In the middle of November, the Skaraborg District Court charged four individuals for drug trafficking. Sofia Karlsson, the lead prosecutor, then explained the 6,000-page indictment over several weeks. After she finished reading the charges, she urged the court to sentence the group’s leaders to 14-years in prison. Karlsson provided the court, and judge, enough evidence to agree upon a guilty charge. Recent news revealed that the head of the operation only received eight years in prison.

On the day before Christmas Eve—December 23—the Mariestad-based leader appeared before a judge at the Skaraborg District Court. Against the prosecutor’s better judgment, the superseding judge gave the 35-year-old eight years and six months in prison. Chief Inspector Lars Johansson, the case’s lead officer, similarly opted for the strictest punishment—14 years imprisonment. Johansson oversaw another similar case where he disagreed with the short sentencing. “In a similar case, the Court of Appeals sentenced two drugs dealers to both six and ten years,” he told reporters. “This [case] should have an even higher penalty given how extensive their trade was. Though of course it is the district court’s discretion.”

A news report from P4 Skaraborg revealed how the bust occurred. The primary suspect’s girlfriend, reported in many articles the suspect’s “cohabitator,” texted her boss information about the operation. She said her boyfriend “operated a vast drug trafficking ring.” This information, according to the P4 Skaraborg interviewer, slipped out accidentally. The girlfriend texted her employer about the primary suspect, her boyfriend, and how he currently frightened her. She claimed he took ecstasy and acted erratically.

Her boss then called the police—an action that ultimately resulted in the ring’s downfall. Once the police arrive at the scene, they discovered the base of operations. Initially, Johansson said “we assumed that this was about a packer, distributor. But this is a big seller. Operations also spread [worldwide].” The couple’s Mariestad apartment served as a base of operations for the darknet distribution group.

Throughout the course of the investigation, detectives learned that the apartment owner, the man, ran the darknet-side of the operation. He obtained the drugs and also handled the online transactions. His girlfriend only created bank accounts where the crew deposited money. Because of the woman’s lesser role, her lawyer fought for a release from the Mariestad jail—and ultimately succeeded. In the same vein, because of his greater role in the network, Karlsson urged the judge for the 14-year maximum sentence.

The court began hearing the charges placed against the four group members on November 9—and three of them faced serious drug charges. Member number four received lesser charges and appeared in connection with the group only rarely. On December 9, one month later, the court heard every charge in the 6,000-page document. The judge scheduled sentencing for December 23. On the scheduled court date, the two primary male suspects received prison sentences of eight years and six months. For only “complicity in the narcotics crimes,” the judge sentenced the girlfriend to one-year in jail. The final member of the group avoided this sentencing—his court date remains unannounced.

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