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L.A.’s Israeli Crime Leader ‘Moshe the Religious’ Gets 32 Years in Prison

Moshe Matsri, headlined in the local media as an “Israeli crime leader,” was sentenced to 32 years in prison for drug trafficking, money laundering and extortion.

Nicknamed “Moshe the Religious,” Matsri, 49, was sentenced Friday in the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, after being convicted by a federal grand jury last October.

During the sentencing, reported the Los Angeles Times, Matsri “sat shackled in court, wearing a blue kippah, glasses low on his nose and rocking back and forth.”

In recent years, Matsri operated out of the San Fernando Valley section of Los Angeles, prosecutors said, but maintained close ties with the Israel-based Abergil organized crime family.

Prosecutors charged that Matsri used “his sophisticated network to move over $660,000 in cash, which he believed were drug proceeds, across international borders and the United States, in exchange for over $57,000 in commissions.”

Dean Steward, Matsri’s lawyer, said he would file an appeal and argued that his client, a father of five, was a deeply religious and charitable man.

Matsri has been in custody since July 2013, when he was arrested by U.S. officials. Police authorities in Israel, as well as in Holland, Belgium and Canada, aided the U.S. prosecution’s case.

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