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Three-year jail terms for ringleaders of prison drug smuggling scheme

The United Brotherhood gang members obtained the drugs and also organised their sale and distribution.

Turun vankila.
Turku prison. Image: Vesa Moilanen / Lehtikuva
Yle News

The Southwest Finland District Court has convicted the ringleaders in an expansive prison smuggling case of aggravated drug offences.

The court sentenced each of the men, aged 41 and 50 to more than three years in jail. The judge ruled that the United Brotherhood gang members ran an operation that sold narcotics in prisons in Turku and Riihimäki between 2018 and 2019.

The defendants acquired the drugs and were also responsible for organizing sales and distribution. The narcotics were transported to the prisons in different ways.

The court upheld the prosecutor’s argument that the drug ring involved a large amount of very dangerous substances and that the operation aimed to – and succeeded in – obtaining substantial financial gain.

15 others sentenced

The prosecutor had called for sentences of more than four years for the masterminds behind the offences. However the court decided on a lighter sentence because the amount of narcotics involved was not clear in all instances. It also ruled that intercepted communications did not provide enough evidence.

The court also sentenced 15 other defendants to custodial or suspended prison terms. In some cases it handed down harsher sentences because some of the accused had criminal backgrounds or had previous convictions as members of organised criminal gangs.

Three defendants had the charges against them dismissed. All of the accused denied the charges against them for the most part.

The court ordered some of the convicted men to forfeit the proceeds of their criminal activity, an amount that totalled 40,000 euros.

Special prosecutor Petri Vaaja said he was satisfied with the outcome after reviewing the judgment.

"With respect to the main defendants the charges went through and the sentencing was appropriate. It was a challenging trial in terms of both the law and the evidence," he commented.

The sentences handed down on Friday are not enforceable as both the prosecution and the defence can appeal the verdicts in the appeal court.

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