Finnish Customs (Tulli) has uncovered a significant criminal operation involving the smuggling of narcotic medications. The investigation, initially focused on drug trafficking, has revealed an estimated profit of over €160,000 from the illicit sale of controlled substances. In addition, over €700,000 in cash was seized during residential searches. Finnish Customs is investigating multiple serious offenses, including aggravated drug offenses and money laundering.
The criminal network came to light when Finnish Customs intercepted hundreds of narcotic medications during a customs inspection at Helsinki-Vantaa Airport in March 2023. Nearly 350 tablets, identified as oxycodone, alprazolam, and zopiclone, were confiscated. The suspect had smuggled the drugs into the country, hiding them both internally and in their luggage. The National Institute for Health and Welfare considers oxycodone to be an extremely dangerous narcotic drug with effects similar to morphine.
Further investigations revealed that the suspect had shipped a package containing over 600 oxycodone and alprazolam tablets from Spain to their home address in Finland before their arrival. This discovery suggests that the individual had likely conducted similar operations in the past. According to Chief Inspector Kimmo Jauhiainen, the investigation into drug smuggling led to the revelation of a larger criminal case.
During the residential searches, Finnish Customs confiscated over €700,000 in cash and other valuable assets. Some of the seized money was concealed within the suspect's residence, hidden within the structure of the stove. The majority of the funds, however, were stored in the residence of a close relative without their knowledge. Finnish Customs is investigating the cash and assets for suspected money laundering, analyzing the origin of the funds and ownership relationships.
The ongoing investigation has uncovered evidence indicating that the suspect had traveled frequently to Estonia and Spain, bringing back more than 1,500 oxycodone and alprazolam tablets intended for distribution in Finland. Finnish Customs suspects that the illegal sale of these narcotics generated profits exceeding €160,000.
Chief Inspector Jauhiainen emphasized the significance of comprehensive investigations in cases involving customs offenses. He highlighted the importance of paying attention to even subtle signs to ensure that seemingly isolated incidents are thoroughly examined, resulting in the maximum benefit for society. In this case, what initially appeared to be a single drug seizure at an airport ultimately led to the discovery of a €1 million criminal operation.
As part of the smuggling operation, the suspect attempted to transport controlled medications between Schengen countries using fraudulent Schengen certificates. The investigation suggests that the suspect had been acquiring these certificates inappropriately from Estonia since last autumn. The Schengen Area includes countries such as Finland, Estonia, and Spain.
The suspect, a resident of Helsinki, has been in custody since March 2023 in connection with the criminal allegations. The investigation is expected to conclude in the coming weeks, after which the case will be forwarded to the Southern Finland Prosecution Office for consideration of charges. Finnish Customs remains committed to combating drug trafficking, money laundering, and other customs offenses, aiming to safeguard society's well-being and security.