High figures for Swedish marijuana seizures

High figures for Swedish marijuana seizures
Swedish customs agents are nabbing more cannabis smugglers than in past years, and people traveling across the Öresund Bridge with small amounts of the drug figure prominently in the statistics.

This year, Swedish Customs (Tullverket) expects to carry out about 1,000 marijuana seizures, compared with only 280 seizures in 2005.

“Even without complete figures for 2010, we can see this is a pronounced increase of cannabis seizures and a pronounced increase in smaller seizures of so called ‘ant smugglers’,” Swedish Customs narcotics expert Lars Hansson told Sveriges Radio (SR).

“Ant smugglers” refer to small-time smugglers who typically carry three to five grammes of marijuana for personal use and may sell some of their possession on to others.

Often, such seizures take place at the Öresund Bridge.

The increase in “ant smuggler” cannabis seizures marks a reversal in a trend of falling small-time seizures which began when the bridge opened ten years ago.

“If we go back three or four years, this almost didn’t exist in the Malmö region, but unfortunately, it’s come back in recent years,” Hansson told SR.

Swedish Customs doesn’t have an explanation for the recent spike in small-time seizures, but the agency has passed along the information to social services.

“We take this very seriously because cannabis is often a gateway to other drugs,” said Hansson.

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