Long prison sentences for ringleaders in massive drug case


According to the prosecutor, Niko Ranta-aho (left) and Janne Tranberg were the main perpetrators of the Katiska case.

Image: Emmi Korhonen / Lehtikuva ja Mikko Stig / Lehtikuva

The Helsinki District Court on Thursday handed down verdicts in an unusually large drug case.

The court sentenced the main perpetrators of the so-called Katiska drug network, Niko Ranta-aho and Janne Tranberg, to more than 10 years in prison for serious drug offenses and other charges.

The case was one of the largest drug investigations in Finnish history, involving the Cannonball and Hells Angels motorcycle gangs and an array of celebrities.

Tranberg was sentenced to 12 years and 11 months in prison, while Ranta-aho was sentenced to 11 years. Seven other men were sentenced to 8 to 10 years in prison.

The prosecutor had demanded 13-year sentences for the two main defendants, the longest possible jail term for drug offenses in Finland.

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Poliisi löysi heinäkuussa maastokätkön, josta takavarikoitiin useita kiloja amfetamiinia ja tuhansia ekstaasitabletteja.

Ranta-aho led the police to drug caches comprising 54 kilos of amphetamines and 10 kilos of MDMA (ecstasy).

Image: Poliisi

However, the court toned down Ranta-aho’s verdict as he confessed to being guilty and helped police find several drug caches.

Tranberg’s verdict, in turn, was affected by his previous imprisonment. Tranberg, the former leader of the Cannonball motorcycle gang who was arrested in Spain at the end of 2019, is already serving a sentence of almost three years for tax evasion and money laundering.

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Poliisi takavarikoi erään epäillyn hallusta yli 60,000 euros käteistä rahaa Helsinki-Vantaan lentokentällä.  Esitutkinnan mukaan epäilty oli toimittamassa rahoja Espanjaan.

One of the suspects was found with more than 60,000 euros in cash at Helsinki airport when leaving on a flight to Spain.

Image: Poliisi

A total of 53 people were charged in the Katiska case.

Among other respondents who committed serious drug offenses, Krister Wallend and Scott Hendry were sentenced to 10 years, former Cannonball executive Ari Ronkainen at 9 and a half, Juho kieloniemi at 9 years 4 months, Matias palmroth at a little over 9 years old, and Oscar Fagerström and Jarkko Hietikko to 8 years in prison.

Three other men were sentenced to 5 to 6 years in prison for various drug offenses.

Athletes, singer convicted of minor offenses

Those who received lighter sentences included several celebrities.

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Kokaiini pakataan Etelä-Amerikassa valmistusprosessin jälkeen kilon harkkoihin.  Kuvan harkon kokaiinin pitoisuus oli 85 prosenttia.

The cocaine seized during the investigation was found to be 85% pure.

Image: Poliisi

Racing sailor and businessman Janne Järvinen was convicted of aiding and abetting to commit an aggravated drug and money laundering offense. He was sentenced to two and a half years in prison. Last Friday, Järvinen and his co-sailor earned Finland a spot in the Nacra 17 sailing class at the Tokyo Olympics.

Former partner of Ranta-aho, former bikini fitness world champion Sofia Belórf, was sentenced to 80 days in prison for drug offenses and money laundering.

Samu Haber, lead singer of internationally successful pop-rock group Sunrise Avenue, was fined 10 days for drug use. He admitted to using cocaine at the 2019 Ruisrock festival.

Charges against a Hell’s Angels president, including two drug offenses, have been dismissed.

The court found that the drug, doping and smuggling network operated mainly between Finland and Spain’s Costa del Sol between 2017 and 2019.

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Poliisi takavarikoi kuvassa olevan kassin vuokramökin piharakennuksesta huhtikuussa 2019. Kassissa oli useita kiloja kokaiinia ja hasista.

A bag containing several kilos of cocaine and hashish was found in a shed of a rented cabin.

Image: Poliisi

In terms of the amount of drugs and the benefits involved, this was one of the biggest drug cases in Finnish history. Police estimated last year that the ring brought in more than 10 million euros in profit.

The sentences are not final, as some defendants are likely to bring them before the Court of Appeal.

Police codenamed the case “Katiska” (“Fish Trap”) after Katiskapolku, a small alley in Vuosaari, east Helsinki, where a victim was found stabbed on Christmas morning 2018 A search of a nearby row house revealed large amounts of drugs, triggering the multi-year investigation.


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