At the end of February, four men were standing trial at the Halmstad District Court in Sweden for running a vendor shop selling narcotics on the dark web. Later on, the same week, one of the suspects confessed his crimes. Now, almost a month after two of the defendants were sentenced and the other two accused persons were set free, the prosecution appeals the judgment.
According to the court documents, the four suspects were allegedly selling narcotics on the dark web. They were charged with aggravated drug trafficking and serious drug offenses. The vendor group ordered (possibly from the dark web) bulk quantities of narcotics and resold them on darknet marketplaces for profits. The suspects allegedly sold substances to about 20 customers, police information claimed. They accepted bitcoins and shipped the narcotics in vacuum sealed packages using the national postal service.
Law enforcement authorities were already ahead of the vendor group. As they caught the trail, they started investigating them. Authorities managed to intercept some of the parcels the vendors sent to their customers containing narcotics. The seized packages were considered as part of the evidence in the trial. Additionally, police immediately detained two of the suspects after they picked up a package containing five kilograms of amphetamines from a postal delivery point in Åled, a municipality outside Halmstad, Sweden.
After their arrest, all of the defendants denied the allegations against them. However, later on, one of the suspects admitted that he picked up the narcotics from the postal delivery point on the behalf of another person. The accused person also added that he did not know that the amount of drugs in the package was so much and that there were substances other than amphetamine in the parcel.
Swedish news outlet, sverigesradio.se, conducted a brief interview with Charlotte Österlund, the prosecutor in the case.
“It started with reconnaissance and then after they were arrested, we have interrogated them,” the prosecutor said.
Österlund, when asked about the “evidence situation”, she said that she believes there is enough evidence in the case.
“This is new information for us, but it changes nothing for us”, the prosecutor said regarding the confession of one of the suspects.
On March 15, the Halmstad District Court sentenced one of the defendants, who is believed to be the main suspect in the case, to six years in prison for serious drug offenses and for selling narcotics on the dark web. Another man was convicted of complicity in the crimes, while the two other defendants were set free from police custody with the charges dropped against them.
“With regard to the principal, he [the main suspect] was sentenced to six years, but there are a few others that we believe were involved who have been acquitted,” Österlund said after the verdict.
“Not when it comes to those who have been accomplices to the crimes,” the prosecutor added after she was asked if she was satisfied with the verdict.
“I think we had a lot of evidence against him [the main suspect], which helped and transported, but we’ll look at it,” Österlund said about the main defendant’s case.
On April 11, the prosecution appealed the judgment. According to prosecutor Gisela Sjövall, there is enough evidence to convict the two “freedmen”, and that there is evidence that the man defendant who was sentenced to six years in prison could be given a longer sentence.
“We do not share the district court’s judgment,” Sjövall said in a statement. “We believe that there are circumstances that make it a greater punishment than what the court had come to the conclusion.”
There have been cases (even in Sweden) where the either the prosecution or the defendants appealed the judgment and received a harsher sentence. It seems like the prosecutors are expecting such decisions from the court of appeals on the current case too.
There is still no date when the hearing in the Court of Appeal is held. Updates in the case should be expected soon.