Israeli Acquitted of Smuggling MDMA by Chiba District Court

Monday, August 29, 2011

Tokyo- (PanOrient News) Chiba district court acquitted a 26-year-old Israeli man Monday of smuggling in 2008 from the Netherlands 90,000 tablets of the synthetic drug MDMA, the largest amount ever smuggled in hand-carry baggage and seized in Japan, Kyodo News reported.

Chiba District Court Presiding Judge Masanori Hatoko was quoted as saying a ''reasonable doubt'' remains over the verity of public prosecutors' allegation that Goldstein Yoel, arrested on April 3, 2008 after flying into Japan, was aware that he was smuggling drugs hidden in his suitcases. It is impossible to cast aside the defendant's statement that he was thinking what were inside the suitcases were antiques.''

The judge also reportedly said that Yoel had been living in a closed environment where access to information was limited before arriving at Narita International Airport.

The Chiba District Public Prosecutors' Office had asserted that Yoel brought the drug into Japan after hiding small packets of the drug in double-bottomed suitcases in conspiracy with two Israeli teenagers who arrived at Narita the same day, accodring to Kyodo.

On April 24, 2008, the prosecutors indicted Yoel and sent the two teenagers -- then 17 and 19 -- to a family court on charges of violating the Narcotics Control Law.

According to customs officials, the MDMA tablets seized in the incident had an estimated street value of 360 million yen and was the largest quantity of MDMA ever brought into Japan in hand-carried luggage.

Photo: Chiba District Court (Courtesy of Chiba District Court)

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