Lawyer convicted for drug dealing

Defendant was active in raising new ideas about how to smuggle cocaine into Israel from South America, court says

July 9, 2019 21:40
1 minute read.
Lawyer convicted for drug dealing

cocaine 224.88. (photo credit: US Drug Enforcement Administration)

The Beersheba District Court has convicted a lawyer of involvement in a massive cocaine distribution scheme between an Israeli drug ring and dealers in South America.

Veteran criminal lawyer Ziad Canaan is the latest to be convicted in a wide-ranging case that opened in 2016, with 14 indictments against 30 defendants.

Though the decision was handed down on Monday, the court spokesman’s office announced the conviction on Tuesday for drug dealing, illegal possession and conspiracy to commit a felony – which is expected to carry significant jail time.

As part of the investigation, the police planted an undercover agent within the Israeli drug ring and even eventually sent multiple undercover agents to Colombia to purchase six kg. of cocaine.

The undercover police brought the cocaine back to Israel, where they sold it to several defendants, including Canaan.

Collectively, the various defendants tried to purchase dozens of kilograms of cocaine worth hundreds of thousands of shekels for distribution in Israel.

Canaan claimed as a defense that he had been arbitrarily picked on because he was a lawyer.

The court rejected this argument on multiple grounds.

First, the court said that Canaan, “had not been a passive actor, but took an active part, including raising new ideas about how to smuggle the drugs into Israel.”

In addition, the court said that Canaan traveled to Jordan and to two villages in the North in order to advance the cocaine distribution scheme.

Second, the court said that there is a special legal interest in ensuring that lawyers are punished for breaking the law since, broadly speaking, the legal profession is the guardian of the rule of law.

Similarly, the court said that as a veteran criminal lawyer, Canaan knew very well that his actions were illegal.

A statement from the Justice Ministry said that a large number of defendants in the case have already been convicted and sentenced to jail terms.

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