Swedish Police Warn Nigerian Human Trafficking Network is Spreading Through Sweden
Deadly West African occult gang 'Black Ax' is becoming 'established' in Sweden
A deadly Nigerian criminal gang, that peddles in human trafficking and drug pushing, is becoming "established" in Sweden, Swedish police warn.
The West African criminal network known as "Black Ax" is trying to establish itself in Uppsala after already infiltrating other parts of Europe, police say.
"Unfortunately, we see signs of that," says local police chief Jale Poljarevius.
Black Ax is an international criminal network based in Nigeria that has become infamous for its disturbing occult practices and now wants to enter the Uppsala market with drugs and prostitution.
The gang's main line of business is human trafficking, where they kidnap women and young girls and hold them hostage while performing "voodoo" to frighten them so they won't try to escape.
The network also profits from selling cocaine and heroin, says Chief Poljarevius of the Mittel police region.
The network has been established in Italy for several years, but, after pressure from police in the country, has spread its operations north of Europe.
They have previously been active in the Swedish cities of Malmö and Gothenburg, among others, and have recently established themselves in Stockholm.
The police now suspect that Black Ax is spreading its operations throughout Sweden.
A huge seizure of heroin during a recent drug bust reinforces the police's suspicions of the network's presence in Uppsala.
Gang violence can escalate
Police have been noting a large spike in the number of advertisements for prostitution featuring young women from Nigeria.
Jale Poljarevius notes that it is important for the police to be responsive to successfully uncover the network.
Police fear that many victims have been scared into silence through the gang's occult practices, with many too afraid to testify.
Police are now concerned that the flood of drugs into Sweden could also lead to violence due to rivalry from other criminal gangs.
"There is a lot of cocaine but not so many users, so the market is quite saturated," explains Poljarevius.
"It would lead to violence rather than cooperation."