The daughter of an Israeli politician and former defense minister has been jailed in New York in connection with a prescription drug fraud case in Florida, authorities said Thursday.
Talya Ben-Eliezer, 39, was arrested at John F. Kennedy International Airport on Wednesday evening after arriving for a flight to Tel Aviv, police and prosecutors said.
An official familiar with the arrest confirmed that she is the daughter of Binyamin Fuad Ben-Eliezer, who is a member of Israel's legislature, the Knesset. The 75-year-old lawmaker and former military commander previously served as defense minister and deputy prime minister, along with several other senior government posts.
Talya Ben-Eliezer was detained at the airport at around 8:40 p.m. after a routine check performed on all air passengers leaving the country revealed that a warrant had been issued for her arrest in Hillsborough County, whose largest city is Tampa, Fla., last July, according to spokesmen for the airport's police force and Queens prosecutors.
The charge listed on the warrant was for "obtaining a controlled substance by fraud," and the case had to do with a prescription drug, purchased at a pharmacy, the district attorney's office said.
A person who had been briefed on the circumstances of the arrest said that Ben-Eliezer was taking painkillers for a medical condition and had attempted to get twice the number of pills allowed by making a copy of her prescription and taking it to two pharmacies. That person and the official familiar with the arrest spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation.
Ben-Eliezer was in custody awaiting arraignment Thursday evening and couldn't be reached for comment. It was unclear whether she had hired a lawyer.
A spokesman for Israel's consulate in New York, Shahar Azani, said the office has a policy of not commenting on criminal matters involving Israeli citizens.