Finnish customs officials have announced the interception of ’large amounts’ of the new designer drug MDPV since the start of the year. The majority of the seizures have taken place in Helsinki and Tampere, where six people have been detained under suspicion of smuggling.
In Tampere, authorities confiscated 2.3 kilos of MDPV in February, in addition to EUR 133,000 in cash. This led the Western Customs District to investigate a gang understood to have brought 15 kilos of the drug into Finland since 2009. The haul had an estimated street value of EUR 400,000, with the total seizures this year worth over three million euro. Authorities have identified Chinese factories as the source of production, and several Chinese nationals have been arrested for attempting to import the substance.
Elsewhere, the Southern Customs District is investigating an organisation alleged to have brought six kilos of the MPDV compound into Finland between January and March this year, of which around one third has been confiscated.
MDPV is the latest in the line of powerful amphetamine-like stimulants and so far has not been listed under Finnish law as a controlled substance. The risks associated with the highly-addictive designer drug include violent mood swings and aggression. According to YLE, MDPV’s proliferation began in Finland last year, with health officials already attributing several deaths to the substance.
As MDPV is not classified as an illegal drug, importation and distribution offenses result in minimal punishments, despite a ban on black market trading. The government has said that it will seek to introduce legislation banning the drug this summer, along with a move to change existing laws to enable the faster classification of new substances.