Major Swedish organised crime venture busted by police

Publication date 4.10.2023 8.00 | Published in English on 4.10.2023 at 15.00
News item

The Helsinki Police Department and the National Bureau of Investigation have exposed a large international drug trafficking organisation suspected of having brought hundreds of kilos of drugs into Finland.

The police managed to seize more than a hundred kilos of drugs, 230,000 tablets containing a narcotic substance and more than 200,000 euros in cash in Finland. In addition, a considerable number of firearms and vast amounts of drugs were also seized in Sweden, among other places, on the basis of information gathered during the criminal investigation in Finland.

Thirty persons were arrested in Finland, and 17 of them are still held in pre-trial detention. Most of the suspects were born in the late 1990’s and in the first half of the next decade. They are citizens of United Kingdom, Somalia, Serbia, Norway, Iraq, Ukraine, Kosovo, Turkïye and Finland, among other countries.

In connection with various police tasks in early 2023, the Helsinki Police Department’s patrols seized drugs and cash, as well as several firearms, from people associated with street gangs, For example, in connection of a certain traffic stop, 1.5 kilos of amphetamine and parts of firearms were seized.  That traffic stop was the starting point of this whole investigation, says Detective Superintendent Kimmo Sainio of the Helsinki Police Department.

Huumausaineita muovipusseissa ja muissa pakkauksissa mustassa matkalaukussa, joka on auki vaalealla laminaattilattialla.

First arrests and seizures in April

In early 2023, the police also made some observations in the capital region of Swedish professional criminals in the company of people associated with street gangs. The criminal investigation was focused to establish whether the narcotic offences related to Sweden.

– For example, we analysed the communication between members of the group and in this way, we identified a circle of persons using various kinds of nicks. In the course of the investigation, we noted that certain nicks were linked to certain persons and certain suspicious incidents, says Head of the Investigation, Detective Chief Inspector Mikko Nikkanen of the Helsinki Police Department.

The criminal investigation revealed that suspects arriving in Finland from different countries, rented apartments for themselves for short periods of time. No contracts were signed, and the rents were paid in cash.

There were people coming in and going out the apartments, especially at night, and travelling by taxi. In the following days and weeks, there were more cars and people than normal in the vicinity of those apartments. Based on the criminal investigation, it seemed to the police that it was a question of distributing of narcotic substances.

As the investigation evolved, the police were able to establish the organisation’s modus operandi and identify some of their meeting places where the trafficked drugs were handed over from trucks to distributors. One of the meeting places was located near a landfill in Espoo.

After a couple of months of intelligence gathering, the police monitored how the last remaining delivery of narcotic substances was brought into the country one night. A taxi driver, who was one of the operators of the group, took off for a new journey to collect the drugs and picked up a person, who was a key partner in the network.

– In April, the driver of a lorry where the drugs had been stashed, two recipients of the delivery and several other members of the group were arrested by the police. In the course of the criminal investigation, we had identified several apartments in different parts of Helsinki area where drugs had been stored. At the same time when the suspects were arrested, the police searched several of the apartments and seized more than 100 kilos of drugs, says Head of the Investigation Mikko Nikkanen.

Organised criminal activity

In the network, a team trafficking drugs was responsible for logistics, including arranging lorries, and another team controlled ordering, reception and distribution of the trafficked drugs. The network also had a team that took care of transporting the money.

It was discovered that members of the network were rotated in different positions and that the network was managed from abroad. Those, who brought the drugs into Finland and distributed them here were mainly second-generation immigrants.  

According to Detective Superintendent Sainio, it is new that Swedish organised crime was so heavily involved in the Finnish drug trafficking business. Those, who received and distributed the drugs, were members of ethnic minority groups.

The police have seized almost 240,000 euros in cash in the course of the investigation.

– We have established that the group organised more than 2.5 million euros in cash out of Finland in lorries to Turkiyë, among other places. Some of the drugs were paid in some other way than cash. Transporters and organisers of the money have also been arrested. It is important to understand that further management of criminal money is a key activity for making new drug deliveries, says Head of the Investigation Mikko Nikkanen.

Hämärä mustavalkoinen kuva ulkoa. Vasemmalla rekka ja tilataksi, joiden välissä sumea henkilö kantaa jotain. Etualalla aidanpätkä tai vastaava. Taustalla mahdollisesti havupuita ja enimmäkseen koivuja.

Seizures conducted in Sweden on the basis of information established in Finland

The police investigated some members of the network living in Sweden, who were responsible for trafficking drugs for the network. There are six suspects in Sweden, two of whom are still awaiting surrender to Finland. Based on information received by the Finnish police, they have links to organised crime in Sweden. The Finnish police conducted the criminal investigation in close cooperation with their Swedish colleagues.

– Information gathered in the Finnish criminal investigation enabled the Stockholm police to take investigative measures at people and addresses in Sweden as wells as to investigate incidents relating to the case and seize material that confirmed suspicions of the Finnish police about the activities and scope of the organisation, says Head of the Investigation, Detective Chief Inspector Marko Heinonen of the National Bureau of Investigation.

In June 2023, the Swedish police searched a place where more than 100 kilos of drugs and a large number of highly dangerous weapons were found and seized.

The case investigated has a direct impact on the Finnish drugs market and criminal activities related to it.

– The direct connection to the organised crime in Sweden is a matter of concern for Finland. Violence and firearms, the use of which seems to have become part of everyday life in Sweden, are essential elements of drug-related crime. A success in criminal investigation plays an important role in preventing international organised crime from spreading to Finland, says Detective Superintendent Kimmo Sainio.


Amounts trafficked to Finland

Amounts seized by the police

Amounts seized by the police (%)


17 kilos

3.75 kilos

22 %


97.4 kilos

26.48 kilos

27 %


145,852 pcs

96,745 pcs

66 %


123.24 kilos

34.61 kilos

28 %


119.39 kilos

41.14 kilos

34 %


1,049,310 pcs

136,255 pcs

13 %


9,700 pcs

9,500 pcs

97,9 %


Based on the criminal investigation, the group transported approximately 17 kg of cocaine, 97.4 kg of amphetamine, 145,852 ecstasy tablets, 123.24 kg of hashish, 119.39 kg of marijuana, 1,049,310 Ksalol tablets and 9,700 OxyContin 80mg tablets to Finland since October - November.

Of the trafficked drugs, approximately 3.75 kg of cocaine, 26.48 kg of amphetamine, 96,745 ecstasy tablets, 34.61 kg of hashish, 41.14 kg of marijuana, 136,255 Ksalol tablets and 9,500 OxyContin 80 mg tablets were seized mostly during the interference in April.

Helsinki Helsinki Police Department News Offences and criminal investigation The National Bureau of Investigation