Hannu Sinkkonen, the enforcement director at Finnish Customs, attended a news conference in Helsinki in April 2022. Sinkkonen on Wednesday told YLE that children have been recruited to drug trade especially in the past three to four years, to perform tasks such as picking up parcels from a post or courier service point. (Vesa Moilanen – Lehtikuva)

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HANNU SINKKONEN, the enforcement director at Finnish Customs, says Finnish drug distribution organisations are increasingly reliant on minors.

“We’ve noticed that minors are being recruited to pick up parcels from post offices or courier service points for very low compensations. We’re typically talking about under 18-year-olds,” he stated on YLE A-studio on Wednesday.

The recruitment of minors has increased especially in the past three to four years, he added.

Kimmo Sainio, a senior detective superintendent at Helsinki Police Department, confirmed the observation of customs officials, revealing that minors have taken on a greater role in drug crime especially in Helsinki.

“It’s an indication that traditional street trade of drugs has moved to social media. While you used to sell drugs at a street corner, nowadays you sell on different social media platform. You can reach an increasingly young audience there,” he commented on the topical affairs show.

In Finland, drug distribution organisations are also recruiting minors for street-level sales and distribution.

“When it comes to who’s running street-level sales and how far the drugs end up, that’s where underage sellers are used. Minors themselves are also actively selling drugs on social media. In the saddest cases, we’re talking about under 15-year-olds,” said Sainio.

Officers at Helsinki Police Department and the National Bureau of Investigation (KRP) on Wednesday cast light on a well-organised international drug distribution operation that is believed to have imported hundreds of kilos of drugs to Finland. The operation is believed to have been run from abroad, presumably from Sweden or Turkey.

The organisation funnelled over 2.5 million euros in cash out of the country, some of which was transported by road to Turkey.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT

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