One of the suspected leader’s of the motorcycle club Hells Angels, which is alleged to engage in organized criminal activity in Norway, has been jailed for four years and nine months for drug dealing and robbery.
Fifty one year-old Leif Kristiansen was found guilty of masterminding a large haul of marijuana, of which he delivered one kilo to two other suspects in 2009 who he then threatened into give him NOK 480,000 (almost USD 88,000). He admitted dealing around three kilos of a 9.9 kilo haul seized by police, although the court believes that he was also involved in further amounts. He denied all other charges.
Kristiansen and four others were involved in the 9.9 kilo shipment of marijuana, with Kristiansen believed to be the one who ordered and oversaw the operations. He struck a deal with two men for the marijuana, and had another 22 year-old fetch the drugs from Oslo. Kristiansen claims that he did not know about the 9.9 kilo haul in its entirety, and was only involved in dealing around three kilos. The alleged Hells Angels leader was charged a kilo of the marijuana to the 22 year-old and a further 32-year old suspect at the Hells Angels chapter in Trolla, Trondheim, during April 2009, which he denied.
The robbery charge is connected to an incident in which Kristiansen threatened the 22 year-old and the 32 year-old to give him NOK 480,000 (almost USD 88,000) as compensation for the seizure of the 9.9 kilo marijuana shipment. He also denied this charge.
A further charge of taking part in organized crime under Norwegian law’s so-called “Mafia paragraph” was dropped by the public prosecutors. Kristiansen has previously described the accusations against him as “ridiculous,” according to news website adressa.no.
The 32 year-old man involved in the drug shipment testified against Kristiansen as the prosecution’s key witness. A former criminal who ran drug operations in Trondheim, the 32 year-old now lives under a witness protection scheme after coming to the police in May 2010 with his evidence. He claims that Hells Angels have offered a reward for anyone who kills him. The prosecution trusted his evidence, with public prosecutor Per Morten Schjetne telling newspaper Aftenposten that “the information he has come forward with has been investigated in order to confirm or deny whether it is correct.” The prosecution had suggested that the 32 year-old should be sentenced to 380 hours of community service for his part in the drug dealing. The judge gave him 420 hours community service and 60 days in prison, which had already been completed in custody.
The prosecution thinks that the 22 year-old who was involved in fetching the marijuana should receive a two-year jail term, while the two men who arranged the drugs transfer with Kristiansen should be sentenced to two years and two years and eight months respectively. Prosecutors had asked for a five and a half year sentence for Kristiansen.
Kristiansen told adressa.no that he would launch an appeal “on the spot,” describing the case as “a total farce.”
Motorcycle clubs’ ‘organized crime’
Hells Angels and a number of other international motorcycle clubs, including the Bandidos and Outlaws, are alleged to be involved in organized crime in Norway. Police have made a number of drugs, weapons and money seizures at club buildings in recent years
The public prosecutor, Per Morten Schjetne, told Aftenposten that “Kristiansen’s connection to Hells Angels and the club’s power apparatus is important in order to understand why the others felt threatened”. He suggested that “Hells Angels, the club to which Leif Kristiansen is strongly connected, appears formidable to society, and wishes to be this way.” Schjetne believes that Kristiansen “used this to his advantage.”