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Police make largest-ever ecstasy bust

Officers in Estonia and Finland say they've broken up a ring that smuggled in huge amounts of drugs for motorcycle gangs -- who meanwhile face a raft of weapons, explosives, alcohol and construction fraud charges.

Keskusrikospoliisin takavarikoimia amfetamiinipusseja.
Image: Keskusrikospoliisi

Finnish and Estonian police have teamed up to crack Finland’s largest-ever smuggling case involving the drug ecstasy. There are a total of 36 suspects in the wide-ranging case.

They say a mostly-Estonian drug ring brought in significant amounts of narcotics, primarily to supply Finnish motorcycle gangs. These included the Cannonball and Bandidos gangs.

Police made the biggest seizure to date of ecstasy, including some 82,000 tablets.

Law enforcement officials say the organisation brought hundreds of thousands of ecstasy tabs into Finland between late 2011 and March of this year, along with large amounts of hashish and amphetamines. Last summer, one delivery alone included 40 kilos of amphetamines.

Buried in the Herttoniemi woods

Some of the drugs were found in underground caches in Helsinki, including a forested area of the Herttoniemi district.

Searches of homes of Cannonball gangsters turned up about 40 illegal guns as well as plenty of ammunition, hand grenades, other explosives and lathes apparently used to manufacture gun parts. About 20 Cannonball members are suspected of crimes including illegal alcohol sales.

Guns, booze and building fraud

Because of the far-ranging nature of the case, it will be split into sections when it goes to trial. Proceedings related to the alcohol-related violations will begin next month at Helsinki District Court, with other strands to be considered later.

In another development, police are pursuing charges against three Cannonball members and others for fraud and black-market labour in earth-moving jobs at construction sites in the capital region.

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