Skåne murder may be tied to Norway drug bust

A Swedish man who went missing in January has been found dead amid growing suspicions he was the scapegoat for a botched drug deal in Norway.

The 31-year-old’s body was found over Easter outside Hörby, around 60 kilometres from his hometown Landskrona in the southern Swedish region of Skåne.

Police had been searching for him since mid-January, when his family reported him missing.

According to local newspaper Helsingborgs Dagblad (HD), the body was in such a bad state that it took a week to identify it.

HD also claimed that police investigators had travelled to Norway to question several people regarding the 31-year-old’s disappearance.

According to reports, those questioned are from the Skåne region and had been detained in Bergen, Norway on suspicion of smuggling large amounts of amphetamine and narcotic pills.

The drug smugglers were stopped by Norwegian police on October 31st. They were travelling in three cars. In one car police found spare tyres containing nearly five kilos of amphetamine and a large amount of pills.

Another man from Landskrona was arrested in mid-February and handed over to Norway.

Soon after the murdered 31-year-old’s disappearance Swedish police received a tip that he for some reason had become a scapegoat for the botched drug smuggling, reported HD.

But the head of the investigation, Kenth Pehrsson, did not want to comment on the case and refused either to confirm or refute whether hearings were held in Norway in conjunction with the investigation into the 31-year-old’s disappearance.

However, Pehrsson did confirm that details of the Norwegian drug bust were cited in the investigation.

“No one has been suspected of any crime,” said Pehrsson.

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Norway to send 200,000 AstraZeneca doses to Sweden and Iceland

Norway, which has suspended the use of AstraZeneca's Covid vaccine until further notice, will send 216,000 doses to Sweden and Iceland at their request, the Norwegian health ministry said Thursday.

Norway to send 200,000 AstraZeneca doses to Sweden and Iceland
Empty vials of the AstraZeneca vaccine. (Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP)

“I’m happy that the vaccines we have in stock can be put to use even if the AstraZeneca vaccine has been paused in Norway,” Health Minister Bent Høie said in a statement.

The 216,000 doses, which are currently stored in Norwegian fridges, have to be used before their expiry dates in June and July.

Sweden will receive 200,000 shots and Iceland 16,000 under the expectation they will return the favour at some point. 

“If we do resume the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine, we will get the doses back as soon as we ask,” Høie said.

Like neighbouring Denmark, Norway suspended the use of the AstraZeneca jab on March 11 in order to examine rare but potentially severe side effects, including blood clots.

Among the 134,000 AstraZeneca shots administered in Norway before the suspension, five cases of severe thrombosis, including three fatal ones, had been registered among relatively young people in otherwise good health. One other person died of a brain haemorrhage.

On April 15, Norway’s government ignored a recommendation from the Institute of Public Health to drop the AstraZeneca jab for good, saying it wanted more time to decide.

READ MORE: Norway delays final decision on withdrawal of AstraZeneca vaccine 

The government has therefore set up a committee of Norwegian and international experts tasked with studying all of the risks linked to the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, which is also suspected of causing blood clots.

Both are both based on adenovirus vector technology. Denmark is the only European country to have dropped the AstraZeneca
vaccine from its vaccination campaign, and said on Tuesday it would “lend” 55,000 doses to the neighbouring German state of Schleswig-Holstein.