Smuggling charges dropped when couple revealed party plans

The busy social life of an elderly couple from Piteå in northern Sweden has helped free them of smuggling charges after being caught transporting thousands of litres of alcohol from Germany into Sweden.

The couple has detained back in August 2006 when customs officials in Malmö stopped their minivan on the way back from a trip to Germany, reports the Pitea-Tidning newspaper.

An inspection of the van uncovered 2,692 litres of beer, 27 litres of wine, and 4.2 litres of hard liquor. In a subsequent search of the couple’s home in Piteå, police discovered an additional stash of alcohol, as well as a journal which included people’s names, along with different sums and types of beer.

Altogether, the couple had brought around 24,000 cans of beer in Sweden, reports the Norrbotten-Kuriren newspaper.

The prosecutor filed smuggling charges, alleging the pair had engaged in a systematic operation to import and distribute alcohol, and argued that the couple should be sentenced to several months in prison.

During the trial, the pair openly admitted to having transporting the alcohol from Germany into Sweden, but denied they had committed any crime since the beer, wine, and liquor was meant for personal use.

Specifically, the booze was meant to supply partygoers at their son’s upcoming 40th birthday party, the wife’s 60th birthday party, their daughter’s wedding, a friend’s 70th birthday party, and for a New Year’s party.

Upon hearing the couple’s defence, the court threw out the smuggling charges and ordered that the couple’s alcohol supply, which had been confiscated at the start of the investigation, be returned.