In recent years, organized criminals in Sweden have muscled in on the illegal sale of drugs to fight impotency and help people lose weight, the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper reports.
Peddling drugs like counterfeit Viagra provides gangsters with tidy profits without the same sort of risks involved in smuggling and selling cocaine or heroin.
“The fact that organized crime has become increasingly interested in this is due to the high profitability and the weak sentences,” Tomas Nilsson, an investigator with the Swedish Medical Products Agency (Läkemedelsverket), told the paper.
According to DN, the Hells Angels motorcycle gang is believed to be a major player in the sale of Viagra after a raid on a club house in Uppsala last year uncovered a huge stash of impotency medication.
While criminal gangs can double their money by cocaine, illegally imported impotency or diet drugs can yield profits of up to 2,400 percent, according to the newspaper’s estimates.
Stopping the flow of illegal pills into Sweden is difficult for customs officials, whose hands are tied from inspecting packages which are sent from within the European Union due to a loophole in the regulations.
“We’ve drawn attention to this, but nothing happens. There has to be a change in the law,” Jonas Karlsson of Swedish Customs (Tullverket) told DN.
According to the Medical Products Agency, the trade in illegally imported drugs like impotency and diet pills has an annual turnover of about 900 million kronor ($126 million).