Kosher Deli Shuttered
By Howard Schwach
The gates literally came down on the Belle Harbor Kosher Delicatessen on Beach 116 Street late last week, putting several local residents out of work and causing pangs of hunger for all the corned beef and pastrami that will now be missed by those who frequented the year-old eatery.
The restaurant closed not because of economic problems, nor for renovation (as a sign in the window indicates), but because its two owners, Ian Marpet, 35 of Whitestone and David Berl, 32 of Howard Beach, were arrested by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) a week ago Wednesday on charges of conspiracy with intent to sell controlled substances -- drug trafficking.
According to Timothy Driscoll, the Assistant U.S. Attorney who is assigned to the case," the two men allegedly brought in excess of 10,000 pounds of marijuana from Mexico over the period of several years, with the intent to sell those drugs. They are also charged with bringing in an unspecified amount of Diazepam, a drug that has the street name "Quaaludes."
While the two were connected with a group called the "men in black," who have been charged with a rash of commercial burglaries, Driscoll says, "There are no allegations at this time that the two were involved with the burglaries. They are being charged only with drug trafficking."
Driscoll added that there was also no allegation that the two used their Belle Harbor store in any way in the furtherance of their drug trafficking.
The two men had their initial appearance before a federal magistrate in on Wednesday, July 31 in the Federal District Court in Central Islip. They were arrested in Nassau County. They were each released on $250 thousand bail. No new court date has yet been set, according to Driscoll, but there will be a "further determination" prior to the end of September.
Calls to the two men for comment went unreturned.
If convicted, the two face five to forty years in federal prison and a $2 million fine.