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Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Drug couriers have started to smuggle hashish into Finland inside their bodies in small swallowable packets.


      According to the Customs, the first attempts to bring internally concealed hashish into the country were observed in 2008. In the past several months, however, the phenomenon has become markedly more common.       Customs Inspector Tero Virtanen explains that since last December more than a dozen individuals have been stopped and caught on arrival at Helsinki-Vantaa International Airport for trying to smuggle in hashish inside the body.       ”Most of them have been men between the ages of 20 and 35. They are professional couriers, and some of them have told the officials that they have made several successful runs to Finland before getting caught. Some of them have also performed deliveries to other Nordic countries.”       According to Virtanen, the Customs have confiscated more than ten kilograms of cannabis from the mules. The street value of the lot would have been in the region of EUR 100,000.       In addition to this, the officials have learned in the preliminary investigations about the importation of additional roughly 10 kg of hashish.       “Thanks to the couriers, several different criminal organisations have now been tracked down in Finland. At the receiving end of the chain there are around a dozen suspects and the spectrum of their nationalities is broad”, Virtanen notes.       The Customs believe that hash has been distributed, or was supposed to be distributed, across Southern Finland.       The amounts of cannabis that the couriers have swallowed in small packages have varied from half a kilogramme to a kilo.       The smugglers doing the ingesting of the small packages have been natives of Spain, Portugal, Morocco, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia.       Customs officials suspect that the smuggled substance has generally originated from Morocco and Spain.       One of the couriers told the authorities that his fee for the gig was EUR 700.       The use of this technique to bring in hashish is a new development: traditionally the internally concealed drugs smuggled into the country have been substances appreciably stronger than hash, such as cocaine and heroin.       “Larger hashish consignments are still brought in through other means, but this is a quick way to import narcotics. There will always be a ready market for cannabis”, Virtanen says.


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