SODERTALJE, Sweden, Aug. 29 (UPI) -- The head of a Swedish criminal gang was sentenced to life in prison Thursday after being convicted in a retrial for his role in several murders, official say.
Bernard Khouri, reputed head of the "Sodertalje Network," won a new trial over concerns of a conflict of interest by one of the judges, TheLocal.se reported.
Khouri and 17 other people were convicted in the first trial in August 2012. In the retrial, all but one of the defendants were sentenced to prison for terms ranging from one year to life. One defendant will serve seven months in a juvenile detention facility.
They had faced charges including conspiracy to commit murder, murder, being an accomplice to murder, aggravated extortion, aggravated robbery and kidnapping.
The court said the gang's primary source of income was illegal gambling and extortion.
Crime dropped significantly after 20 members of the gang were arrested, said Elof Hansjons, vice chairman of the Sodertalje executive committee. Between 2008 and 2013, reported crime fell 26.5 percent, he said.
Local police and state police began working together after a shootout at a local police station and the killing of two brothers, Hansjons said. The investigation of the network eventually involved the tax authority, borders and customs officials and even social services agencies, he said.