Dutch man held after record cannabis seizure

A 34-year-old Dutch citizen has been remanded in custody on suspicion of drugs smuggling after being caught trying to bring 225 kilogrammes of cannabis into Sweden.

Customs officers discovered the drugs in the man’s car in Helsingborg at the beginning of the month. The narcotics were found in five suitcases which were simply placed in the back of the hatchback car.

“He hadn’t in any way tried to hide the drugs in the vehicle, which is unusual,” said Rolf Bårdskär, head of the customs police in Malmö.

The man, who was alone in the car, has also admitted that he knew he was transporting narcotics. Customs officers believe that the 34-year-old was acting as a drugs courier for an organised operation.

The cannabis haul is the largest ever found in a private car in Sweden and the second largest of any kind.

Jonas Karlsson, an advisor at the Swedish Customs, told Swedish Television that the biggest cannabis find ever was in 1999 in Trelleborg, when 347 kilogrammes of narcotics was seized.

The 34-year-old has admitted attempting to smuggle the drugs into Sweden, but otherwise the investigation is proceeding slowly, said Rolf Bårdskär. He added that there were indications that the whole amount may not have been intended for the Swedish market.

Around 40 percent of seizures made in Sweden in 2006 were on their way to Norway.

In recent years Swedish Customs has made increasing use of intelligence work for catching drugs smugglers. But on this occasion it was not a tip-off that led to the arrest.

“It was quite simply the officers’ experience and intuition,” said Rold Bårdskär.

If he is found guilty the Dutch man could be sentenced to up to ten years in prison.