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Court convicts ringleader in 'Katiska 2' drug trial

Niko Ranta-aho was previously sentenced to 11 years in prison in April in the so-called 'Katiska' case.

Syytetty Niko Ranta-aho Katiska 2- huumejutun pääkäsittelyssä Helsingin käräjäoikeudessa 1. kesäkuuta.
Niko Ranta-aho arriving in court. Image: Heikki Saukkomaa / Lehtikuva

Helsinki District Court has sentenced Niko Ranta-aho to two years in prison for his involvement in the so-called 'Katiska 2' drug ring.

Ranta-aho was convicted of aggravated drug offenses and other charges in April this year, in the so-called 'Katiska' case, and received an 11-year prison term. The court took this verdict into consideration when handing down the latest sentence.

The prosecutor had demanded a separate 13-year prison sentence for Ranta-aho, on top of the previous conviction.

In its ruling, the court said that Ranta-aho had brought a large volume of drugs to Finland with his fellow defendants in the Katiska 2 case, including a shipment from Slovakia last year, which was intercepted by Customs officers.

Ranta-aho and some of his co-defendants were also charged with attempting to import amphetamine oil, but this charge was dismissed.

Police traced messages

A fresh investigation was launched shortly after Ranta-aho was released from pre-trial detention last summer in order to trace the proceeds of his crimes. On the basis of that investigation, police suspected that Ranta-aho was planning to continue to import and distribute drugs.

Police gained access to encrypted conversations on the Sky ECC messaging service, which led to suspicions that large quantities of drugs were being smuggled into Finland.

The prosecutor's evidence in the case was largely based on messages sent and received on the Sky ECC app, which has since been shut down. The defence, on the other hand, strongly questioned the evidence obtained from the phones.

During the trial, Ranta-aho admitted that he had arranged for more than 22,000 ecstasy tablets and more than 70,000 tablets classified as narcotics to be smuggled into Finland. However, he argued that the larger batch of tablets were related to the initial Katiska case, for which he had already been convicted.

However, the court rejected Ranta-aho's claims.

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