Swedish cocaine smuggler handed 18-year jail sentence

A Swedish court Friday sentenced a 40-year-old Swede as the mastermind behind a drug ring linked to a massive Caribbean cocaine bust to 18 years in prison.

Jonas Oredsson led a drug ring linked to a record cocaine bust in June 2010 on a sailboat off Martinique, where police seized Colombian cocaine worth around one billion kronor (120 million euros, $156 million).

French customs said the 1.2-tonne haul was the largest drug find in the country's history.

The punishment reflected Oredsson's criminal record, the Stockholm District court said in a statement.

One of Sweden's most dangerous criminals, Oredsson had previously escaped the authorities on three different occasions.

A 56-year-old man who was the only person onboard the sailboat at the time of the bust, Mauritz Andersson, was sentenced to the maximum penalty of 14 years in jail given the "exceptional magnitude" of the crime, the court said.

A 50-year-old woman related to Oredsson was sentenced to five years and six months in jail for money laundering after receiving 44 million kronor.

Two other men, aged 30 and 33, were given eight and one year jail terms, respectively, for their roles in a failed attempt to smuggle 700 kilos of cocaine from Colombia to Sweden in 2009.

Swedish police and prosecutors launched the probe -- their biggest ever -- into the international drug ring in 2008, cooperating extensively with European Union agencies Eurojust and Europol, as well as with a long line of national authorities, especially in France and Spain.