LOS ANGELES (AP) — A suspected Israeli crime lord pleaded guilty Monday to being part of a racketeering enterprise that distributed Ecstasy pills and whose members killed a man for stealing a large drug shipment, a defense attorney said.
Yitzhak Abergil entered his plea in a Los Angeles federal courtroom, defense attorney Mark Werksman said. As part of a plea agreement, Werksman said Abergil will serve a 10-year sentence. Sentencing is set for May 21.
“The Israeli and US governments have their boots on his neck with these cases and if he didn’t enter into an agreement like this he faced the risk of being obliterated and getting a life sentence,” said Werksman, who added that it is an exaggeration to label his client as a crime boss.
Abergil and his brother were arrested in 2008 in Israel after they were named in an indictment that charged them with using a San Fernando Valley gang to distribute 1 million Ecstasy pill and paying a gang member to kill a man for stealing a drug shipment.
Prosecutors believe Abergil was one of the largest importers of narcotics into the United States. They said his family worked with another drug syndicate, the Jerusalem Network, as well as a Los Angeles gang to traffic Ecstasy.
The indictment stated that the Abergil and Jerusalem organizations had previously been involved in the largest bank embezzlement scheme in Israel’s history and engaged in illegal activities in the U.S. to launder the proceeds of the scheme.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.