A total of 15 people have been charged with drug smuggling worth over NOK 100 million in Sweden. One of the defendants was taken in Norway.
In Nigeria, the Black Ax gang is a notorious criminal network that has built up through killings, kidnappings and drug smuggling.
Swedish police now confirm that the criminal group has settled in Stockholm.
– In my opinion, this is one of the most effective criminal syndicates in the world. Unfortunately for us, they probably have a bright future, says Lennart Karlsson, interim manager at the Klara area in Stockholm, to Swedish Radio .
Largest investigation ever
On Tuesday, charges were laid against 15 people accused of smuggling more than 132 kilos of cocaine and heroin from the Netherlands to Scandinavia. Several of the people have ties to the Black Ax.
The total street value should be around NOK 112 million.
Behind the indictment lies what is referred to as the Swedish Customs Service’s most comprehensive investigation of all time. Ten of the defendants come from Nigeria or Gambia.
Listened telephone calls, drug seizures, drug sales records and chat conversations are among the evidence against the defendants, according to investigative documents ABC News has accessed. All the accused are aged between 26 and 51, two of whom are women.
There was a tip from the police in Austria that put the Customs Service on the trail of the network.
Affected heroin price
Gill Eriksson, assistant chief of the Customs Service, believes the strike against the drug league had a clear impact in Stockholm.
– When we made many attacks in the fall of 2018, we heard from Stockholm police that the prices of heroin had doubled on the streets. So clearly we have never experienced that the work we do has affected what happens on the street, ”Eriksson tells SVT .
Through the investigation there has been cooperation with several countries in Europe.
According to the Customs Service, Black Ax is so violent that some couriers do not dare to say against the network, for fear of their own family.
Smuggled on Saturdays
Police believe the criminal network acquired the drug in the Netherlands before it was shipped to Denmark, Sweden and Norway. The mode shows that the smuggling took place mainly on trucks and cars on Saturdays.
In 2015 and 2016, one of the defendants was convicted of drug offenses in Oslo District Court. A press release from the Prosecutor’s Office states that one of the defendants was extradited from Norway.
The investigation has also revealed that several of the defendants have traveled to and from Norway, including a Dutch professional driver who is connected to the network.
Risks 10 years in prison
The lawsuit against the 15 accused starts in Gothenburg District Court October 9.
– Through our work we have seriously disrupted a West African network. It is all about huge quantities of heroin and cocaine, and we have arrested everything from suppliers in the Netherlands, wholesalers, couriers and buyers, says customs director Tony Magnusson in a press release.
All of them are charged with drug trafficking and risk from 6 to 10 years if convicted.