A 43-year-old Israeli man pleaded guilty today to a federal murder charge for a 2003 killing in Sherman Oaks where the victim interfered with a drug deal.
Itzhak Abergil, the leader of the Abergil crime family, pleaded guilty to charges including racketeering conspiracy to commit murder, conspiracy to import the drug Ecstasy and racketeering conspiracy to commit extortion, U.S. Attorney Andre Birotte Jr. announced.
Abergil admitted that Sami Atias was fatally shot for interfering with a drug deal in which Atias and others were involved, Birotte said.
A second defendant, 52-year-old Israel Ozifa of Israel, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to import Ecstasy, Birotte said.
The two were charged in a 77-page federal grand jury indictment issued July 2008.
Co-defendant Moshe Malul is due for trial on Sept. 25 on racketeering and murder charges based on Malul's alleged hiring of the members of the Vineland Boys street gang, which is based in North Hollywood, to kill Atias in retaliation for Atias stealing Ecstasy that belonged to Malul and others.
Agents intercepted about 100,000 Ecstasy pills at hubs in the Midwest that were being transshipped to Southern California. The street price for the drugs was estimated at about $2 million.
Abergil, Ozifa and co-conspirators were under investigation by Belgian authorities at the time.
Itzhak Abergil, his brother Meir Abergil and Ozifa were extradited in January 2011 to the United States from Israel -- the first extradition under Israel's racketeering law, which parallels the U.S.'s federal racketeering statue known as RICO.
Itzhak Abergil is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Christina A. Snyder on May 21 and Ozifa is due to be sentenced by the same judge two days later.