The men, from the Trondheim area in central Norway are charged with making home made Viagra and performance-enhancing steroids over a period of several years.
The seven men going on trial at Sør-Trøndelag district court are described by prosecutors as an “organized criminal group” and five of them are being prosecuted under laws designed to deal with mafia-style groups. The 44-year-old man accused by prosecutors of being the ringleader is thought to have made more than 3.3 million tablets over a nine year period.
Police have been investigating the case for two years, since newspaper Dagens Næringsliv highlighted the existence of the online steroids exchange Anabolic Forums. The forum was closed by police in June, almost six months after launching raids against the seven men now facing charges.
John Torgeir Konstad, who led the investigation for Sør-Trøndelag police, said:
“We’re looking at a group that was well-organized and that we believe has earned good money. Police in southern Norway have never faced such a challenge before, but we’ve learnt a lot in this exhaustive investigation,” he said.