Customs agents score huge drug bust

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A large truck from the Netherlands that was stopped in a routine border control was found to be carrying narcotics valued at around NOK 100 million (USD 13 million). It’s the biggest single drug seizure in Norway ever.

Specially trained dogs sniffed out the record quantity of drugs on a truck from the Netherlands. PHOTO: Tolletaten

The semi-trailer was otherwise carrying 32 crates of the plastic clogs known as Crocs. Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reported Sunday night that hidden among them was the huge stash of drugs that included 430 kilos of hash, 23 kilos of marijuana, 40 kilos of amphetamines, 12 kilos of heroin and two kilos of cocaine, bound for the Norwegian market.

“If we translated it into user doses, we’re talking about 600,000 of various narcotics,” Norwegian customs director Øystein Børmer told NRK. “That makes this the largest seizure we’ve ever had in terms of market value.”

It was made last summer at the southern border crossing between Sweden and Norway at Svinesund. It’s only been revealed now so as not to jeopardize the  investigation into its origins. Børmer wouldn’t say why exactly that truck was stopped, telling NRK only that “I think good customs work would be an apt description for it.”

He called the seizure “unusual” because of the various types of drugs involved, and said it shows how drug smuggling is steadily become more professional and organized. “They’re smuggling bigger and bigger quantities and taking greater risks in crossing borders with this type of contraband,” Børmer told NRK.

The drugs were found on this truck from the Netherlands. PHOTO: Tolletaten

The driver of the truck, a 40-year-old citizen of the Netherlands, has been charged with aggravated narcotics violations involving large volumes. As a courier, he risks jail time in Norway of up to 15 years. Prosecutors wouldn’t comment on whether police know who was due to receive the drug shipment in Norway.

Kristin Morch, defense attorney for the driver, said her client denies the charges against him on the grounds he didn’t know the drugs, sniffed out by dogs at the inspection station in Svinesund, were on his truck.

Børmer added that the specially trained dogs probably weren’t needed: “It smelled of cannabis in the entire control hall at Svinesund.”

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund