NEW YORK — One of five Israeli nationals charged with operating a $1-million-a-week international drug smuggling ring in Brooklyn failed in an attempt to escape from custody Friday by apparently pretending to be suffering withdrawal symptons, officials said.
The incident occurred at about 2:30 a. m. after the five complained of stomach pains and were brought to Bellevue Hospital for treatment.
Two--Bruno Ben-Ishayau, 24, and Simon Cohen, 23--began speaking together in Hebrew, then Ben-Ishayau "went into what I can only describe as a fit," Alan Nadel, a prosecutor with the Special narcotis Bureau of the Manhattan district attorney's office, said.
While police tried to restrain Ben-Ishayau, Cohen managed to slip handcuffs off the rail of a hospital bed and fled, Nadel told reporters. Ben-Ishayau's "fit" appeared to have been part of the escape attempt, he said.
Cohen was recaptured a short time later outside the hospital, where police found him hiding behind an ambulance, Nadel said.
Nadel said Thursday the five were partners who operated the ring for at least 1 1/2 years.
Nadel made his comments following what was to have been an arraignment for the five before Justice Joan Carey in state Supreme Court in Manhattan.
However, the suspects said they had not yet retained lawyers or that their lawyers were not present. The judge postponed the proceeding until Monday and ordered the five to remain in jail without bail until that time.
The five were arrested Tuesday following a six-month investigation that began in November. Hebrew-speaking police officers gained the suspects' trust to buy $150,000 worth of drugs, authorities said.
All five are believed to have arrived in the United States from Israel about five years ago and have been living in Brooklyn. In addition to Cohen and Ben-Ishayau, they were identified as Shlomo Aked, 33, Ziv Oved, 34, and Alex Palace, 29.