Huge doping ring uncovered in Sweden

Swedish police rounded up 40 people on Tuesday in series of pre-dawn raids across the country in an effort to crack a massive doping scam.

In addition to bringing in dozens for questioning, police confiscated large quantities of steroids, weapons, and ammunition.

The investigation leading to Tuesday’s raids began with the arrest of a 25-year-old man who police believe was trying to flee the country when he was caught by police in Malmö on August 13th.

He had left his home and was carrying a bag full of money, as well as the name and address of a 51-year-old resident of Gävle on Sweden’s east coast.

The 51-year-old and his girlfriend were later remanded to custody on suspicions of serious doping offences.

“We found large quantities of doping drugs and we received signals that his sales basically encompassed the whole of Sweden and took place over the internet,” said Pär Langer of the Gävleborg police department.

Police in several districts, along with the officials from the National Investigation Department (Rikskriminalpolisen), have been working to identify the customers of the suspects already in custody.

According to the Gefle Dagbladet (GD) newspaper, police have been pouring over data retrieved from the 51-year-old’s computer and succeeded in locating a customer registry which may have served as the basis for Tuesday’s raids and subsequent interrogations.

“There’s much to suggest that this is the biggest doping scandal to have ever taken place in Sweden,” said Langer.

According to the police, a large number of the doping drug sales took place in the Stockholm area, and involved the purchase or sales of steroids by people connected to fitness and body building circles.

Police in Jönköping in central Sweden, as well as in Blekinge in the south, and Halland in the west, also participated in Tuesday’s action.

Police in Uppland in eastern Sweden also have also taken people in for questioning. Three men and a woman were questioned during the day. Two have been released but are still considered suspects in the case, according to Sveriges Radio.


Calls for special police tactics to be available across Sweden

The chairwoman of the Police Association West Region has said that police special tactics, known as Särskild polistaktik or SPT, should be available across Sweden, to use in demonstrations similar to those during the Easter weekend.

Calls for special police tactics to be available across Sweden

SPT, (Särskild polistaktik), is a tactic where the police work with communication rather than physical measures to reduce the risk of conflicts during events like demonstrations.

Tactics include knowledge about how social movements function and how crowds act, as well as understanding how individuals and groups act in a given situation. Police may attempt to engage in collaboration and trust building, which they are specially trained to do.

Katharina von Sydow, chairwoman of the Police Association West Region, told Swedish Radio P4 West that the concept should exist throughout the country.

“We have nothing to defend ourselves within 10 to 15 metres. We need tools to stop this type of violent riot without doing too much damage,” she said.

SPT is used in the West region, the South region and in Stockholm, which doesn’t cover all the places where the Easter weekend riots took place.

In the wake of the riots, police unions and the police’s chief safety representative had a meeting with the National Police Chief, Anders Tornberg, and demanded an evaluation of the police’s work. Katharina von Sydow now hopes that the tactics will be introduced everywhere.

“This concept must exist throughout the country”, she said.

During the Easter weekend around 200 people were involved in riots after a planned demonstration by anti-Muslim Danish politician Rasmus Paludan and his party Stram Kurs (Hard Line), that included the burning of the Muslim holy book, the Koran.

Police revealed on Friday that at least 104 officers were injured in counter-demonstrations that they say were hijacked by criminal gangs intent on targeting the police. 

Forty people were arrested and police are continuing to investigate the violent riots for which they admitted they were unprepared. 

Paludan’s application for another demonstration this weekend was rejected by police.

In Norway on Saturday, police used tear gas against several people during a Koran-burning demonstration after hundreds of counter-demonstrators clashed with police in the town of Sandefjord.