Finnish customs report increased drug smuggling to Russia

Officials in Finland are becoming concerned about an apparent increase in the amount of drugs being transported through the country to Russia.

According to Customs Crime Prevention Unit chief, Hannu Sinkkonen, the amount of contraband being transported could total thousands of kilogrammes.

Customs officials have managed to prevent nine cars carrying significant volumes of illegal substances crossing the border at Vaalimaa and Helsinki since the beginning of the year, according to reports. The amount of hashish seized is already more than was confiscated for the whole of last year. Other drugs ending up in the hands of customs officials include cocaine being transported from Central Europe.

At the end of 2010, officials seized cocaine estimated to be worth around EUR 3 million on the Russian market. The drugs apparently came from Bolivia and Paraguay and were being transported across Europe by a Russian drugs mule. The rise in the amount of drugs being taken into Russia is a reversal of the situation not long ago when substances were more commonly transported from the East into the West.

Finland’s customs said they believed there was now a desire in Russia for better quality product as the standard of living continues to rise and people more commonly desire to emulate Western habits.

According to Sinkkonen the preferred method of transport for the smugglers is a high-end car such as an Audi or a Mercedes. He speculated: “The idea must have been that the finer and more expensive the car, the higher the threshold would be for Customs officials to start taking down its structures.”