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DRUG DEALERS RELEASED EARLY, DEPORTED IN PATAKI PROGRAM

Pataki administration policies have paroled four major drug dealers before they served their minimum sentence, a newspaper reported Sunday.

The drug traffickers were part of an early release program that the Republican governor created as a way to save tax dollars by paroling and deporting noncitizens, according to the report in the Daily News.

Since its inception in 1995, the program has paroled and deported 1,277 inmates, the Daily News reported, with 158 of those convicted for the most serious drug felonies.

Prosecutors have criticized the program as a "legal jailbreak." And the report adds that a federal OVER 32 LNsgrand jury is now inquiring into the release of two Israeli drug dealers -- and whether their release came after lobbying by Leon Perlmutter, an Orthodox Satmar Hasidic businessman who is a Pataki fund-raiser.

The paroled-and-deported convicts include Israelis Ziv Oved, 47, sentenced to six years to life for a $1 million-a-week drug ring, and Moshe Cohen, 37, sentenced to 18 years to life for smuggling 12 ounces of heroin.

The others are from Colombia: Javier Rodriguez, 39, sentenced to eight years to life for carrying nearly 40 pounds of cocaine, and Carlos Gomez, 31, sentenced to 8 1/3 years to life for carrying 650 pounds of cocaine and two guns.

The Daily News said prosecutors convinced the Pataki administration to reverse its parole of two Cali cartel leaders who had been captured carrying thousands of pounds of cocaine.

Pataki spokesman Michael McKeon said prisoners were paroled only after the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service agreed to deport them.

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