Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Drug-Smuggling Story

Eli Hecht was a roomate of mine for several weeks when we studied together in the late 90's in a Morristown, NJ Yeshiva for Jews becoming observant. I remember him as a modest personality, mild-mannered, speaking softly and sparingly, and always opting for a low profile.

Over a year ago, I was stunned to find out he was jailed in Spain for possession of illicit drugs. I knew of course he was innocent. Now, upon his release from jail, we learn what happened.

He had worked as fund-raiser for a Kollel in Tsfat for over 10 years. The emissary of the Rebbe at this Chabad Kollel, Rabbi Karombie, stayed closely in touch with Eli and often travelled to Spain to be at his side, and also showed up at all proceedings. The invoices collected from Eli's travels all those years from all over the world he presented as evidence and these helped persuade the 3 judges to declare him innocent and release him.

He fell victim to a "benefactor" in Costa Rica who asked him to please take some clothes to a widow in Spain. The drugs were embedded inside the small valise's walls. The cell they first threw him into also held Al-Qaeda prisoners. Shortly thereafter they transferred him to another cell because the guards sensed his life was in danger.

Once during this long ordeal, Rabbi Karombie had spoken to a well-known prosecutor in Spain. He told the rabbi, "Be prepared to accept a settlement where he'll have to sit in prison for a good few years." Thank God he was proven wrong, justice prevailed and now Eli can go back to his family and back to his work.

Eli met the culprit in Costa Rica in a synagogue! He invited Eli to his home, let him stay overnight, and even gave him a few hundred dollars before he asked for that "favor". Goes to show you where one's head can be while he is supposedly in communion with God. How shameful.

1 comment:

  1. Shalom from Gibraltar, I had spoken to Rabbi Hecht before this happened as he was coming home to eat by us for shabbat on his way back to Israel. He actually told me he had met a nice man who was helping him collect money and would come to Gib on a later date. I was stunned and distressed when I heard what had happened. This is indeed very good news Baruch Hashem. Please tell me, is he actually out already? I would really appreciate a bit more info. Thanks