Canadian Diplomat to Resume Work in Israel, despite Drug Charges

Published June 26th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

A former Canadian diplomat, charged last Thursday with smuggling cocaine into Israel worth more than $1 million while traveling on a diplomatic passport, is to return to work in Canada on Monday despite the charges against him, reported the Jerusalem Post.  

Canadian police said this is the first time a Canadian diplomat has ever faced drug charges, according to the paper. 

Douglas Wardle, 42, was charged with importing narcotics, conspiracy to import narcotics and trafficking in narcotics.  

Canadian police allege that while working at the Canadian embassy in Israel in 1996, Wardle smuggled 8.5 kilograms of cocaine from Los Angeles to Tel Aviv, said the paper.  

Wardle, a former diplomatic administrative officer, is now employed by a technology firm in Toronto.  

In 1996, Israeli police were investigating three men - Meir Hazan, Yitzhak Lerer and Jacob Sterenhim - for cocaine smuggling when they came across Wardle, at the time the chief administrative officer at the Canadian embassy, said the paper. 

Because of diplomatic immunity, Wardle wasn't arrested or charged at that time.  

The Canadian police began inquiries when he returned to Canada in 1996, where he remained on the Canadian department of foreign affairs and international trade payroll until his resignation in early 1998.  

Court documents show Wardle allegedly twice left Israel without the knowledge of Canadian officials there and took planes to Los Angeles where the cocaine was allegedly picked up. One alleged shipment was 2.5 kg, the other 6 kg. From there, police claim Wardle flew back to Tel Aviv with the drugs, according to the paper.  

The Canadian embassy in Tel Avi refused to comment on the arrest, saying the matter was in the courts, according to the Jerusalem Post.  

An Israeli police spokesman told the paper the case was "an old thing" and refused to comment further on the case.  

As the top administrator at the Canadian Embassy in Tel Aviv, Wardle was responsible for managing a $3 million budget, arranging security for embassy staff, and ensuring that Canadian diplomats abided by Israeli law as they performed their duties, said the paper – Albawaba.com 

© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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