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Seven people convicted in what is referred to as the biggest drug case in Norwegian history

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Seven people were sentenced to long prison terms on Wednesday in what is being referred to as the biggest drug case in Norwegian history. Illustration photo: Trond Reidar Teigen / NTB

Of NTB | 17.04.2024 16:53:04

Crime and justice: All have been convicted under the so-called mafia clause, which allows for more severe punishments for organized groups of criminals.

It was Aftenposten who mentioned the judgment first.

The six men are in their 30s and 40s, while the woman is in her 20s. Three of the men are Norwegian-Moroccan, while one of the men is Norwegian-Eritrean.

Two of the men have been sentenced to 21 years in prison and have been sentenced to confiscation of over NOK 25 and 20 million, respectively. One man was sentenced to 19 years in prison and confiscation of NOK 1.9 million, while another of the men was sentenced to 17 years and six months in prison. The last two men received 13 and 8 years in prison respectively, while the woman has been sentenced to 6 years in prison.

It is not yet clear whether any of the seven will appeal the verdict. All seven took time to reflect when they had the around 200-page verdict read out on Wednesday afternoon.

The network is said to have been behind the importation of large quantities of cocaine, heroin and other narcotic substances worth several hundred million kroner. Much of the substance was smuggled into the country through small forest roads from Sweden.

The imports took place repeatedly over a period from 2020 to 2022. Most of the defendants in the case were arrested on 29 March 2022 in a planned operation, while the other arrests took place shortly afterwards.

The persons partly used code language and messages back and forth to coordinate all the imports across the border to Norway.

Several of the defenders in the case have been critical of using the encrypted messages as weighty evidence in the case. The defenders have shown that several of the messages have not been made available to the defenders, and that there are several technical deficiencies in the message exchanges.

In the judgment, the court explains why they find no reason to doubt the encrypted messages:

– In the court’s opinion, the errors and shortcomings pointed out by the defenders do not weaken confidence in the wording of the messages. Several of the defendants, and also other witnesses, confirm that the content is correct, the judgment states.

– Last, but not least, emphasis is placed on the messages because they are supplemented by other weighty evidence in the case.

A full three months were set aside for the trial in the Oslo district court when the case was before the court last autumn.

And it was precisely these messages between the convicts on the encrypted communication platform SKY ECC that exposed the drug trafficking.

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