Thursday June 20, 2024

Int´l gang smuggles huge drugs, firearms to Finland

Published : 18 Nov 2023, 00:36

  DF Report
File Photo: Finnish Customs.

The police suspect that an international criminal gang of trafficking huge drugs and firearms to Finland, said police in a press release on Friday.

The gang smuggled 25 kilograms of cocaine into Finland in January 2023 and the street value of the cocaine is around 2.5 million euros.

A tenth of the cocaine was distributed in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area and in the region of Turku.

The Helsinki Police and the National Bureau of Investigation in cooperation with Estonian and Belgian authorities exposed the international drug trafficking ring.

The investigation of the case started in February this year after around 100 kilos of amphetamine and two assault rifles were seized in Estonia. The street value of the amphetamine was around three million euros.

The drugs and firearms were found in a vehicle which had arrived in Estonia from Belgium. It was discovered in the early stages of the investigation conducted by the Estonian Internal Security Service that the drugs and firearms were destined for Finland.

The authorities of Finland, Estonia and Belgium set up a joint investigation team, with the Finnish members from the Helsinki Police Department and the National Bureau of Investigation.

“The fact that the joint investigation team was set up rapidly made it possible for us to swiftly investigate the case. The joint investigation team enabled smooth exchange of information and evidence between the member states. We also cooperated with third countries,” said Head of Investigation, Detective Chief Inspector of the National Bureau of Investigation Hans Fagerström.

The joint investigation team also managed to trace and seize the full amount of the criminal proceeds. Almost 470,000 euros of cash, three assault rifles and a pistol type of handgun were seized from the members of the criminal organisation. Furthermore, up to almost 100,000 euros of criminally acquired assets were seized and frozen.

In the criminal investigation, the police managed to identify the persons responsible for acquiring and smuggling the drugs in Belgium as well as those receiving, storing and distributing the drugs in Finland.

“We tracked down the members of the group operating in Helsinki in the course of our own investigations. We investigated the roles and participation of the suspects using traditional methods of investigating drug crime,” said Janne Ylinenpää, Head of Investigation, Detective Chief Inspector of the Helsinki Police Department.

Cocaine use has increased in Finland in recent years

The police identified the flat used for receiving, storing and further distributing the drugs in Finland. Two persons using this flat were apprehended in May.

About 22.5 kilos of cocaine and almost 177,000 euros of cash were seized from the flat. The police also seized over 30,000 euros of cash as well as luxury watches in another flat in Helsinki belonging to one of the suspects.

“The exceptionally large amount of cocaine seized during the investigation shows that the law of supply and demand applies to drug trafficking. According to the wastewater studies conducted by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, cocaine use has increased sharply in Finland in recent years, especially during weekends,” said Ylinenpää.

The criminal investigation will be completed in the near future and referred to the Prosecution District of Southern Finland for consideration of charges. The deadline for bringing charges in the case is 5 December 2023.