Police in Finland have arrested 30 individuals suspected of being involved in a major drug-smuggling operation linked to Swedish organized crime gangs that facilitated the importation of hundreds of kilos of narcotics into the country.
“Helsinki police and the National Bureau of Investigation have uncovered a large international drug trafficking organization,” the police said on Wednesday, announcing they had arrested dozens of suspects of various nationalities and seized more than 100 kilos of illicit drugs and €240,000 in cash.
Following an extensive investigation into the smuggling operation’s activities, during which the group is suspected of using semi-trucks to transport around 350 kilos of cocaine, amphetamines, ecstasy pills, and cannabis into Finland, authorities executed the bust this week.
Of the 30 people arrested, 17 remain in custody. The suspects are of Somali, Iraqi, Turkish, Serbian, Ukrainian, Kosovar, Norwegian, British, Swedish and Finnish nationality.
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The National Bureau of Investigation revealed the drug ring is linked to the Stockholm-based Dödspatrullen gang, which had expanded its drug operation into neighboring Finland earlier this year. Finnish authorities had been tracking the operation since early 2023 after police seized a significant quantity of amphetamines and uncovered firearms during a routine traffic stop.
“It is a new phenomenon that Swedish organized crime is so heavily involved in the Finnish drug trade,” a police spokesperson said.
“Violence and firearms are a key element of drug crimes, and the threshold for their use is currently very low in Sweden,” added Kimmo Sainio, a detective chief inspector at the Helsinki police department.
“A successful preliminary investigation plays an important role when trying to prevent the spread of international organized crime in Finland.”
Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson has recently stepped up measures to combat the concerning rise to power of Sweden’s organized crime gangs, with the country experiencing a record number of gang shootings and bombings this year.
“There has been an unprecedented number of murders and bombings in Sweden recently,” warned Police Commissioner Anders Thornberg at a press conference last month.
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“Several boys aged between 13 and 15 have been killed, a criminal’s mother was murdered in her home, and a young man was shot dead on his way to work in Uppsala,” he said.
“The people who order the murders are often found abroad,” Thornberg added.
Earlier this year, Stockholm police announced an extension to its mass drone surveillance program across the Swedish capital in a bid to crack down on gang violence. However, with September bringing a record number of deaths by shooting in a single month, authorities have their hands full in attempting to tackle the growing problem.