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Israeli nabbed in Costa Rica drug bust

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Costa Rican police say they have arrested an Israeli citizen in connection with the largest seizure of the designer drug ecstasy in the country’s history.  Police say they found more than 18,000 doses of the drug weighing almost 4 kilos – nearly 9 pounds – in the luggage of the man, identified only as a 31 year-old with the last name Koren, when he arrived on a flight from Spain on Saturday. Police said the man was also carrying a false Mexican passport with a different last name.

Officials at the local Israeli Embassy said Wednesday that the person arrested is an Israeli citizen, but said they had yet to receive any official notice of the arrest from Costa Rican authorities and had not yet met with the suspect.

While the Central American nation is a frequent shipping point for large amounts of cocaine traveling from South America to the United States, drug use in Costa Rica is limited. Authorities believe the ecstasy was headed for beaches on the country’s Pacific coast, a popular destination for foreign tourists.

Koren has been ordered held in preventive detention for at least three months while formal charges are brought. Bail is rarely extended to foreigners involved in drug smuggling cases in Costa Rica.

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