• Sweden edition
Smugglers to Norway cause strain on Sweden

Smugglers to Norway cause strain on Sweden

Published: 30 Apr 2012 10:01 GMT+02:00
Updated: 30 Apr 2012 10:01 GMT+02:00

Police in western Sweden are kept busy by a large number of illegal shipments of alcohol and cigarettes, believed to be bound for Norway. Despite a great strain on the system, Sweden is obliged to stop the shipments before they reach the Norwegian border.

“We have seen a large increase of these kinds of cases lately,” said judge Sverker Tell of the Uddevalla district court to local paper Bohusläningen.

The smugglers, of which twenty in the last two weeks have come from Poland, are driving minivans filled to the brim with thousands of litres of alcohol and cigarettes believed to be bound for the Norwegian black market, according to the paper.

“We have no proof that they are headed for Norway. They don’t really want to talk when we apprehend them,” said Ander Ragnesten at the Uddevalla police.

However, so far everything points to Norway being the destination for the heavily loaded buses. With an increased tax on alcohol, raised by 7 percent over 2011 and 2 per cent at the beginning of 2012 there is a market for cheap booze coming in through Sweden from Poland.

Just last week, seven persons were detained in Swedish town Ljungskile with two vehicles filled to the brim with tobacco and spirits, and according to the paper, the local court is kept busy trying to deal with the cases.

This means an added stress on the Swedish authorities, as the smugglers have to be kept in custody in Sweden pending the investigation. A convicted smuggler will then be sentenced to between three and six months in prison, dependent on how large a consignment was being moved, which also is a strain on Sweden.

However, despite the smuggling being bound for Norway, the Swedish police can’t just let them pass through and tip off the Norwegians’ counterparts.

“You could think that this should happen, but at the same time it is the duty of the police to act when a crime is being committed, so we can’t just let it be,” said Tell to the paper.

And according to the police, it is a question of organized crime on a large scale. One of the reasons that the police are stopping so many more is that police have learned how the smugglers are operating.

“Police are active and know what to look for. These are big bulky shipments, they are not easy to camouflage,” said Ragnesten to the paper.

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Your comments about this article

10:31 April 30, 2012 by B Slick
The entire problem is created by the goverment in Norway and Sweden. Whenever a goverment puts outrageous taxes on products like cigarettes and alcohol the people feel cheated so they buy smuggled products to reduce the price to normal levels. So when all is said and done the goverment only ends up fooling itself.
11:03 April 30, 2012 by byke
I love the fact that the Swedish police are questioning if they should stop the crime if they think these criminals may just eventually cross the border.

If this is a case of widespread smuggling.

Then the police force, no matter where in Europe. Have a responsibility to stop and arrest anyone, regardless of the countries they pass through enroute to their final destination.

Thats like saying a terrorist can travel freely through Sweden as long as he doesn't plan to use his bomb making equipment in sweden.
11:08 April 30, 2012 by Keith #5083

Interesting intellectual gymnastics.

The fact that another country places, as you call it, 'outrageous taxes' on something - and it's population is so 'non-law abiding and unpatriotic' that it prefers to buy smuggled goods - now becomes the fault of the 'transit country'.

You talk like these govs are not elected.You talk like these govs are pocketing the money themselves whereas, generally speaking, tax is a levy made for the common good.

Oh, but hey, it's the cry today - it ain't the criminal's fault, everyone and everything else is to blame!
11:30 April 30, 2012 by johan rebel
Who cares? Just let the Norwegian authorities deal with it if they want to. The Swedish police should focus on protecting the Swedish public.
12:12 April 30, 2012 by gpafledthis
the TL must expose the "Anders Kappone" the "big gouda" who controls all of this !!
12:15 April 30, 2012 by philster61

These would hardly be called terrorists now would they... The fact is that cigarettes and alcohol is ridiculously expensive so it's no surprise there are smugglers.
14:34 April 30, 2012 by Mb 65
I read in the GP today that the police can't stop booze being sold Stig centre just North of Göteborg. Why not just stop them and take the booze away that will hurt them in the pocket.
16:26 April 30, 2012 by entry
It would seem to me a joint effort between Norway and Sweden would be more effective. Identify the transport vehicle, follow it and locate the distribution points. That way you have a larger net, reap more fish and possibly root out the source.

Although I have to agree the taxes and prices on tobacco and alcohol are ridiculous and the direct cause of the flourishing black market. Not related to taxes but a few months ago they were busting people in Sweden for smuggling van loads of butter heading into Norway.
16:28 April 30, 2012 by Abe L
Three to six MONTHS?!

Change that to years and see the problem disappear as fast as it showed up.
17:22 April 30, 2012 by entry
@ Abe L #9 "Three to six MONTHS?! Change that to years and see the problem disappear as fast as it showed up"

Come now Abe, they are only smuggling cigs and booze. Three to six years would be for serial rapists or murderers.
18:29 April 30, 2012 by maxbrando
Hey, doing ten years in a so-called Swedish prison, is like getting a paid vacation in Poland (Ukraine, etc.) ? But the idea that there is lots on money to be made smuggling stuff from Sweden to Norway!! A truly novel idea. You all deserve each other.
18:56 April 30, 2012 by libertarianism
Agree with post 1.
19:01 April 30, 2012 by gpafledthis
jeez !! after reading all this "I need a drink" !!
23:55 April 30, 2012 by DavidtheNorseman
Seize the vans, stuff and deport the culprits right back to the Poland. I'm sure their black market masters won't be pleased with them losing the loot. If they aren't able to make any money they will soon stop. If the Norwegians are so willing to buy that interdiction isn't making a dint the only solution is to lower taxes in Norway. Happened in Britain late 1700's. Ended up being cheaper lowering the taxes LOL
00:46 May 1, 2012 by jack sprat
Wonder if the loal cops have a vested interest here ?

Whenever I've dropped in at Uddevalla cop shop, dealing with crime seems to be the furthest thing from their minds as all they sit there merrily stuffing their faces with everything from take-away pizzas and kebabs to jam tarts,whilst discussing holiday plans or their latest piece of skirt, completely oblivious and disintersted in anything and everything going on outside their office short of WW3.

Now all of a sudden they seem to have come to life in a heroic and seemingly conciencious effort to protect another countries border from the evils of smuggled booze.

I don't think.

Possibly the biggest danger to the general public during the coming holiday season could well be pissed up, legless, comotosed Swedish cops..
12:52 May 1, 2012 by Borilla
Clearly, the Swedish police, having brought all Swedish criminals to their knees, are now branching out to other countries.
12:09 May 2, 2012 by karex

I think in theory your argument makes sense. The only problem is when it hits reality. We keep seeing increased taxes and DECREASED common good, increased number of paper pushers to now have to pay salaries to, increased number of people free-riding the system, etc. Then when someone needs an ambulance, they die. That's not common good, that's outrageous overhead costs leaving nothing left for the common good.
09:12 May 3, 2012 by J Jack
'it is the duty of the police to act when a crime is being committed' ... why does this only apply to bootleggers?
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