At least 77 Japanese policemen, customs inspectors and others will be called to testify in the State of Israel’s case against Ben-Tzion Miller, who is accused of enticing Hassidic youths to smuggle Ecstasy into Japan.
The State of Israel filed on Monday a series of drug-trafficking charges against Miller, 31, of the Jerusalem area. He stands accused of running an international drugs-smuggling network, and of enticing three Hassidic yeshiva youths to take part. The three have been in Japanese jail for nearly a year and face prison sentences of many more years.
Miller is accused of recruiting three youths, one of whom was a minor at the time, to transport over 90,000 pills of MDMA, commonly known as Ecstasy, from Amsterdam to Japan. The three have testified, backed up by lie detector tests and the testimony of others, that he told them they were transporting items of Judaica.
The boys were given tickets to fly to Amsterdam, where they were given suitcases with false-bottoms. They were further told that the “Judaica items” were hidden in order to prevent theft and breakage.
Attorney Mordechai Tzivin, who represents two of the three youths, said, “This severe indictment against someone who enticed three innocent youths is an important part of our defense. Together with many other facts and circumstances in this case, the picture is clear that the boys in Japan were misled, and that their naivety and sincerity were abused by people who were their total opposite. The facts show that the boys are completely innocent, and could not have guessed – and certainly could not have known – that they were carrying drugs.”
Japanese to Testify
Among the 77 Japanese officials whom the Tel Aviv District Prosecution plans to call for testimony are many officials from the Narita International Airport Customs Office in Tokyo, police investigators, and prosecution lawyers. The sheer number is an indication of the gravity with which the police view the case.
Another suspect involved in trying to entice Hassidic yeshiva youth to unwittingly smuggle drugs is at large in a western European country.
Though often criticized in Israel for their naivety, the three boys are the subject of prayers in religious Jewish communities all over the world, which are also helping to raise money for their legal costs. Their names are: Yaakov Yosef ben Raizel, Yoel Zev ben Mirel Risa Chava, and Yosef ben Ita Rivka.