Zeev Rosenstein, who was extradited to the US from Israel, made his first court appearance in Fort Lauderdale Tuesday. Rosenstein did not enter a plea and will be held in prison without bond until his next hearing on March 28th. Rosenstein was quoted on Israel's Channel 10 news as saying in court that he is "feeling alright" and was described as tired and hungry, after the long trip from Israel.
Zeev Rosenstein arrived in Miami Monday night on a special flight of the law enforcement agencies from Newark NJ. He was brought to Newark by three US marshals who accompanied him on the flight from Israel and kept him handcuffed all during the flight.
|JPOST.COM HIT LIST|
JPost.com's most popular articles this past week [click here]
Rosenstein will stand trial in Florida for allegedly distributing 1.5 million ecstasy pills in the US. He was described by the prosecution as one of Israel's leading criminal figures and if found guilty he faces a sentence of 20 years in prison for each one of the three charges against him. In the Tuesday hearing Rosenstein was warned by the judge that if found guilty he will also have to turn over to the US authorities any money or assets he acquired as a result of his criminal activity.
The assistant US attorney prosecuting the case, Benjamin Greenberg, told the court in Fort Lauderdale that Rosenstein is a danger to the community and might try to flee the country if released on bail.
According to reports from the court, Rosenstein received translation to Hebrew of the proceedings in the courtroom and answered the judge's questions in Hebrew. He said to the Israelis in the courtroom "next year in Israel", expressing his hope that he will be acquitted and released from the Florida prison. Rosenstein is kept in a high security federal prison in Miami until the judge makes a final decision regarding his bail.
Howard Srebnick. Rosenstein's attorney said after the hearing that his client maintains that he is innocent and argues that the case against Rosenstein is based on witnesses that should not be trusted. The prosecution intends to call to stand two Israeli brothers who allegedly were part of Rosenstein's drug network and will testify against him in return for dropping the case against them.