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Crime writer takes drug sting to European Court

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Photo: The Local
17:11 CEST+02:00
Crime author Jens Lapidus plans to help a Swedish man caught up in a massive drug sting involving weapons for Colombian guerillas, cocaine, and the DEA.
The Swede, named Patrik by the Dagens Nyheter (DN), was arrested in June 2012 and sentenced to three years in jail for aggravated weapon crimes.
 
The paper reported that Patrik was an ordinary man with no criminal record, who made the mistake of helping a childhood friend by delivering a bag to Denmark. The bag contained a rocket launcher and an assault rifle.
 
Patrik accepted 2,500 kronor ($363) from his friend to deliver the package from Stockholm to Denmark and into the hands of the Danish undercover police.
 
However, the Swede maintained that he had no idea what was inside the bag.
 
The move, it turned out, was part of a large-scale sting operation involving the DEA in the US, who were targeting Patrik's friend, nightclub owner Paul Mardirossian. Mardirossian is an international arms and drug dealer who agreed to supply weapons to the Marxist rebel group FARC with the knowledge that they would be used for an assault on the US military in Colombia.
 
But back in Europe, some questioned whether the Danish police were illegally provoking drug crimes by setting up the sting that caught Patrik red-handed, which would usually mean the victims can be set free. The Danish Supreme Court disagreed, however, stating that the sting was set up for Mardirossian and not Patrik, meaning Patrik was sent to jail back in Sweden.
 
"It feels strange to have been sentenced, when even the court said that I was a victim of an illegal action," Patrik told DN. 
 
In the latest twist in the tale, Jens Lapidus - lawyer and author of smash hit Swedish crime novel Snabba Cash - has decided to take up the case and bring it before the European Court of Human Rights.
 
 
"I think Denmark has done wrong here," Lapidus told DN. 
 
He said in his complaint to the European Court that "the action would have never come into existence without the American drug authority's active influence".
 
"In the US it is much more accepted that the police actively provoking crimes in order to arrest the perpetrators. We're running into these problems more as the international cooperation is increasing."

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American prosecutors have been keen on the case of the Swede's childhood friend, Mardirossian, who they say was out to help the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).
 
Mardirossian allegedly agreed to supply FARC with rocket-propelled grenade launchers and assault rifles, in exchange for "large quantities of cocaine," prosecutors said in 2011.
 
The Swede faces life in prison if convicted on charges including conspiracy to engage in narco-terrorism, conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization, attempted cocaine smuggling, and money laundering.
 
The Local/og/AFP

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