Cigarette Smugglers Tied to Notorious Jewish Murder on Brooklyn Bridge

Palestinian Gave Gun Used To Kill Ari Halberstam

Notorious Murder: Yeshiva student Ari Halberstam was killed as he drove on this Brooklyn Bridge ramp in 1994.
Notorious Murder: Yeshiva student Ari Halberstam was killed as he drove on this Brooklyn Bridge ramp in 1994.

By Reuters

Published May 16, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 2 of 2)

“This is not the lifestyles of the rich and famous,” Schneiderman said. “We are very concerned about where the money went.”

Kelly said that Youssef Odeh, 52, of Staten Island, who is accused of being a distributor for the ring, received an investment for an illegal baby formula distribution business in the 1990s from Omar Abdel Rahman, often dubbed the “blind sheik,” who is imprisoned for helping plot the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

Muaffaq Askar, 46, of Brooklyn, who is accused of being one of the ring’s resellers, was a confidant of Rashid Baz, Kelly said. Baz, a Lebanese immigrant, is serving a 141-year prison sentence after being convicted in the 1994 shooting of Halberstam, a 16-year-old yeshiva student in Brooklyn, which Baz said was in retaliation for the killing of Muslim worshippers in the West Bank by a Jewish settler from Brooklyn.

Mohannad Seif, 39, of Brooklyn, another accused reseller, had been under police surveillance in part because he had lived in the same three-story Brooklyn building as a former secretary to Moussa Abu Marzouk, a deputy leader of Hamas.

Authorities said the ring was headed by two brothers, Basel Ramadan, 42, and Samir Ramadan, 40, both of Ocean City, Maryland, who ran a couple of local Subway restaurant franchises. Investigators said they found $1.4 million stashed in Basel Ramadan’s home, some of it stuffed in black plastic trash bags, and three handguns following his arrest on Thursday.

The ring bought cigarettes from a wholesaler in Virginia and kept them in a storage facility in Delaware, Schneiderman said.

A co-conspirator, Adel Abuzahrieh, 42, of Brooklyn, was accused of driving from New York to Delaware several times a week to exchange cash for cigarettes, and then return with the illicit goods for resale.

Two of the accused men are in the United States illegally, according to Immigrations and Customs Enforcement. Others, including the Ramadan brothers, are naturalized citizens, while the rest are legal permanent residents.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • “The Black community was resistant to the Jewish community coming into the neighborhood — at first.” Watch this video about how a group of gardeners is rebuilding trust between African-Americans and Jews in Detroit.
  • "I am a Jewish woman married to a non-Jewish man who was raised Catholic, but now considers himself a “common-law Jew.” We are raising our two young children as Jews. My husband's parents are still semi-practicing Catholics. When we go over to either of their homes, they bow their heads, often hold hands, and say grace before meals. This is an especially awkward time for me, as I'm uncomfortable participating in a non-Jewish religious ritual, but don't want his family to think I'm ungrateful. It's becoming especially vexing to me now that my oldest son is 7. What's the best way to handle this situation?" http://jd.fo/b4ucX What would you do?
  • Maybe he was trying to give her a "schtickle of fluoride"...
  • It's all fun, fun, fun, until her dad takes the T-Bird away for Shabbos.
  • "Like many Jewish people around the world, I observed Shabbat this weekend. I didn’t light candles or recite Hebrew prayers; I didn’t eat challah or matzoh ball soup or brisket. I spent my Shabbat marching for justice for Eric Garner of Staten Island, Michael Brown of Ferguson, and all victims of police brutality."
  • Happy #NationalDogDay! To celebrate, here's a little something from our archives:
  • A Jewish couple was attacked on Monday night in New York City's Upper East Side. According to police, the attackers flew Palestinian flags.
  • "If the only thing viewers knew about the Jews was what they saw on The Simpsons they — and we — would be well served." What's your favorite Simpsons' moment?
  • "One uncle of mine said, 'I came to America after World War II and I hitchhiked.' And Robin said, 'I waited until there was a 747 and a kosher meal.'" Watch Billy Crystal's moving tribute to Robin Williams at last night's #Emmys:
  • "Americans are much more focused on the long term and on the end goal which is ending the violence, and peace. It’s a matter of zooming out rather than debating the day to day.”
  • "I feel great sorrow about the fact that you decided to return the honor and recognition that you so greatly deserve." Rivka Ben-Pazi, who got Dutchman Henk Zanoli recognized as a "Righteous Gentile," has written him an open letter.
  • Is there a right way to criticize Israel?
  • From The Daily Show to Lizzy Caplan, here's your Who's Jew guide to the 2014 #Emmys. Who are you rooting for?
  • “People at archives like Yad Vashem used to consider genealogists old ladies in tennis shoes. But they have been impressed with our work on indexing documents. Now they are lining up to work with us." This year's Jewish Genealogical Societies conference took place in Utah. We got a behind-the-scenes look:
  • What would Maimonides say about Warby Parker's buy-one, give-one charity model?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.