Confiscated Subutex tablets. Photo: Swedish Customs


In a joint operation, Helsinki Police and Customs have exposed a large-scale drug import and distribution network. The investigation revealed that a criminal network smuggled significant quantities of amphetamines, marijuana, cocaine, and Subutex into Finland. The individuals involved also transferred hundreds of thousands of euros earned from drug trafficking out of the country.

The Helsinki Police investigation commenced in early 2023. In May, the police monitored a suspected smuggler who had just arrived in the country. During surveillance, the police observed the transfer of suspected narcotics to two recipients.

"We apprehended the suspects, including the drug recipients and the smuggler. During the arrest, the police seized over 90 kilograms of amphetamines. The smuggling truck used had a professionally constructed hidden compartment specifically designed for narcotics," stated Markku Juurikkamäki, the lead investigator and Detective Chief Inspector at Helsinki Police.

The seized amphetamines have an estimated street value of nearly two million euros.

"Through the police preliminary investigation, we uncovered a network comprised of several individuals distributing drugs in the Helsinki metropolitan area. These individuals had various roles in the drug distribution, and the operation was partially controlled from abroad," added Juurikkamäki.

Additionally, the investigation revealed that the funds generated from drug sales were channeled to Russia through various intermediaries. Cash ranging from a few hundred euros to tens of thousands of euros was transported at a time. A distinct modus operandi was established for the financial transactions, managed mainly by different individuals than those involved in drug distribution.

Customs authorities also investigated the Subutex segment of the operation. It is suspected that a minimum of 45,000 Subutex tablets, with an approximate street value of 1.5 million euros, entered Finland between summer and fall 2022.

"In this investigated criminal case, individuals imported substantial quantities of Subutex tablets, classified as narcotics, from France and transported them to Finland via Sweden. Subutex was further distributed primarily in the Helsinki metropolitan area. The criminal network is believed to have taken at least 333,000 euros in cash out of Finland from drug sales during the fall of 2022," explained Tero Virtanen, the lead investigator at Customs.

In connection with this case, Swedish customs also seized over 32,000 Subutex tablets on two occasions, which were being transported from France to Finland in the fall of 2022. The estimated street value of this seizure is approximately 1.1 million euros.

Approximately 20 individuals are suspected of drug importation and distribution, with eight individuals currently detained or under investigation. The case will move to prosecution consideration in the coming weeks.