CRIME

Leader of Barcelona Casuals soccer gang sentenced to 12 years

Ricardo Mateo found guilty of extortion and violent assaults

A Barcelona court on Wednesday sentenced the leader of the Casuals, a violent gang linked to the Boixos Nois radical support of FC Barcelona, to 12 years and eight months in prison for a litany of crimes.

Prosecutors had sought 120 years for Ricardo Mateo, who was convicted by a court tribunal of aggravated assault, violent robbery, misappropriation of public funds, belonging to a criminal organization, public health offenses and impersonating a police officer.

Of Mateo’s numerous co-defendants, several were sentenced to jail terms while others were acquitted.

The Casuals ran an extortion racket among Barcelona’s nightclubs between 2006 and 2011, during which time several doormen were beaten up and one stabbed. Members of the gang were also convicted of threatening witnesses during a previous trial involving Mateo.

In 2009, Mateo attempted to rob a Moroccan drug dealer by posing as a police officer.

The case rose to even greater prominence last month when some of the 29 defendants provoked a fistfight with police officers in court during proceedings, an unprecedented spectacle in the Barcelona courthouse.

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