Finnish Customs suspects two men in their 30s of smuggling and distributing more than 2,200 klos of snus, an orally-ingested tobacco product, in the greater Helsinki area.
Customs officials said the excise duty on the cache would have amounted to 850,000 euros. The men used social media to reach out to potential customers, including other distributors and buyers.
The pair made made more than 30 snus-buying trips to a shop in northern Sweden between last summer and early this year. They were remanded by police in January after officials seized some 150 kilos of snus from their van.
Sales of the substance are banned in all EU countries except Sweden. However Finland allows residents to import a certain amount for personal use.
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The long arm of the law is also reaching people who purchased the moist tobacco from the pair as buyers are also facing charges.
Finland has set a target of phasing out all tobacco and nicotine products by 2030. Key proposals for achieving this include increasing tobacco taxes and raising the age limit for purchasing tobacco products from the current 18 to 20 years.
Customs regulations currently permit Finnish residents to bring in up to one kilogram of snus into the country in a 24-hour period or one calendar day. The Finnish Medical Association (FMA) has, however, called for the import of snus to be banned altogether.
The preliminary investigation into the case will soon wrap up after which it will head to the prosecutor’s office for consideration of charges.