drug laundering operations. The accused included Naftali, Miklosh, Yitzhak, and Ya’akov Shlesinger, and Milton Jacoby. Money was laundered “on checks drawn from the account of Camp Yereim (Camp of the Pious) — a Hassidic summer camp in the Catskills.”

[KAPIT, p. 5] The next year, in an unrelated case, a 38 year old Israeli — Uri Mizraci — was murdered in Manhattan; investigators suspected he was smuggling hashish and heroin into the United States. He was also suspected of being a “hired executioner” from an Israeli organized crime group. [JAMES, p. B4] Earlier, in 1986, Daniel Whitman and “cocaine dealer Robert Cohen were arrested for conspiring to murder Raymond Cohen, no relation to Robert, allegedly to keep him from testifying in [a National Football League] ticket scalping investigation.” [MOLDEA, 1989, p. 396] In 2001, Israel drug dealer Alen Amor, living in the U.S. on a tourist visa, was arrested in Los Angeles. Police found 30 pounds of marijuana at his home, as well as cocaine
and heroin. [LOS ANGELES TIMES, 10-17-01, p. B5

And, as Alan Block notes,

“In the late 1980s and early 1990s, [Jewish] Russian-émigré Vladimir
Beigelman, of Brooklyn, N.Y., was known to be involved in cocaine
trafficking with the Cali cartel. On December 2, 1993, Beigelman was
fatally shot in the face while exiting a van in Queens, N.Y. Witnesses
described the assailants as two Hispanics. Evidence indicates
Beigelman was murdered in a dispute over a large quantity of
missing cocaine.” [BLOCK, A., 1996, p. 193]

Further indictments against “Russian” immigrant criminals cited by Block include David Podlog and Alexander Moysif, “on charges of distributing heroin and cocaine,” “four Russian émigrés … indicted for the manufacture of crack cocaine vials at factories in New Jersey and Pennsylvania,” and various heroin smuggling charges against Boris Nayfield, Shalva Ukleba, Alexander Mikhailov, Simon Elishakov, and Valery Krutiyl. [BLOCK, A., 1996, p. 193-194]

In 1994 still another Hasidic rabbi, an especially prominent one, Abraham Low, of the Mogen Abraham synagogue in Los Angeles, was arrested with a Jewish businessman, Alan Weston, and an African-American woman, Charlesetta Brown, on charges of a drug laundering project worth about $2 million. It involved elements of the usual scenario: Hasidic diamond dealers in New York City and the bank accounts for Orthodox Jewish religious charities. [DE LAMA, 1, 10]
“The cash would be delivered to Hasidic diamond dealers known to the rabbi.” [MALNIC, A16] Brown also offered to sell an undercover FBI agent “assault rifles, pistols, bullet proof vests, and knives — “any quantity … on a regular basis.” [MALNIC, A16] When the FBI received the tip about Rabbi Low’s drug laundering activities, he was already under investigation in a $189 million “check kiting” scheme and a “promissory note scheme in which the Bank of America might lose $70 million.” [WEINSTEIN, B9]

A request was made by Low’s lawyers to the court to dismiss the charges because of alleged “outrageous government misconduct” by an FBI investigator and “anti-Semitism.” Efforts to have the case dismissed against Low included the accusation that an FBI agent cursed at one of the rabbi’s associates and that an FBI informer had spoken an “anti-Semitic slur” to Low and “declared that the Torah was a piece of toilet paper.” [WEINSTEIN, B9] The prosecutor in the case argued that the claim that Rabbi Low “had been singled out because he is Jewish is a smokescreen to divert attention from his lawbreaking.” [WEINSTEIN, B11]

The rabbi was subsequently convicted of a felony: good for five years in prison. “Low,” noted Israeli journalist Kapit, “is married to the niece of the Satmar [Hasidic sect] Rabbi, Moshe Teitelbaum, who wields enormous political power in New York state.” [KAPIT, p. 5] (Three years earlier, another pious Hasidic Teitelbaum — Hanoch — was sentenced in Rockland County, New York, to 20-months to five years in prison for stealing $1 million in mortgages, loans, and welfare payments). [NYT, 12-6-91] From prison, Low later filed a law suit, demanding special privileges, including housing with other Jews. Rabbi Low “also wanted the prison to buy him a $30,000 Torah, about 200 religious texts, and to build a separate prayer room with a special sink.” [HOUSTON] Incredibly, the government agreed to a settlement in which it paid $270,000 in Low attorney fees, as well as to let him leave prison for ten days on Passover, and to spend further time in a half-way house for the “High Holy Days.” [HOUSTON]

No wonder that in 1997 the London Observer ran an article about American prison consultants who offer “advice to nervous white-collar criminals on how to survive a spell in the slammer.” Among the advice for better prison treatment is “pretend to be Jewish.” [HELMORE, p. 17]

Another example of this kind of special treatment was the newsworthy 1996 case of Sholam Weiss, an ultra-Orthodox Jew, who was serving a seven-month prison term. He “conned his jailers into giving him permission to spend Passover with his family, then took off for a high-rolling trip to an Atlantic City casino.” [SMITH, G., 5-22-96, p. 24] In 1998 Neil Lederman (sentenced to prison for 11 months for writing a bad $60,000 check) made Washington DC-area news for the results of his request for kosher food from his jailers. To save the hassle of providing it, Lederman was released from jail and allowed “detention” in his home. Earlier, jail officials had even “allowed him to go to work during the day. At night, he returned to the jail.” [JACKMAN, T., 10-8-98, p. B12]

In 1994, New York state began offering Jews “hot kosher meals” at a cost 30% higher than all other inmate meals. In 1997 the Seattle Post-Intelligencer also noted that “Oregon authorities are expecting rampant conversion to Judaism in the state prison system, thanks to a judge’s ruling that a convicted murderer [Daniel Lee Holterman] must be served kosher meals.” These meals would cost the prison $4-6 apiece, whereas regular inmate meals cost $1. In Colorado, in 2000 Jewish prisoners Charles Beerheide, Sheldon Pearlman, and Allen Isaac Fistell won their lawsuit “for kosher meals to Jewish prisoners at no charge.” [ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 3-12-94, p. A19; SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER, 10-1-97, p. C2; ASSOCIATED PRESS, 1-29-2000]

In 2001, a convicted murderer and convert to Orthodox Judaism, Hbrandon Lee Flagner, won the right to sue the state of Ohio. His grievance was that the prison had forced him to conform to its rules and cut his beard and sidelocks. “Ohio leaders argued that the case could provoke thousands of lawsuits … Attorneys for [20] states said if exemptions are allowed ‘the ability of prison officials to maintain security will inevitably falter, thereby placing the safety and welfare of prison staff, inmates, and the general public at risk.'” [HOLLAND, G., 12-10-01]

In June 2000, in Las Vegas, after numerous complaints from a car-packed neighborhood, city officials made nine trips over a three-month period to a private residence used by Orthodox Jews for Saturday religious services. Orthodox rabbi Moshe Omer (an Israeli with an “English name” of Michael Essence) was handcuffed and arrested after refusing to sign a zoning violation citation. The rabbi explained that, under Jewish Orthodox law, he couldn’t work on Saturday — and this included signing a piece of paper. Nor could he ride in a car, but he was driven by an officer to jail anyway. The Jewish mayor of Las Vegas, Oscar Goodman, later offered a formal apology for the incident. The rabbi in turn declared that “the way he was treated brought images of Nazis and the Holocaust to mind.” [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 6-22-2000]

Charged with the lead role in an alleged scheme that skimmed $1 million from a synagogue bingo series, Stanley Aronson described the view of his rabbi being led by police back to the (Akron, Ohio-area) synagogue “reminiscent of Europe in 1938.” Ten people were indicted on a total of 21 counts, but a bungled investigation left “six defendants plead[ing] to a string of minor misdemeanors.” Aronson and his wife then sued the city of Akron for $30 million.
[EWINGER, J., 2-20-94, p. 1B; EWINGER, J., 2-26-94, p. 4B]

It is also not bad to be a Jewish, particularly a “pious” one, if one is a criminal seeking to avoid getting caught. In January 2000, the Village Voice noted the difficulties local police faced in penetrating an ultra-Orthodox community to bring a murderer to justice. Jacob Blum, son of a local rabbi, was being sought for bludgeoning to death his grandmother’s 61-year old part-time (non-Jewish immigrant Polish) cleaning lady. As a doctor noted, “The victim was missing a large part of her brain.” “[Police] precinct sources,” reported the Voice, “say it is rare for cases [against ultra-Orthodox hasids] to end in arrests. One cop bitterly recalled an incident in which a young hasidic driver who had accidentally run over an elderly black woman was not even cited for leaving the scene of an accident. ‘He did not summon an ambulance or police and left the scene because he wanted to get home in time for Sabbath,’ the source alleged.” [NOEL, P., 1-18-2000, p. 45]

In yet another drug case, an Orthodox Jew (a mashgiah: “a religious officer who sees that kosher restaurants maintain their Jewish dietary codes”), David Bright, was arrested at New York’s La Guardia airport in 1996 with a briefcase containing $200,000 in cash. He was arrested and accused of laundering $2 million for drug cartels. Upon release, he “disappeared.” [GROSSMAN, p. 1] At the same time, Bright’s brother, another Orthodox rabbi — Alan Bright — also disappeared. This second Bright, notes the Chicago Tribune, “was a rabbi in Medellin, Colombia — a South American city that is home to the notorious Medellin drug cartel.” [GROSSMAN, p. 18]

In 1994, in Montreal, Canada, Rabbi Meyer Krentzman, a former director of the Canadian Zionist Federation, a former director of the Jewish National Fund of Montreal, and a former director of the Jewish Educational Council, was arrested for selling heroin and cocaine to an undercover police officer. An associate, Andor Galandauer, a voluntary official at the Beth Zion Congregation synagogue, was also arrested; Galandauer’s past included activism with the Jewish Defense League. [FISHKOFF, p. 1] “As recently as the fall of 1992, Krentzman was hired to preside over the synagogue’s auxiliary service during the High Holidays, Rosh Hoshannah and
Yom Kippur. Galandauer acts in a voluntary capacity as the synagogue’s gabbai — the person who chooses people for honors during services.” [BLOCK, I., p. A3]

In 1999, another rabbi, Eli Gottesman, this one in Montreal, was charged with smuggling cocaine and marijuana into a federal prison where he served Jewish inmates. In 1988 he was named “chaplain of the year” by the New York Board of Rabbis. He has dual citizenship and is the author of Who’s Who in Canadian Jewry. Rabbi Gottesman “had been under investigation for several months by prison officials, as well as the Justice Department, the FBI, and state police.” [THE GAZETTE, MONTREAL, p. A4] He eventually got off easy, pleading guilty only to a fraud charge and getting less than a year of prison time. [AP, 4-7-99]

In 1990, Linda Leary, a former local chapter president of the National Council of Jewish Women, was extradited from her “luxurious lifestyle” in Austria to stand trial in Indianapolis with her two sons — Paul and Richard Heilbrun, and 31 others — for running a smuggling ring which brought at least 250,000 pounds of marijuana into America. Leary “pleaded guilty to 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.” [UPI, 2-22-90]

In Michigan, in 1998 Mindy Brass, described by an Oakland County prosecutor as “a
manipulator and a major drug dealer” was trying to get out of prison with claims of a bad heart. She had been arrested in 1992 with more than a pound of cocaine. [MCCLEAR, J., 7-2-98, p. C4] And in 1995, Jewish drug addict Alan Hurwitz, described by the Detroit News as a once “respectable Michigan proponent of social justice and educational reform,” and formerly the Deputy Director of the Peace Corps in Kenya, was arrested as “the notorious Zombie Bandit,” a man who had robbed 18 Midwestern banks. [MARTELLE, S., 8-1-95]

In 1989 Jack Myers (a former son-in-law of Lew Wasserman, the mogul of major Hollywood agency/studio MCA) was convicted of being a courier in a drug money laundering network. As Dennis McDougal notes:

“In exchange for three years probation, Myers testified against
[California] Governor Jerry Brown’s Chief of Staff Richard Silberman
[also Jewish], the millionaire husband of San Diego County Susan
Golding. Silberman was sentenced to forty-six months in federal prison
and fined $50,000 for directing a scheme to launder $300,000 that an
undercover FBI agent identified as the profits of Colombian cocaine
dealing.” [MCDOUGAL, p. 523]

In 1996 the Canadian ambassador to Israel, David Berger, was presented evidence that a Canadian embassy official in Tel Aviv, Douglas Wardle, was using diplomatic mail to smuggle Colombian cocaine. Two Israelis — Meir Hazor and Ya’acov Sternheim — were also arrested in the case. [CANADIAN JEWISH NEWS]

A news item in October 1999 noted the breakup of an international ring specializing in the illegal drug “ecstasy.” Israeli police announced that 49 suspects around the world had been detained; 24 were Israelis, most of the others were ultra-Orthodox Jewish Americans. [KILEY, S.] The Detroit Free Press noted that “ultra-Orthodox Jews served as couriers for a major international drug ring that operated in the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Israel, and the United States … The syndicate, led by two Israelis living in Europe, was one of the world’s largest producers of the synthetic drug ecstasy.” [DET FR PRESS, 10-13-99, p. 59] The ring circulated tons of drugs, including cocaine and heroin. [DUDKEVITCH, M., p. 1] A few months earlier, “seven men were indicted in Brooklyn for allegedly operating an international
drug ring that relied on Hasidic couriers dressed in black hats, dark suits, and side curls.”
[HAYS, T., 7-23-99, p. A8] The key six Israelis arrested in this Ecstasy ring included Igal Malka, Yariv Azulay, Oshri Ganchrski, Eyal Levy, Robert Levy, and Oshri Amar. They were caught with 300,000 tablets on-hand, worth an estimated $7.5 million; 100,000 pills a week were funneled by the gang into the New York metropolitan area. [HENRY, M., 2-25-2000, p. A1]

As a Miami newspaper noted:

“In its June 1999 Drug Intelligence brief about Ecstasy, the DEA
[Drug Enforcement Administration] states that Israeli organized
crime syndicates (some composed of Russian-Jewish immigrants
to Israel who maintain ties to Russian mobsters) are the ‘primary’
source of Ecstasy for distribution in the United States.”
[KISSELL, T., 9-30-99]

The next year, in 2000, 25 people (including Las Vegas strippers and cocktail waitresses) were arrested in another Ecstasy drug ring, which smuggled the drugs from Paris into the United States. This group was headed by Jacob Orgad, an Israeli living in Los Angeles. “His people seemed to have a presence in every major city where Ecstasy is the rage,” noted U.S. Customs investigating agent Fred Walsh. [JERUSALEM POST, 6-15-2000, p. 5] “Prosecutors,” noted the New York Post, “charge Jacob Orgad, 45, sold hundreds of thousands of pills to Israeli national Ilan Zarger.” [FRANCESCANI, C., 6-28-01] The same year the Associated Press noted the results of a survey by Partnership for a Drug-free America which found, the “use of ecstasy…
has doubled among [American] teens since 1995 … One in 10 teens had experimented with the drug.” [MCSHANE, L., 11-27-2000, p. 3A]

In 2001, it was reported that

“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 reported 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 smuggled into the United States, according to the DEA.” [ASSOCIATED PRESS/HAARETZ, 5-23-01]

The New York Post noted that Tuito hired strippers to ferry drugs to America from Europe:

“Scores of of nude dancers from across the country were recurited as couriers in
Tuito’s ecstasy-smuggling army … 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 [also Jewish: Machloof Ben-Chitrit]
allegedly ferrying more than 36 pounds of pills from Paris in his luggage.”
[FRANCESCANI, C., 5-5-01]

In July, 20001, yet two more Israeli ecstasy kingpins were busted in America. David Roash and Israel Ashkenazi were arrested “in Manhattan on drug possesion charges after police seized more than a million Ecstasy tablets, the largest drug bust in New York City history.”
[Emphasis added] The pills weighed 450 pounds and had a street value of $40 million. [RADLER, M., 7-20-2001] In November 2001, German police “arrested two Israelis [Uzi Gutman and Yosef Raphaelovitz] unloading a truck that contained 1.5 milion Ecstasy pills, capping a long drug investigation by German, Dutch, Australian, and Israeli police into international Ecstasy trafficking by Israelis.” [SOMMER, A., 1-22-01]

Marijuana? In the 1990s Howard Marks (NOTE: a Jewish identity here is very speculative. Marks, from a Welsh mining town, has a daughter, Myfanwy, who lives in Israel) [CAMPBELL, D., 4-26-95, p. 12] was released from an Indiana prison after only serving seven years of a 25-sentence for his role as a major international drug provider. “At the height of his smuggling operation,” noted a British newspaper, “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.” He is believed to have successfully shipped about $2 billion-worth of cannabis into the United States in Britain from a variety of countries, including Lebanon, Afghanistan, Columbia, Pakistan, Thailand, and Vietnam. [DENING, P., 9-7-96, p. suppl. 1] Marks once had “43 aliases and 25 companies worldwide as a cover for his drug empire.” [AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE, 5-4-99]

In 2000, after jumping a $1 million bail in 1988, Steven Wolosky and Mark Gayer were captured and arrested. Both men were on the Justice Department’s 15 Most Wanted Men list. “The Marshal’s office considered these two men to be two of the most wanted people in the country,” said the government investigator and Supervisory Inspector Andre LaBier, “They were major international maritime narcotics traffickers.” The two fugitives were responsible for the importation of over 400,000 pounds of marijuana and hashish into America. Upon bail, the Wolosky and Gayer tried to fake their deaths with a fabricated boating accident. “When the government questioned why Wolosky’s mother had never held funeral services for her son,” noted one newspaper, “the woman’s attorney submitted a declaration from her rabbi suggesting it would be contrary to Jewish faith to hold services without a body.” [MINTZ, H., 3-9-93, p. 3; HAYWARD, M., 6-10-2000, p. A4; WALLACE, B., 6-22-2000, p. A1]

Elsewhere, San Francisco-based Steven Kalish (alias “Frank Brown”) was a partner in Panama strongman Manuel Noriega’s 1980s drug empire. [DINGES, 1990, p. 11-12] In 1984, he had “grossed $20 million from drug smuggling in the past year.” [DINGES, 1990, p. 14] Kalish, notes John Dinges,

“had started selling grass in the sixties at his high school in Bellaire, Texas, a
Houston suburb. By 1983 he had a Ferrari, a BMW, a Chevy Blazer and more
money than he could handle. That summer he and his partners had arranged
the largest marijuana-smuggling operation of their careers. An oceangoing tug
named the Bulldog pushed a refrigerated barge loaded with 280,000 pounds of
marijuana from Colombia on a circuitous route that ended in Louisiana … Kalish
was in charge of the logistics of the operation, which involved more than one
hundred people. That operation netted $15 million to $20 million; other smaller
deals that summer brought in another $15 million. The money had stacking up
in Kalish’s lakeside house on St. Charlotte Drive in Tampa.” [DINGES, J.,
1990, p. 156]

Kadish even became involved in Panama’s politics, economically supporting a presidential candidate he expected would be helpful to Kadish’s drug networking. [DINGES, J., 1990, p. 170]

In 1987, a New Zealand citizen, Lorraine Cohen, was sentenced to death in Malaysia for “trafficking in 140.76 grams of heroin.” Her son, Aaron was sentenced to life imprisonment for 34.14 grams. International human rights groups protested the harsh sentences and after a few years in prison, they were both released. [SHUIB, S., 9-2-87]

In 1997, Agence France Presse noted a now common pattern of Jews, diamonds, and drugs in

“The Flemish city of Antwerp has lost some of its sparkle as the world’s
diamond capital after a series of financial scandals linked the trade here
with the murky underworld of drugs and mafia. The scandal came to
light after one of the diamond merchants’ most reputed banks, the Max
Fischer, went bust last January … amid allegations of fraud and
laundering of drug money.” [PINON]

Others caught in the scams included three executives at United Diamonds, four directors of a company called EetH, and a “Lebanese” diamond dealer. “The spate of scandals,” noted the Presse, “fueled persistent rumors that the Russian mafia had infiltrated Antwerp.” [PINON]
“The rumors are mixing up unrelated events in a way that could be damaging to the diamond sector,” insisted an Antwerp lawyer (who requested anonymity), “… If this climate persists [diamond dealers] could be tempted by the advantage offered by the Tel Aviv market [and leave Belgium].” [PINON]

As Guy Dunn, a scholar on organized crime, notes:

“Antwerp’s port has a reputation for being a major smuggling base. The
city’s diamond dealers, many of them Russian Jews, have links to many
Russian gangs and are allegedly among the world’s most experienced
in the art of laundering money and dodging taxes. Several Russian
groups have been uncovered recently, among them a group head by
Boris N. [Nayfield?], a leading mafia boss, who was charged with
racketeering, drug trafficking, conspiracy to murder, and association
with Russian Jewish criminal groups. In 1989-93 N’s group was
centered on companies owned by Antwerp Russians, as well as
affiliates in Moscow, Berlin, Odessa, and Warsaw. He was heavily
involved in laundering money illegally obtained through drugs and
arms smuggling.” [DUNN, G., 1996, p. 81]

In 1998, the (London) Independent, noting that the year before “police made a series of raids on diamond businesses suspected of tax evasion and money laundering,” announced that

“the Orthodox Jewish community [in London] 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 … Evidence of the new drugs link follows the professional
execution on an Antwerp street last week of a Jewish jeweler and
leading figure in the Russian mafia. A Talmudic scholar was also
accused in Tel Aviv this month of laundering drug money.”
[LASHMAR, p. 3]

Dror Hazenfratz — carrying both an Israeli passport and a Belgian identity card — was arrested with 15 kilograms of heroin worth well over a million dollars. He appeared in British court “wearing traditional dress and carrying the Talmud … The ultimate destination of the drugs was reputedly David Santini, a Glaswegian who, at the time, was Scotland’s leading heroin dealer.” [LASHMAR, p. 3] Santini was arrested earlier. Other Jews arrested included

“a young man from Antwerp with 10 kg of heroin allegedly concealed
in his hire-car. He is awaiting trial. Shortly before, an older man had
been arrested at Coquelles at the French entrance to the Channel Tunnel.
British customs allegedly found quantities of heroin and cocaine. The
man was an American Orthodox Jew living in Stamford Hill. British
drug officers suspect they are seeing the beginning of a new drug
operation involving Antwerp Orthodox Jews and the Russian mafia.”
[LASHMAR, p. 3]

The man who was murdered in Antwerp was Rachmeil Brandwain, “a Jewish trader in precious metals” and “also reputed to be a leading figure in the Russian mafia.” [LASHMAR, p. 3] Brandwain was noted by a British newspaper as “Antwerp’s gangland boss” and “the Antwerp connection to the mobsters of Moscow.” Born in the Ukraine, he was raised in Israel. He was also a philanthropist to the ultra-Orthodox Chabad organization. [HELM, S., 4-21-96] Brandwain ran a company called M&S International and, noted George Weisse, the Commissioner of the U.S. Customs Service,

“was a close associate of Boris Nayfeld, a well-known [Russian-born]
criminal who operated out of Brighton Beach in Brooklyn, New York …
In the late 1980s, Brandwain was the middleman who helped corrupt
Soviet Army officials stationed in East Germany, siphoning more than a
billion dollars in illegal deals … Boris Nayfeld and a number of people
associated with Brandwain and his companies were arrested smuggling
heroin into the United States.” [WEISSE]

In 1999, a newspaper in Scotland noted that a giant earthworks machine had been stolen
from a construction site in Glasgow and found in Israel:

“Detectives believe the JCB digger was stolen to order as part of
an illegal multi-million pound international trade in which drug dealers
use the profits to fund major purchases of hard drugs like heroin
and cocaine. Around 30 pieces of heavy machinery have disappeared
from British sites during the past two years and the National Crime
Squad was called in to lead an inquiry which traced the centre of
operation to Israel.” [HERALD, 2-1-99]

From Australia, we have the noteworthy case of Nachum Goldberg, an Orthodox Jew in the Addas Israel congregation, who was busted and sent to prison in 1997. (A Jewish associate, also charged with tax fraud, died before sentencing). Member of an international ring that included diamond merchants in Israel, Belgium, and Sydney, Australia, Goldberg laundered “dirty money” to Israel: an estimated $90 million over 13 years through a bank account set up for a fake organization called United Charity. “Nachum Goldberg,” noted the Sydney Morning Herald, “was a master money launderer, who was helping some of Sydney’s and Melbourne’s ultra-Orthodox Jewish businessmen evade taxes … Most of the money that he laundered came from the sale of diamonds that had been imported illegally into Australia.” Tens of millions of dollars were sent to his brother, who managed a Bank Leumi branch in Jerusalem. “The strict religious faith of the defendants,” noted the Herald, “was one of the main elements of the plea that the sentences should be lenient and it was one of the main reasons why the judge went easy on the Goldberg family.” Goldberg was given a reduced prison sentence, and his wife and two sons, active players in the scam, were given suspended sentences. [BARRY, P.,

Joseph Gutnik, a Chabad rabbi and one of the richest men in Australia, even filed

“a libel suit against the magazine Barons and its mother company, Dow Jones.
The magazine published an article linking Gutnik’s name with that of Nahum
Goldberg, a businessman accused of using an Israeli charity fund to launder
money. The article claimed that $24 million had been laundered — Goldberg
was found guilty and sentenced to five years in prison. In October 2000 The
Age reported that the judge in the Goldberg case had criticized the Israeli
government for not being more cooperative with the Australian investigators
who were trying to follow the trail of funds through the local banks.”
[HANDWERKER, H., 5-15-01]

Elsewhere, in 1997, in Miami, Ludwig Fainberg was accused of especially noteworthy drug-related crimes. A dentist in Russia, he immigrated to Israel, served in its army, and then moved to the United States where he owned Porky’s strip-tease joint. He was arrested for underworld drug activities with suspected middlemen for a Colombia drug cartel. Plans even included a $5 million purchase of a Soviet submarine to smuggle drugs to the United States. A New York Times article did not identify Fainberg as a Jew, nor as an Israeli, but as a “Russian.” “A new element has been added to the [Miami] region’s celebrated mix of two-bit con-artists and Colombian drug lords,” wrote Times reporter Mireya Navarro, “law-enforcement officials say: Russian mobsters are engaged in nationwide illegal activity running from extortion to financial fraud.” Twenty-six such Russian crime organizations have been identified in America by Federal officials, mainly located in New York, Los Angeles, and Miami. Fainberg was believed to head one of them, a man “who was a typical member of the Russian criminal elment that in recent years has spread … form its cradle in New York City.”
“The Russian criminal mobsters,” one U.S. drug-enforcement offical told the Times, “are eager for ‘every way to make a dishonest dollar.” Another said, “They’re good at networking.”
[NAVARRO, p, A22]

The international scope of the “Russian mafia” is reflected in recent headlines about the problem: Russian Mafia Making Austria Its Haven (San Francisco Chronicle, 1996), Swedes Face a Russian Invasion (New York Times, 1993), and Russia’s Notorious Mafia Spreads Tentacles of Crime Around the Globe (Christian Science Monitor, 1995). A large number of these Russian crime groups are Jewish in control. In the United States one of their bases is located in the Brighton Beach area of Brooklyn. [ROSNER, p. xi, xii] A 1986 Presidential Commission on Organized Crime report, noted the New York Times, “warned that the Jews from the Soviet Union were among several ethnic-organized crime groups to have emerged recently in this country.”
[RAAB] “Some [Russian immigrants to America] find the free enterprise system difficult to understand,” wrote Newsweek in 1985, “Others end up in the ‘Russian mafia.'” [NEWSWEEK, Ag 19, 85] “In the 1990s,” says Rita J. Simon, “there are reports of extensive organized criminal activities within the Soviet Jewish community, especially in the Los Angeles and Brighton Beach areas of Brooklyn … [SIMON, p. 137] … Terms such as ‘Soviet Jewish Mafia’ are widely used in print and electronic media [This is not true. This author’s extensive research has yet to run across any such term that highlights Jewish involvement. The common nomer is ‘Russian Mafia’ which disguises any Jewish dimension] to describe the activities of these recent immigrants to the United States (especially New York and Los Angeles), parts of Western Europe, and Israel, and of criminals in post-communist Russia. They are believed to be involved in drugs, prostitution (especially in Israel), racketeering, and various forms of illegal activities.” [SIMON, p. 145] “Russian” control of prostitution even exists in Romania. [TANNER]

“It may be too soon,” cautiously wrote Joseph Bensman back in 1986,” to tell whether the … crime [Russian immigrants to the United States] engage in is a means towards gaining the wherewithal to become respectable citizens and white collar criminals, or whether it is to become the base for a new, permanent underclass in American society.” [ROSNER, p. xvii] One informant told a researcher that “more than 50% of the people who live in Brighton are involved in criminal things.” [ROSNER, p. 106] The worst end of criminal activity includes “protection rackets, gambling, confidence schemes, counterfeiting, forgery and sales of license and travel documents, smuggling, burglary, armed robbery, drug and weapon sales, and murder.” [ROSNER, p. 119] “Brighton Beach,” noted Agence France Presse in 1997, “… has long been home to … the Russian mafia … The Russian mafia has been putting roots down in Brighton Beach since the early 1970s, when then-Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev decided to allow Jewish emigration, said Raymond Kerr, who specializes in Russian organized crime for the FBI.” [BICHON, ONLINE] “A high level of communication” also exists between “criminals in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, and northeast Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.” [NEW YORK STATE ORGANIZED CRIME TASK FORCE, 1996, p. 180]

In 1986 UPI noted the case of Boris Davidov, who was arrested with $3 million in stolen property. “He had been in this country for seven years,” noted FBI agent Joseph Koletar, “If you come to this country and don’t know many people and don’t know the language and culture and manage to set up a fencing operation of that size, it suggests that he hit the ground running and had some experience before he got to these shores.” [UPI, p. c2]

The reason so many Russian Jews are able to quickly get established in crime in America is that they were experts in this field in the Soviet Union. As scholar Louise Shelley notes:

“In many countries, where organized crime is dominated by different
ethnic groups that are precluded from legitimate social mobility, the
Jews and Asian groups were significant figures in the shadow economy.”
[SHELLEY, L., 1999, p. 85]

This “shadow economy” was the clandestine and illegal goings-on in the Soviet communist world. Shelley’s apologetic myth, that Jews were somehow forced into this realm because of a marginalized existence in Soviet communism, is an expression of the usual Jewish victimhood myth. Jews, as this volume amply evidences, have been omnipresent in the upper echelons of power throughout the Soviet communist hierarchy. And as a 1996 (New York and New Jersey) state investigation into the growing “Russian” crime problem in America noted about “Russian” immigrants to America,”

“Russian émigrés tend to be highly educated. Those who engage in
crime are very resourceful and sophisticated in their methods of
operation … Unlike the farmers and unskilled laborers who comprised
the majority of earlier immigrations to this country, Russian émigrés
are generally urban in origin, well-educated, and industrially and
technologically skilled. Despite a language barrier, they have marketable
skills and have not been closed off from the legitimate ladders of upward
mobility. … [Yet] they engage in a variety of frauds, scams and swindles
because those are the kinds of crimes that most closely build upon their
previous experience in the former Soviet Union. Unlike their ethnic
predecessors in crime, Russian émigrés do not have to go through any
developmental or learning process to break into the criminal world in this
country. They are able to begin operating almost immediately upon their
p. 180, 184-185]

The above description of an urbanized, educated, entrepreneurial group, prone to unethical economical activity towards self-advancement, is a classical explication of the historical Jewish strata.

Among the various “ethnic” groups that are members of the “Russian” mafia are those from the former Soviet area called Georgia. Jews are well-represented among this group too, and, with a long tradition of criminal underworld behavior, were primed to continue this in other countries. Menachem Amir notes what happened when these Jews from Georgia moved to Israel:

“These new immigrants arrived by the thousands in the mid-1970s. In
1980-82 there were repeated reports in the [Israeli] media and in police
statements that among the Georgian Jews were ‘special’ types of
criminals, engaged in ‘big and serious’ crimes, which they had previously
practiced in Georgia … What became a hallmark or specialty of Georgian
criminal organizations, however, was their control, by the use of
violence, of carting and hauling services at air and sea ports. They used
this position for large-scale theft of passengers’ luggage, as well as
theft from cargo planes and anchored ships. In addition, there were
reports of grand scale thefts from warehouses, sophisticated frauds of
religious objects and diamonds, counterfeiting of money and documents
(drivers’ licenses and professional diplomats), and large-scale fencing.”
[BLOCK, A., 1996, p. 28]

Amir further notes formal Israeli anthropological studies into the Georgian Jewish crime community. These investigations concluded that the Georgians’ “original normative system” of crime “favored their immediate entrance and persistence into organized criminality and organized crime.” The results of fifteen years of Israeli efforts to dissuade Jewish Georgians from crime were a “success” only to the degree that they left Israel and had “continued their criminal activities in their new ‘places’ while maintaining criminal relations with their brethren who remain in Israel (e.g., contraband goods, drugs, laundering money or distributing counterfeit money, produced in Israel [and] in Europe.” [AMIR, M., 1996, p. 29-30]

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