70 defendants in doping drug trial

Updated 6:05 p.m.

Monday saw the opening of one of the largest trials ever held in Sweden. Some 70 people are accused of taking part in the smuggling and sale of illegal performance enhancing drugs.

They are suspected of creating a network that has illegally brought in drugs from China via Spain, and selling them through gyms and body building circles.

The trial, which is expected to take at least seven months, is being held in Sundsvall, in northern Sweden. But because of the large number of defendants, some will be sitting in courtrooms in five other cities, linked to the main proceedings via video links.

The alleged leader of the drug ring did not show up to the first day of the trial. Chief prosecutor Marina Amonsson told news agency TT, "It bothers me that the person who earned the most money in this case isn't here. But his absence doesn't affect the trial."