A Norwegian Court Jails Former Police Officer for Drug Smuggling

A retired Norwegian senior police officer was sentenced to 21 years in prison on Monday for taking bribes in exchange for helping a “hash baron" smuggle 14 tonnes of drugs into the country over a decade.

seedling-1062908 960 720Cannabis plant (Photo: 7raysmarketing, CC0 1.0)

Eirik Jensen – a 60 year-old former officer specialized in the fight against criminal gangs – was given the country's maximum sentence for helping the infamous drug trafficker Gjermund Cappelen smuggle nearly 14 tonnes of cannabis into Norway between 2004 and 2013.

He is believed to have received in return at least 667,800 kroner (US$ 85,454) in bribes.

The court found that Jensen has leaked information on police and customs activities to Cappelen through hundreds of cryptic phone text messages.

In particular, Jensen used to inform Cappelen that he was not under police surveillance by sending him texts with the term “sunshine”.

The two men are now sworn enemies as Cappelen unveiled the role of the former police officer in the hopes of having his punishment reduced.

The information he provided to the authorities led to the arrest of Jensen in 2014 and Cappelen was the prosecution’s key witness for Jensen's trial.

He was himself sentenced to 15 years in prison and had about US$ 106 million in assets confiscated.

However, Jensen denied all charges. He claimed that he used Cappelen as an informant and that their contacts were part of the usual police work intended to extract information about drug smuggling activities.

His lawyer said he was thus likely to appeal.

The case drew substantial public attention in Norway as police corruption is rare in this country, which is ranked the world’s sixth-least corrupt country by watchdog Transparency International.