Top mobster granted parole from prison

Release comes as state prosecution says won’t appeal decision to grant freedom after 2.5 years behind bars to Meir Abergil, who ran crime ring along with brother

Meir Abergil of the Abergil crime family, seen in the District Court in Tel Aviv on July 18, 2018, (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Illustrative: Meir Abergil of the Abergil crime family, seen in the District Court in Tel Aviv on July 18, 2018. (Miriam Alster/Flash90/File)

Meir Abergil, who along with his brother was considered one of the most prominent mobsters in Israel, was granted parole from prison Thursday after serving two and a half years of a five-year sentence.

His release came after the state prosecution said it would not appeal the decision by a parole board to set Abergil free.

It was the second time Abergil had faced the parole board as an earlier request for release was rejected.

Abergil was sentenced in 2018 by the Tel Aviv District Court as part of a plea bargain, in which he admitted to being involved in a failed attempt to kill rival underworld figure Zeev Rosenstein, who survived, and that instead killed three innocent bystanders. Another 18 were injured in the 2003 bombing.

He was also convicted of drug and financial crimes as part of an operation that brought 480 kilograms of cocaine to Israel.

Abergil and his brother Yitzhak, who is still in prison, were considered heavyweights of Israel’s criminal underworld.

He was arrested in 2015 as part of an investigation into a global drug trafficking and money-laundering operation they ran around the period 2002-2006.

The multi-year investigation, dubbed “Case 512” and described as one of the largest underworld busts in Israel’s history, encompassed some 40 individual investigations into crimes committed over more than a decade by some 50 suspects, Israel police have said.

The Abergil brothers were previously arrested in August 2008 in Israel, following an American extradition request, after they were named in an indictment that charged them with using a San Fernando Valley gang to distribute one million MDMA pills, colloquially known as Ecstasy, and paying a gang member to kill a man for stealing a drug shipment.

They both spent time in US prison. Meir was released in a plea agreement and returned to Israel, but was then arrested again in Case 512. Yitzhak, who in 2012 was given an 8.5-year sentence, was returned to Israel in 2014 to serve the remainder of his sentence in an Israeli prison.

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