On Friday, the verdicts fell against the 15 who were indicted at Gothenburg District Court. All but one are sentenced to prison terms of between 9.5 and 3.5 years.
European police and Swedish customs work with Operation Sigma has provided a brutal insight into extensive drug deals connected to a Nigerian network.
Project Sigma is the name of the judicial cooperation that previously led to several judgments in the Netherlands, Austria and Denmark and just over two years after the Swedish customs participated in the first meeting, which was held in Copenhagen on July 6, 2018, the Swedish branch has reached the first conclusion.
It was the police in Austria who took the initiative for the meeting to discuss the investigation they were already conducting on drug smuggling from the Netherlands to Austria, Denmark and Sweden.
The Swedes were then informed that they had received permission to eavesdrop on the head of the Nigerian network, living in the Netherlands. Among other things, it had provided information about three telephone numbers in Sweden to recipients of the drugs.
Five days later, the customs criminal in Stockholm began eavesdropping on the Swedish numbers, and in September of the same year, several of those involved were arrested.
In total, customs have seized about 30 kilos of cocaine and heroin.
Of the 15 people charged by chamber prosecutor Anna Svedin at the National Unit Against International and Organized Crime, three are women. Six of the 15 are citizens of Nigeria, four in the Gambia, one in the Netherlands, two in Lithuania and two in Sweden. Several of the West Africans have lived in Sweden for a long time and lived under the radar of Swedish authorities.
The indictment concerned the smuggling of a total of 50 kilos of heroin, 42 kilos of cocaine and another 50 kilos of either heroin or cocaine. About 30 kilos have been seized. The value of sales “on the street” has been calculated at more than SEK 110 million.
After an extremely long trial, the Gothenburg District Court announced the verdicts on Friday. All but one of the defendants are sentenced to long prison terms for their involvement in drug dealing.
The district court writes that “the man who the prosecutors have singled out as belonging to the organization’s top echelon is convicted of extremely serious drug smuggling consisting of several times and for a long time making capsules with heroin and cocaine in the Netherlands and then made sure that these were smuggled to Sweden. The man has told in interrogation that he received deliveries of heroin and cocaine to his home in Amsterdam and he has also explained how he went closer to making swallow capsules. The man knew that the capsules would be transported to Sweden, but has completely denied knowledge that the smuggling was organized. The man is sentenced to eight years in prison for his refusal. “
The man who received the drug in Gothenburg is also convicted of extremely serious drug smuggling and extremely serious drug offences.
The man received orders in Gothenburg and forwarded these to the man in the Netherlands. He also made sure that batches of capsules were delivered further after he received the order. The man’s former sister-in-law, who is a Swedish citizen and permanent resident in Gothenburg, is also convicted of his involvement in drug dealing. The woman kept capsules in her apartment, which she then passed on to other people.
All persons who are convicted and who are not Swedish citizens are expelled after the sentence has been served, the district court writes in the judgment. They are forbidden to return here for a period of between ten years and life.
A total of 68 trial days have been held. The costs for the defence lawyers alone are SEK 27 million.
How connected the now-convicted are to the Nigerian infamous network Black Ax is disputed. – The investigation shows that an organized activity has been behind the smuggling to Sweden, but we have not found support for any connections to the Nigerian network Black Ax, says one of the court members, councillor Anna Hannell, in the district court’s press release. However, the investigators consider that they have found several connections. Karolina Lindekrantz at the National Unit Against International and Organized Crime has previously said that there is reason to believe that they worked for the occult fraternity with a known large amount of violent capital. – The accused in Gothenburg do not have to be directly connected to the organization, but there are many indications that the principals in the Netherlands belong to Black Ax. How they express themselves, how they greet each other and how they work is in good agreement with what we know about the organization, she told DN.
During the investigation, customs officials encountered several sidetracks, such as the fact that an exchange office in north-east Gothenburg had lots of banknotes hidden partly in walls and partly under desks. These banknote finds have led to an investigation by the eco-crime police. Another finding is two mobile phones of suspects that turned out to contain several films with brutal scenes where people are tortured, maimed and murdered. Several are judged to have been filmed in Africa.