ERWIN — Two Israeli nationals being held here without bond on a variety of charges placed over the weekend were appointed lawyers Monday by Unicoi County General Sessions Court Judge David Shultz.
Almaliach Naor and Shnuel Daran, Tel Aviv, Israel, requested the Israeli Consulate also be notified of their incarceration. Naor told Shultz he could only speak Hebrew. Daran, who speaks both Hebrew and English, acted as a translator for Naor during the proceedings.
Erwin attorneys William Lawson and Kent Garland were appointed to represent the men. Lawson will represent Naor, while Garland was appointed Daran’s lawyer.
Unicoi County Sheriff Kent Harris arrested the two men after a rented 25-foot Ryder truck failed “to stop for my blue lights and they were speeding and swerving on Highway 352 in Flag Pond.” Harris said he finally pulled the truck over nearly three miles down the mountain at the Temple Hill community.
Harris said he found a false Florida driver’s license under Naor’s passenger seat. Harris also said one of the two threw out a vial containing some type of accelerant. The two deny throwing anything out of the truck, but Harris said he has a witness who said the men threw out several items.
The discarded vial was found by Unicoi County Sheriff’s officers who combed the area following the two men’s arrests.
Harris said after testing the vial locally it was sent to an FBI lab. “We’re still working with the FBI on the case,” he said.
At the request of Assistant District Attorney General Fred Lance, Shultz did not set bond at the brief morning hearing. However, he said he would consider the matter later Monday or today after the Israeli authorities were notified.
Harris said late Monday he was traveling to Mars Hill, N.C., to search a storage building the pair had rented from Triple A Storage, 1393 U.S. Highway 19. “We found a receipt in their truck, and we’ve received permission to inspect it,” Harris said. “One of the suspects will accompany us over there.”
Harris said upon further investigation, the Ryder truck was rented in Plantation, Fla., not Mars Hill, N.C., as previously thought. At the direction of the FBI, Harris said the vial has been sent to the director of Emergency Management for Tennessee in Sevierville. He said federal authorities had ruled out any federal charges, “unless the liquid in the vial is an illegal substance,” Harris said. State charges “are still intact,” he said.
Harris said he talked to an official at the Israeli Consulate’s office in Atlanta Monday afternoon, who in turn spoke to Daran, 22, and Naor, 19.
“He wanted to know how they were being treated,” Harris said. “Because of their religion, they are asking to be fed a special diet and we are complying with the request.”
Both men are expected to appear in Sessions Court today for a bond hearing.
Courtesy News Watcher
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