A man linked to one of the most notorious organized crime rings in Israel and who on his own operated “a vast international criminal conspiracy engaged in drug trafficking and money laundering” according to federal authorities has been sentenced to 384 months in federal prison.
Moshe Matsri, 48, was found guilty by a federal jury last October 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. He was convicted pursuant to a grand jury indictment that outlined Matsri’s role as leader of an organized crime enterprise that engaged in criminal behavior, including laundering money for narcotics traffickers.
Matsri, who is also known as “Moshe the Religious”, is a well-known crime figure in the San Fernando Valley, and has significant ties to the Abergil organized crime family, which is based in Israel and also operates internationally.
Matsri was found guilty following a two-week trial that also led to the conviction of Shay Paniry, 36, of Studio City, on drug trafficking, money laundering and extortion charges. Paniry has been sentenced to 210 months in federal prison.
Matsri and Paniry have been in custody since July 12, 2013, when they and several co-defendants were arrested as the result of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Los Angeles Police Department.
The evidence presented at trial showed that Matsri agreed to help two undercover agents who he thought they were a Colombian drug trafficker and his Los Angeles-based associate transport what he believed to be cocaine from Los Angeles to Utah in a car with a hidden trap compartment, and collect what he believed to be a $40,000 drug debt using vandalism and threats of violence. Matsri also developed a plan to ship 20 kilograms of cocaine from Panama to Israel, and he paid $79,500 in cash for his share of the deal. Furthermore, Matsri proposed a deal to purchase 100 kilograms of cocaine on credit in Los Angeles for sale in New York — a deal that culminated in his arrest nearly two years ago.
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