57 Convicted In Swedish Doping Ring

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STOCKHOLM, Sweden, Aug. 4 (UPI) — After a lengthy trial, 57 people were convicted for their roles in a massive doping ring, one of the largest criminal cases in Swedish history, officials said.

Seventy people were originally charged in the case for manufacturing and selling illegal doping drugs, the Swedish news agency TT reported Thursday.

Sentence length varied, but most received terms of several years.

Defense lawyer Gunnar Falk, who represented a Solleftea man, said his client’s prison term was too long.

“I haven’t had a chance to read through the comprehensive ruling, but I can say spontaneously that my client’s sentence was too harsh,” Falk told TT.

Falk said he would appeal his client’s sentence as too severe.

The group’s allegedly ringleader, a Swede believed to be living in Serbia from proceeds generated from the sale of doping materials, remained at large.

“The man managed the operations from Spain and Portugal where doping materials which had been imported from China were processed … for further transport to various addresses in Sweden,” chief prosecutor Marina Amonsson told TT in October 2010, when the charges were filed.

The trial started in November 2010; it reportedly cost about 58 million kronor — about $9 million — in legal fees.

The doping drugs were used by athletes seeking to illegally improve performance; many of those arrested were bodybuilders, officials said.

“All of the confiscated material filled a huge underground storage facility in Sundsvall and a number of police storage facilities were used as well,” said Detective Henrik Blusi, an officer involved in carrying out surveillance on the network.

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