Chareidi Sentenced To 2 Years In French Jail For Smuggling Khat, Sent by Kiryat Sefer Khat Operator

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A 20-year-old Chareidi Israeli was sentenced to two years of prison in France and a fine of €14,000 ($15,223) for smuggling khat on Wednesday, Israel’s Foreign Ministry announced on Thursday afternoon.

The 20-year-old was arrested a week ago at the airport in Paris when 40 kilograms of khat was found in his possession.

The Chareidi young man was convinced to smuggle khat into Europe by a Kiryat Sefer man, the man behind the network recruiting hundreds of Chareidi young men and women to smuggle Khat into Europe, according to a Chareidim10 report.

Another young man from a Chareidi family was arrested in Czechoslovakia two weeks ago when 40 kilograms of khat was found in his possession.

Attorney Mordechai Tzivin, who specializes in international crime, extradition and Interpol and has voluntarily assisted in over ten cases of Chareidi youth arrested in Europe for smuggling Khat, said that the Kiryat Sefer resident, “D.B.,” convinces the youth that smuggling Khat isn’t dangerous since it’s not an illegal drug in Israel.

Tzivin added that the police are aware of the identities of the Khat operators but they have no legal means to stop them since there is no law that bans taking Khat out of Israel.

The Department of Israelis Abroad in the Foreign Office Consular Division is familiar with over 100 cases of Israelis being arrested in Europe for smuggling khat in the past year.

A Foreign Ministry spokesperson added that “the punishments in Europe for smuggling khat are becoming more and more strict and many young adults are finding themselves in prisons abroad for long periods.”

“The Foreign Ministry again warns young adults and their families not to be tempted by offers to smuggle khat into Europe, where it is illegal and is fully considered a drug.”

The Israeli Foreign Ministry has published multiple warnings to Israeli travelers about smuggling khat, which is legal in Israel. Dozens of Israelis, many of them Chareidi, have been arrested in various countries in the past two years for smuggling khat, which is so widely sought in Europe that one kilogram can be sold for a few hundred euros.

Khat has been used traditionally for centuries in Somalia, Yemen and Ethiopia and khat chewing is an important social ritual there in all types of settings including khat cafes (mafrishes). Although some view it as a mild stimulant, there is evidence that khat is addictive and long term use or abuse has been linked to various disorders, including insomnia, anorexia, gastric disorders, depression, liver damage, heart attacks and psychiatric disorders. Some say that khat is used as a substitute for alcohol in countries where alcohol is prohibited for religious reasons.

The use of khat spread to Europe and North America together with immigrants from Africa and the Middle East, but unlike the immigrants who view khat like coffee, most Western countries place it in the same category as cocaine.

“It is definitely not like coffee,” Garrison Courtney, spokesman for the Drug Enforcement Administration, told the Los Angeles Times in a 2009 article about khat. “It is the same drug used by young kids who go out and shoot people in Africa, Iraq and Afghanistan. It is something that gives you a heightened sense of invincibility and when you look at those effects, you could take out the word ‘khat’ and put in ‘heroin’ or ‘cocaine.’”

Others add that khat is linked to violence in Somalia.

The UK banned khat in 2013, joining the US, which banned it in 1993, Canada and most European countries.

[Many Yeshiva Bochrim Recently Arrested In Europe For Smuggling “Khat” Substance From Israel]

[Chareidi Girls Arrested in England for Smuggling “Khat” Substance From Israel

[AGAIN: Chareidi Girls Arrested in Oslo For Smuggling “Khat”; Scheduled for Deportation ON SHABBOS]

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)




11 COMMENTS

  1. Has anyone considered a civil suit for the damages incurred by this dealer? Seems that one would have a strong claim for reimbursement of the fines, plus other damages for the lost time while incarcerated. Maybe someone could get this clown to leave the country, and arrest him elsewhere. As long as we will know that the arrest is this guy, we will be able to thwart efforts to rescue him via pidyon shvuyim.

  2. I’m sure there will be the usual efforts to excuse this type of narcotic smuggling by Chareidi youth because they “didn’t know it was illegal”. With all the warnings by the foreign ministry, print and digital media, yeshivos, signs at the airport etc. you would have to be brain dead to not know the consequences of being caught. Obviously, they are doing it for the money and thus should be prepared to serve the time. There are many legitimate cases of pidyon shivuiim of yidden being persecuted around the world that merit priority attention from the tzibur.

  3. In my opinion this person has the din of a rodeif. As such his name should be publicized and people should be warned. “D.B.” is not enough.

  4. I don’t understand. If the authorities know who it is, even if technically it’s legal there, there must be a way to get hin. Either an emergency session where the exporting would be made illegal or perhaps like in the USA. When they couldn’t get the Mafia on theft or murder because they were so meticulous in covering up their crimes. Then the authorities would get them on “tax evasion”

  5. Every single person that passes through the airport in Israel is asked

    “Did anyone give you anything to take with you”.

    Don’t lie and this won’t happen.

  6. ami, who says they’re lying? They can tell the truth — what can the authorities do?

    LIY, why “must” there be a way to get this guy? How do you know he’s cheating on his taxes? If I were him I’d be very careful to declare every agora I made, and pay all the taxes on it. I’m sure he’s smart enough to do that too.

    GHT, even if they know it’s illegal in other countries, how should they know how seriously it’s taken? Again I ask you, when it was illegal to bring Materna into the USA, and every haredi coming back from Israel with room in their suitcase filled it with Materna, did they think they were taking a serious risk?! No, they (correctly) assumed the worst that could happen to them would be to have the Materna confiscated. How is it possible to ensure that these kids know this is not a similar thing?