Ukraine:
Telegrass founder flees from police hours before extradition

Amos Dov Silver, the Israeli founder of a huge dope ring, manages to escape the Ukrainian police while awaiting extradition.

Sara Rubenstein,

Arrest (illustrative)
Arrest (illustrative)
Thinkstock

Telegrass founder Amos Dov Silver escaped from Ukrainian police hours after a court denied his appeal on Thursday, clearing the way for him to be extradited to Israel in the next day or two.

Silver, a dual Israel-US citizen, was arrested in Ukraine in March for drug trafficking, along with dozens of other suspects in Israel and abroad following an extensive undercover investigation by the Israel Police. Silver has been fighting his extradition in Ukrainian courts ever since but has now lost his legal battle.

Telegrass utilized the encrypted messaging app Telegram to sell drugs such as marijuana, ecstasy and cocaine, and had a vast network across the United States, Ukraine and Germany. It had over 100,000 members, including thousands of drug dealers, and reportedly earned about NIS 60 million ($16,951) a month.

Drug dealers interested in working with Telegrass were required to provide personal information, including their ID numbers and cell phone numbers. Anyone wanting to purchase drugs through Telegrass also had to provide their ID number and cell phone number as well as a screenshot of their Facebook page.

Silver's wife, Gali Silver, published a video on her Facebook page on Thursday, saying, "The police are simply doing whatever they feel like doing. There wasn't too much to do because they switched the judges. These weren't the judges who were on the original case." She added that Silver, who was recently admitted to a medical clinic in Kiev for a stomach infection, is ill but the doctor who approved his extradition didn't even examine him.

A statement from Kiev's Attorney General last month said that Silver "is wanted by Israeli investigative authorities on suspicion of running a powerful crime organization that was responsible for the massive distribution of narcotic drugs by couriers using social networks, involving minors in dangerous drug use and with the participation of other criminal offenses committed by criminal organizations."

During the nine-month investigation prior to Silver's arrest, Israel Police worked in cooperation with police units in the United States, Ukraine and Germany.

“During the operation, I bought all types of drugs: ecstasy, cocaine, MD [ecstasy], LSD, marijuana and hash according to instructions from my handler,” a police agent said.

The drugs were also sold to a large number of minors.

Watch an interview with Silver in Ukraine while he was on house arrest in July:




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