Top Israeli crime lords extradited to U.S.

Jan. 12, 2011 at 8:22 AM
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TEL AVIV, Israel, Jan. 12 (UPI) -- Israel extradited five top criminals to the United States Wednesday for trial on murder, money laundering and other charges, officials said.

Underworld king-pins Meir Abergil and his brother Yitzhak were taken to Ben Gurion International Airport where U.S. federal agents and air marshals escorted them on a direct flight to Los Angeles, Haaretz said.

Special police and anti-crime units were deployed at the airport along with snipers on nearby rooftops, Israel Radio said.

The two were arrested in August 2008 following a request from U.S. officials to extradite them, the newspaper said. Efforts to delay their extradition failed.

They are suspected of involvement in the murder of Israeli drug dealer Sami Atias, money-laundering, drug-trafficking and affiliation with a crime organization, said.

If convicted, they will serve their sentences in Israel, the paper said.

Three other suspects -- Yisrael Ozifa, Moshe Malul and Sasson Barashi -- were also to board the flight. The three are suspected of money laundering, extortion and drug trafficking and are also suspected of killing Atias, the newspaper said.

The five were indicted in California in 2008 and extradition papers were filed the same year, the paper said. Their arrests and extradition climax a six-year investigation by U.S. and Israeli police aided by several other countries, the paper said.

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