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S. Calif. Raid Nets $8M of Ecstasy

July 16, 2002

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TORRANCE, Calif. (AP) _ A police and customs investigation of a drug ring allegedly run by Israeli nationals netted 15 arrests and the seizure of more than $8 million worth of the party drug Ecstasy.

Authorities also seized 17 pounds of marijuana, $44,000 and two weapons as a result of the investigation by Torrance and Glendale police departments and the U.S. Customs Service, said Torrance Police Officer David Crespin.

Investigators made the initial arrests and drug seizure July 3. On Sunday, others were arrested after an alleged drug transaction turned into a robbery and carjacking of suspected drug dealers. Along with drugs, two handguns were seized in that raid, Crespin said.

The suspects were booked on charges ranging from possession of narcotics, drug sales and transporting drugs for sale, to forgery, armed robbery, carjacking, assault with a deadly weapon, possession of a loaded firearm in a vehicle and drug trafficking within 1,000 feet of a school.

Ecstasy, also known as MDMA, is a synthetic stimulant and hallucinogenic that became popular during the 1990s at all-night dance parties called raves.

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