An appeals court in Northern Norway declared seven out of eight convicts tied to the Hells Angels motorcycle club in Norway guilty as charged after being prosecuted for narcotics violations as part of an organized crime unit.
The case has marked the first time that Norwegian police and prosecutors have won convictions using a so-called “mafia paragraph” in the law.
The Hålogaland lagmannsrett, the appeals court in Tromsø that serves the counties of Nordland, Troms and Finnmark, upheld nearly all the convictions handed down by the Tromsø city court in June. One defendant from Bardufoss was acquitted of the mafia charge, but already was convicted on other narcotics charges earlier this year.
Rune Olsgaard, spokesman for the Hells Angels in Norway, called the convictions “tragic for the club and first and foremost for those affected.” He claimed that only six members of the club have been convicted on narcotics charges since 1992. The new convictions more than double that, and Olsgaard admitted it was a burden. He told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK), though, that he was glad the eight men face sentencing as individuals and not as Hells Angels members.
Three of the eight are full-fledged members of Hells Angels, the others were linked to the club in other ways, according to police. Sentencing was set for next week.