As the trial of five people convicted of trying to smuggle drugs out of Bolivia draws to a close, three Norwegian women could have their sentences amended after police in Bolivia made false claims.
Yesterday’s summing up by the Prosecution revealed police allegedly miscalculated the amount of drugs seized at Cochabamba in 2008.
Whilst this was believed to be 22.4kg, the cocaine was apparently weighed including the bags it was being carried in.
The total amount of cocaine seized is now likely to be nearer 11kg, less than half of the original weight.
Prosecutors are in no doubt the drugs were bound for Norway, and have demanded all five in the case receive sentences between 6 and 14 years.
Meanwhile, Dagbladet claims Bolivian drugs police investigators agreed to a fee of USD 5,000 to limit their investigations.
According to NRK, there are emails that are form part of evidence from Bolivian authorities that have not been presented to Oslo District Court, where the trial is being held.
Several lawyers criticise what they view as Norwegian polices’ “naive” over reliance on proper investigations by their Bolivian counterparts.
Defence lawyer Morten Furuholmen confirms the existence of the emails, stating these, the incorrect amount of drugs, and the lack of evidence “shows that individuals at a high level have been willing to be open for corruption [by] removing evidence and making deals, and that there is a major problem in Bolivia.”
“With the right contacts, one can almost buy oneself an acquittal. With this risk in mind, we must be very careful when relating to Bolivian documents.”
Christina Øygaarden, Stine Brendemo Hagen, and Madeleine Rodriguez, as well as Norwegian-Bolivian Augusto Toro-Blacutt and his uncle Alex Ramiro Blacutt were all convicted of drugs smuggling offences.
The three women were originally sentenced to 13 years and 4 months in San Sebastian women's prison, but both Ms Brendemo Hagen’s and Ms Rodriguez’ jail terms were reduced following secret negotiations with lawyers.
Ms Øygaarden and Ms Brendemo Hagen and jumped bail, with one returning to Norway.
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