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Record drugs hauls by Swedish Customs in 2004

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13:19 CET+01:00
The amount of amphetamines, opium, kat and ecstasy seized by Swedish Customs during 2004 beat all previous records, as authorities increase their focus on organized crime.

According to Dagens Nyheter, the actual number of seizures decreased but a number of particularly large finds has raised the total quantity, especially in Skåne in southern Sweden.

"The results from this year are following trends that correspond to bigger but fewer (in numbers) apprehensions," said Eva-Lotta Hedin, chief of crime prevention for Swedish Customs.

"We are using our resources to combat large-scale organized crime - a method we will continue to work with and reinforce during 2005."

Beer, alcohol, doping-tablets, illegal drugs and cigarettes have all been confiscated, but some numbers have surprisingly gone down. That does not mean that less is being smuggled. The smugglers have become more organized but have also changed what they are smuggling.

Smuggling of 96%-proof alcohol is almost non-existent; it has instead turned itself to drinkable alcohol with a lower alcohol-percentage. Beer, however, has increased dramatically; from 175,000 litres in 2003 to 321,000 in 2004.

"We have identified 27 criminal networks that are smuggling narcotics to Sweden. About 35 people have been identified and Customs are now investigating 80 potential big-scale narcotics apprehension," Eva-Lotta Hedin told DN.

The Swedish judicial system is also doing its bit. Two 24-year old Dutch men, arrested for smuggling four kilos of opium into Sweden, were sentenced to ten years of prison followed by life deportation. They were caught in Helsingborg and the opium was well-hidden in the car's instrument panel. They both continue to deny the charges.

Sources: Dagens Nyheter,Aftonbladet

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