handcuffs lying on coins

32 Years in Prison for Israeli Organized Crime Boss

An Israeli linked to one of that nation’s organized crime rings and who operated “a vast international criminal conspiracy engaged in drug trafficking and money laundering” was sentenced last week to 384 months in federal prison.

The Israeli, Matsri, aka “Moshe the Religious,” was a crime figure in California’s San Fernando Valley with significant ties to the Abergil organized crime family. A grand jury identified Matsri as the leader of a global organized crime enterprise.

He was found guilty last year by a federal jury of conspiracy to commit money laundering, conspiracy to distribute at least five kilograms of cocaine, eight counts of money laundering, attempted distribution of at least five kilograms of cocaine, attempted possession with intent to distribute at least five kilograms of cocaine and conspiracy to commit extortion.

An investigation found that Matsri and co-defendants “conducted complex, layered transactions to wire money through shell accounts in locations as far-flung as the Marshall Islands, Cyprus, and Gibraltar,” according to the sentencing memo that also outlines how Matsri “used a network of trusted individuals to bypass the financial system entirely, using ‘hawala’ transactions to move cash instantaneously from New York to Los Angeles, and from Vancouver to Los Angeles.”

Matsri and an associate, Shay Paniry, have been held in custody since July 2013, when they and several codefendants were arrested following an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD).

They were caught in a sting where they agreed to help two undercover agents posing as a Colombian drug trafficker and his Los-Angeles-based associate transport drugs from Los Angeles to Utah in exchange for a payment, and also developed plans to ship 20 kilograms of cocaine from Panama to Israel and separately, to buy 100 kilograms of cocaine on credit for sale in New York.

The New York deal culminated in Matsri’s arrest two years ago.


Posted in The Takedown


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