HELSINKI – According to the Finnish police, an international criminal gang led from Estonia and Spain brought 1,700 kilograms of drugs, including more than 700 kilograms of cannabis and amphetamine, into the country over the course of two years.
Police said on Friday that the large-scale drug trafficking took place between the summer of 2020 and the summer of 2021.
According to the police, the value of the drugs at street prices is almost 100 million euros. About 500 kilograms of drugs were seized.
Suspects were apprehended in the Netherlands, Spain, Estonia, Germany and Italy. According to the police, they were tracked down during the international Operation Greenlight. During the operation, criminals from various countries were encouraged to use the Anom messaging application developed by the FBI.
The criminal organization is suspected of smuggling 706 kilos of amphetamine into Finland from the Netherlands and 770 kilos of cannabis from Spain. An amount of 24 kilos of cocaine and 90,000 ecstasy pills, and other drugs, were transported to the country with the amphetamine deliveries from the Netherlands.
The suspects comprise a group of eleven who are believed to be responsible for the smuggling of drugs into Finland. Most of them are Estonian citizens. Besides Estonia, the criminal activity was organized from Spain.
"It appears from the suspects' messages and the criminal investigative measures taken that the suspects planned and organized the smuggling in an extremely professional manner. The drugs were hidden, for example, among cargoes of soil, woodchip mulch and grilling charcoal, and inside boilers," detective superintendent Jari Raty of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) said.
In addition to the NBI, the Helsinki police department and the Southeastern Finland police department were also involved in the investigation.
According to the police, one of the major drug distribution points in the case was Lahti. An organized criminal group operating in the region received the drugs and distributed them further to a number of different buyers in Finland. Most of the members of this group have a background in United Brotherhood, a criminal organization ordered to be abolished.
"The organized nature of the group was also evident in the fact that once the group got possession of the drugs, it immediately started to distribute them to buyers in a systematic and methodical manner. In many cases, the group managed to distribute up to tens of kilos of drugs further to several buyers in a few hours," head of investigation Hans Fagerstrom of the NBI said.