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Helsinki police: Romanian gang made over 300,000 euros in profit selling pills

A group of Romanians came to Finland for the sole purpose of selling illicit pills, police say.

Poliisin romanialaisilta takavarikoimia lääkkeitä.
Authorities confiscated more than 200,000 pills classified as illicit drugs. Image: Poliisi

Helsinki police say that a criminal group of Romanian citizens has been distributing illicit pharmaceuticals in the capital, including the Puotila and Kallio neighbourhoods.

Prescription medicines such as Rivotril and Alprazolam tablets have been peddled as recreational drugs in many spots including eastern Helsinki’s Puhos shopping centre. They are dubbed "euro pills" as they are often marketed at one euro each, including to teenagers, authorities say.

Article continues after photo

Helsingin poliisin takavarikoimia huumaavia lääkeaineita katukaupassa.
Police estimate that the ring made some 300,000 euros in profit on the tablets. Image: Poliisi

Police have been investigating the ring since early August. On Thursday they said that the preliminary investigation was complete. The case is being handed over to the Prosecution District of Southern Finland for consideration of charges this week.

"The activity caused significant disturbance locally. This relatively high-visibility operation undermined general order and security, while the preliminary investigation found that these intoxicants purchased on the illegal market pose a serious danger to health and life," said the chief investigator, Detective Inspector Mikko Nikkanen of the Helsinki Police Department, in a statement on Thursday.

Five Romanians in custody

In September, police seized more than 200,000 illegal pills that were in the group’s possession, and detained around 10 people. Five Romanian citizens remain in custody.

Law enforcement officials suspect that their criminal proceeds have been about 300,000 euros.

According to the preliminary investigation, the group arrived in Finland with the sole aim of carrying out crimes.

Nikkanen says that the detentions and seizures seem to have at least temporarily halted the street pill trade in the areas where the gang operated, and that police will continue to monitor the situation.

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