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Finnish and Swedish customs bust drug smugglers in joint operation

Authorities seized more than 800 illegal pills as well as weapons at the Finnish-Swedish border.

Swedish police in Haparanda. Image: Minna Aula / Yle

Swedish and Finnish authorities said on Friday that they had seized weapons and drugs in a major drugs bust on the border between the two countries.

Customs and border guard from the two countries conducted a major joint surveillance operation in October to combat cross-border crime at the border crossing between Tornio, Finland and Haparanda, Sweden.

More than 800 illicit tablets were seized in the operation, including ecstasy and amphetamines, as well as cannabis. Authorities also seized several weapons and a large amount of ammunition.

Detective Inspector Tuomo Seikkula from the Finnish police said there were about 20 Finnish suspects involved, and that three Finns had been detained in relation to the operation.

"Some of the suspects are connected and this is a link between organised crime and cross-border crime. But some of the suspects are individual players. It's not about identifying an individual organisation, but about street surveillance of drug crime," Seikkula said.

Martin Petersson from Swedish Customs described it as a success.

"This was a unique investment in surveillance in the sense that the presence of authorities in both countries was significantly increased in Haparanda," Petersson said in a press release.

Swedish Customs also said that this was the largest operation ever carried out on the shared border with Finland.

The operation involved 40 customs officers, Finnish and Swedish police officers as well as prosecutors from both countries.

"When authorities of both countries are in the same joint patrols, they can effectively exchange information and expertise, " Seikkula added.

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