Crime Boss Yitzhak Abergil Returns to Israel to Serve Out Sentence

Influential member of Israeli crime family was convicted in U.S. of murder, financial crime, is due for release in three years.

Yaniv Kubovich
Revital Hovel
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Former Israeli crime boss Yitzhak Abergil returned to Israel Thursday after three years in prison in the United States. In accordance with his request and with Israeli law, Abergil will serve the remaining three years of his sentence in Israel.

Abergil was arrested in Israel in August 2008, together with his brother Meir, following an extradition request from authorities in the United States, where the men were wanted in connection to the murder of Israeli drug dealer Sami Atias and other crimes.

In January 2012 the brothers were extradited to the United States, where each eventually reached separate plea bargains. Yitzhak was sentenced to eight and a half years in prison after being convicted of involvement in the Atias murder, of drug dealing, money laundering and blackmail. Meir was sentenced to three and a half years on top of time served (three years) in Israel and the United States.

The police are bracing for Abergil’s return, fearing its possible repercussions for Israeli organized crime. Abergil’s crime organization has continued to operate in his absence, although ongoing disputes with rival organizations over black-market loans have hurt it. These disputes have led to a number of murders in central Israeli in the past two years.

According to Israel Police intelligence assessments, Abergil will tighten the reins of his organization now that he is back in the country.

Last July, Britain’s Guardian listed the Abergil family as one of the world’s five most powerful drug cartels, writing: “The imprisonment last year of brothers Itzhak and Meir Abergil has done little to curtail the activities of the huge organisation they led. IThe Abergils have been one of the world’s largest exporters of ecstasy, into the US and elsewhere, and prolific in gambling and embezzlement too..”

Yitzhak Abergil alighting from plane that returned him from the U.S. to Israel to serve out the three years remaining on his prison sentence for murder and other offenses, January 30, 2014.Credit: Israel Police