Orthodox Drug Smuggling Network Uncovered

Published: January 27th 2010

Peanut butter (illustration)
Pic: Fotolia


Israeli police have arrested four yeshiva students suspected of importing dangerous drugs from Canada to Israel, the website Inyan Merkazi reported.


The four, all of Anglo Saxon origin and from wealthy families, are suspected of having smuggled MDMA (Ecstasy) from Canada to Israel, concealing the drugs  in jars of peanut butter and Vaseline. The yeshiva students would travel from Israel to Canada, purchase the drugs and bring them back. They would then sell the drugs to other yeshiva students throughout Jerusalem, some of whom were underage.


Police were alerted to the smuggling network by rabbis at some of the yeshivas who became aware of the ring. An undercover investigation led to the arrest of eighteen students, including the four who are believed to be at the centre of the network.


Israeli Orthodox Jews have been previously involved in drug smuggling. In August 2009, a Yeshiva student was arrested in Brazil while carrying a large amount of drugs. In July 2009, a 37 year-old Yeshiva student was arrested in Heathrow Airport in London, England on suspicion of drug smuggling. In both cases, Israeli police requested the arrests from local authorities following an investigation and it is believed that the two cases are related.


In 2001, a network of drug smugglers was caught. They were suspected of having smuggled more than 500,000 ecstasy pills from Europe to the Canada, the US, and Israel. The drugs were hidden in an electric organ and motors of cars. An Orthodox Jew from Montreal was arrested as part of the investigation by Israeli and Canadian police, in conjunction with the FBI.


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