U.S. Announces Break Up of International Ecstasy Trafficking Group

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Wednesday, January 1, 2003
Bruce Zagaris
On November 5, 2002, Drug Enforcement Administration officials announced multiple arrests and cracking of an international narcotics ring involving Dominican drug dealers in New York that imported thousands of Ecstasy tablets (also known as MDMA) from the Netherlands, concealing the Ecstasy pills inside artwork, automobile parts and other places. 20 persons were arrested in the law enforcement operation, including 11 on November 4 in New York and 9 in the Netherlands yesterday. James b. Comey, the U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of New York, said the authorities had seized more than 100,000 tablets of ecstasy that had a market value of about $2 million. Mr. Comey explained that the arrests were very important due to the strong role of Dominican drug dealers in bringing the drug from the Netherlands, where most Ecstasy is manufactured. If convicted, the defendants charged in New York could face a sentence of 20 years in prison. The Dutch who are convicted in the U.S. are eligible to transfer to the Netherlands to serve their sentences as a result of the U.S. and the Dutch Governments? participation in the Council of Europe?s Convention on Transfer of prisoners. There is a long cue of Dutch prisoners who have been convicted of Ecstasy Crimes and have applied to transfer to the Netherlands.