Israeli gang leader begins extradition hearing in South Africa court

Yaniv Ben Simon will be back in a South African court next week where he faces charges of drug, unlicensed firearm and ammunition possession.

  A joint interpol and South African police task-force detained Israeli fugitive Yaniv Yossi Ben Simon and 7 associates during an early morning raid on a house in Bryanston, Johannesburg, South Africa, November 17, 2022 (photo credit: SOUTH AFRICAN POLICE SERVICES/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)
A joint interpol and South African police task-force detained Israeli fugitive Yaniv Yossi Ben Simon and 7 associates during an early morning raid on a house in Bryanston, Johannesburg, South Africa, November 17, 2022
(photo credit: SOUTH AFRICAN POLICE SERVICES/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)

Israeli gang leader Yaniv Ben Simon appeared in court on Friday for an extradition hearing after his arrest by South African police on Thursday.

The 46-year-old, wanted for conspiracy to commit murder and attempted murder, is known for his connections to Abergil Israeli crime family, specifically as the right-hand man of the family's imprisoned leader Yitzhak Abergil, and has been on Interpol's Red Notice list since 2015.

Ben Simon was arrested together with seven other people during an operation conducted by Interpol and various units of SAPS, with intelligence assistance given by Israel Police, according to local reports.

The accused will be back in a South African court next week where he faces charges of drug, unlicensed firearm and ammunition possession, as well as charges of possession of prohibited firearms, South African police said in a statement.

 Yitzhak Abergil, of the Abergil crime family, arrives at the Tel Aviv District Court on February 5, 2017, as part of Case 512, targeting members of Israel's biggest criminal organization and its affiliate organizations.  (credit: FLASH90) Yitzhak Abergil, of the Abergil crime family, arrives at the Tel Aviv District Court on February 5, 2017, as part of Case 512, targeting members of Israel's biggest criminal organization and its affiliate organizations. (credit: FLASH90)

How Ben Simon's arrest went down

A statement released by South African law enforcement shortly after Ben Simon's arrest said the suspect "is part of a notorious gang dealing in drug trafficking, extortion and other criminal activities," according to Israeli authorities. 

The statement further mentioned two incidents where the suspect allegedly placed bombs under and above a victim's vehicle. 

"During an early morning take-down operation, the team pounced on an identified address in Bryanston and found the suspect and seven others, 12 firearms including five assault rifles, seven pistols and $40,000," the police statement added.