“Prostitution, drug trafficking, possession and trafficking of weapons, extortion, as well as various forms of violence, including murder” — those are just some of crimes alleged in a 150-page indictment against 50 members of a Hells Angels chapter that operated on the Spanish island of Mallorca from 2009 to 2013.
The trial against the club’s former leader, Frank Hanebuth, and 49 alleged international collaborators, kicked off Monday in Madrid.
According to Spanish prosecutors, the Hells Angels conducted illegal activities in Mallorca under Hanebuth’s leadership. He allegedly appointed members who then carried out crimes including extortion, pimping, acquiring illegal firearms and robbery in popular tourist spots.
Hanebuth was seen arriving at court an hour before the scheduled start time for the trial. A total of 46 defendants were in the courtroom, while three others were expected to give evidence by videoconference.
The beginning of the session was delayed as lawyers tried to arrange plea agreements for some of the defendants. It wasn’t immediately clear whether Hanebuth’s lawyer was among those seeking a plea deal.
Spanish prosecutors are seeking a 13-year prison sentence for Hanebuth on charges of membership in a criminal organization, money laundering and illegal possession of firearms. They’re also seeking a $4.5 million fine for the money laundering charge.
Other alleged leading members of the group face charges of running a prostitution ring and drug trafficking, and could face up to 38 years in prison.
According to the Spanish newspaper 20 Minutos, the indictment listed prostitution as one of the group’s primary sources of income, accusing the members of exploiting and coercing women who worked in private clubs acquired by the Hells Angels chapter.
Prosecutors have alleged that the women were even subjected to cosmetic surgery with the sole purpose of “making them more productive and obtaining a greater profit from the activities they carry out.”
The trial is expected to last several weeks.
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