Mob boss Rosenstein convicted of conspiracy charges in plea

Kingpin to serve 5 years in addition to jail time over drug trafficking.

February 21, 2011 04:49
2 minute read.
zeev rosenstein 248 88

zeev rosenstein 248 88. (photo credit: Channel 2)

The Nazareth District Court approved on Sunday a plea bargain between the state and convicted crime boss Ze’ev Rosenstein for his role in the killing of three criminal rivals on a Kinneret beach in 2001.

Rosenstein pleaded guilty to the charge of conspiracy to commit a felony, and in exchange the district attorney for the northern district dropped the indictment clause charging him with ordering the hit.

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According to the deal, Rosenstein will serve five years in prison in addition to the 12 years he is already serving for an American conviction for Ecstasy trafficking.

Rosenstein was extradited to the US in 2006, and was returned to Israel in 2007 to serve his first sentence.

Rosenstein was initially linked to the three murders by a suspect arrested in September 2009 during a massive police raid on a cocaine smuggling ring.

One man arrested in the raid, who became a state witness, told police Rosenstein had ordered the murders of underworld figures Rafi Weitzman, David Ben-Mergi and Sharon Musawi, in revenge for their attempt to have Rosenstein killed in 1996. Later, a second state witness, a man also said to belong to the criminal underworld, linked Rosenstein to the murders, claiming the kingpin had paid $100,000 for the hit.

Guy Weberman, who is considered to have been Rosenstein’s lieutenant, was also convicted of the same charges as a result of the plea bargain. In his case, the prosecution asked for a three-year sentence to be added to the two life sentences he is currently serving.

Shalva Levine, from the Nazareth DA’s office, said that the plea bargain was reached because of the lack of hard evidence linking Rosenstein with the crime. She said that much of the testimonies were old and the evidence difficult to obtain, and that there was also evidence that the killers had independent motives to kill the victims.

Both sides asked the judges, David Cheshin, Avraham Avraham and Yonatan Avraham, to approve the plea bargain and the recommended sentencing, noting that the decision had been reached in consultation with the state attorney.

In the pleas for sentencing, Rosenstein’s lawyer, Avigdor Feldman, asked the court to take into account Rosenstein’s age – he will be 70 at the time of his scheduled release – and the fact that he had left the life of crime a decade ago.

The judges’ approved the plea bargain and convicted the two men of the conspiracy charges and their sentencing as agreed on by the lawyers.

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