Police in Østfold County, southeast of Oslo, have charged 12 persons in connection with a major narcotics operation believed to have smuggled several hundred kilos of amphetamines into Norway. Three of those charged are Norwegians, eight are from Lithuania and one is from Latvia.
Police said they were able to crack the drug-smuggling ring after receiving tips from couriers and tracking similar methods of getting the drugs into Norway. All those charged were allegedly involved with transport of the drugs, accepting delivery of them or selling them further.
(See related story from earlier this week: Drugs flow around central station)
Gaute Nilsen, a prosecutor for the Østfold Police District, told newspaper Aftenposten that warrants are out on several other persons believed to be involved in what police are calling a network of drug traffickers. An investigation is ongoing and expected to be completed by this autumn.
The narcotics network emerged last fall after customs officials made several large seizures of amphetamines at the border. The smugglers used various highways and roads from Sweden into Østfold County, including several backroads around Svinesund.
The seizures revealed similar methods used for hiding the drugs in the vehicles used to transport them. That led to some armed raids on locations in Sarpsborg, Moss, Indre Østfold and Fredrikstad, reports Aftenposten . Drugs seized are believed to have been produced in Poland, Lithuania and other eastern European locations.
Eight persons are being held in police custody and police believe they have arrested the key figures in the network. They face up to 15 years in prison.