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Man linked to $15 million shipment of Ecstasy pills sentenced to more than 10 years in prison

A Los Angeles man was sentenced here in federal court today to 121 months in prison for his role in a scheme to import 300 pounds of Ecstasy pills valued at some $15 million from France to California back in 2000.

Yacov "Jacob" Yida, 49, was sentenced today by Judge Charles R. Breyer. The charges against Yida are the result of an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

According to court documents, in May 2000, Yida and others arranged to import the Ecstasy by creating false shipping documents and then routing the contraband through co-conspirators who had the ability to bring in shipments without detection by law enforcement. 

After receiving a tip from a confidential source, federal agents created a fictitious business and directed a cooperating source to provide the name of the business to Yida's co-conspirator. When the shipment of 500,000 Ecstasy pills arrived in the United States, it was intercepted by federal agents, who made a controlled delivery.  Federal agents observed Yida at the meet location and subsequently attempted to arrest him. He fled the country to Mexico where he remained a fugitive until his extradition in 2005. A jury convicted Yida of the charges in December 2007. 

"Ecstasy trafficking is hugely lucrative and young people are typically the biggest market for this drug," said Mark Wollman, special agent in charge for the ICE office of investigations in San Francisco. "Given the risks to our nation's youth and the volume of illicit profits involved, combating this type of criminal activity is a top ICE enforcement priority."