«Staten Island drug kingpin granted release from house arrest to visit rabbi's tomb, prepare for wedding
By John M. Annese/Staten Island Advance
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on December 24, 2013 at 6:55 PM, updated December 25, 2013 at 2:30 AM
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- A Staten Island pot kingpin will be allowed to leave his house arrest so he can prepare for his upcoming wedding to his pregnant fiancee, including a trip to the tomb of a prominent Hasidic rabbi.
From 2007 through 2010 Jonathan Braun traded in more than 110 tons of marijuana as the kingpin of a billion-dollar international drug ring that smuggled the contraband from Canada into the U.S. through a Native American reservation on the New York state border, according to federal authorities.
He did so all while living in his parents' Meiers Corners home on Buchanan Avenue, prosecutors said.
Federal prosecutors said the enterprise generated more money than the Gross Domestic Product of a small country, and in 2011, he took a plea deal. He faces a minimum of 10 years to a maximum of life in prison when sentenced.
Earlier this month, Braun requested the court grant him "permission to leave his residence for various activities related to his wedding and his fiancee's pregnancy," according to a letter drafted by his attorney, John Meringolo. He was released to home confinement on $8 million bond.
Braun is an Orthodox Jew and a "staunch observer," according to an earlier filing by Meringolo.
U.S. District Court Judge Sandra L. Townes granted the request, which includes:
A trip to the tomb of the late Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, at the Ohel Chabad-Lubavitch Center in Queens.
A visit to his future in-laws' house to make the official announcement of the engagement.
Permission to attend his engagement party, his wedding, and a seven night ceremony referred to as "Sheva Brachot," where, according to his attorney's letter, "close family members gather at a home or restaurant and recite blessings for the newly married couple."
Leave to shop for a wedding rings, attend tuxedo fittings and conduct other wedding planning-related activities.
Permission to accompany his fiance, who his four to five weeks pregnant, to medical appointments.»
Staten Island drug kingpin granted release from house arrest to visit rabbi's tomb, prepare for wedding | SILive.com