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CRIME

Police bust international narcotics ring

A major international drug smuggling ring has been busted in an operation involving police in Norway and Sweden. More three quarters of a tonne of narcotics has been seized and 30 people are in detention in the two countries.

During the late summer of 2007 Police in Norway launched an investigation to bust open the narcotics network.

“We noticed that several people had bought quantities of hash and imported them into the country and we noted that these people had close contacts in Sweden,” said Reidar Brussgaard at Norway’s criminal investigation department to news agency TT.

In September of the same year police in Norway contacted their Swedish colleagues who began surveillance of the suspects on visits to Sweden. Swedish police were therefore able to witness the collection of a large quantity of hash from Solvalla outside of Stockholm. The Norwegian-registered car was later stopped at Norwegian customs and around 170 kilograms of cannabis was seized.

After the seizure the police operation, which Norwegian police had named “Happy fish”, continued and expanded to involve in police in the Netherlands.

Stefan Erlandsson at the Swedish National Investigation Department, explained that the international police cooperation had been crucial to cracking the network.

Norwegian, Swedish, Dutch and Moroccan citizens are among the suspects detained. Several of them have been in work and have on the surface, appeared to live regular lives.

Police now claim to have exposed several links of the network.

“We have got the whole chain and have managed to get at the principal figures,” Erlandsson said.

According to the police the narcotics have been smuggled from Morocco to Holland and then on to Sweden and Norway. The ring have used legal means to transport the goods, such as flower shipments used to conceal the drugs.

One drug seizure by Norwegian police also netted a number of weapons and a large sum of money.

“There was around six million Norwegian kronor ($862,000) in cash,” according to Reidar Bruusgaard.

He confirms that Swedish and Norwegian police have managed to seize around 700 kilograms of cannabis and around 50 kilograms of amphetamine. A quantity of cocaine has also been seized. There are currently 30 people in detention in Norway and Sweden.

CRIME

Sweden breaks yearly record for fatal shootings

A man was shot to death in Kristianstad, Skåne, late on Thursday night. He is the 48th person to be shot dead in Sweden this year, meaning that the previous record for most fatal shootings in one year set in 2020 has now been broken.

Sweden breaks yearly record for fatal shootings

“Unfortunately we can’t say more than that he’s in his twenties and we have no current suspects,” duty officer Mikael Lind told TT newswire.

According to police statistics, this most recent deadly shooting means that 48 people have been shot to death in 2022, meaning that Sweden has broken a new record for deadly shootings per year.

Earlier this week, Sweden’s police chief Anders Thornberg said that this number is likely to rise even higher before the end of the year.

“It looks like we’re going to break the record this year,” he told TT on Tuesday. “That means – if it continues at the same pace – around 60 deadly shootings.”

“If it ends up being such a large increase that would be very unusual,” said Manne Gerell, criminiologist at Malmö University.

“We saw a large increase between 2017 and 2018, and we could see the same now, as we’re on such low figures in Sweden. But it’s still worrying that it’s increasing by so much over such a short time period,” he said.

There also seems to be an upwards trend in the number of shootings overall during 2022. 273 shootings had occured by September 1st this year, compared with 344 for the whole of 2021 and 379 for the whole of 2020.

If shootings continue at this rate for the rest of 2022, it is likely that the total number for the year would be higher than 2021 and 2020. There are, however, fewer injuries.

“The majority of shootings cause no injuries, but this year, mortality has increased substantially,” Gerell explained. “There aren’t more people being shot, but when someone is shot, they’re more likely to die.”

Thursday’s shooting took place in Kristianstad, but it’s only partially true that deadly gun violence is becoming more common in smaller cities.

“It’s moved out somewhat to smaller cities, but we’re overexaggerating that effect,” Gerell said. “We’re forgetting that there have been shootings in other small cities in previous years.”

A report from the Crime Prevention Council (Brå) presented last spring showed that Sweden, when compared with 22 different countries in Europe, was the only one with an upwards trend for deadly shootings.

Temporary increases can be seen during some years in a few countries, but there were no countries which showed such a clear increase as Sweden has seen for multiple years in a row, according to Brå.

The Swedish upwards trend for deadly gun violence began in the beginning of the 2000s, but the trend took off in 2013 and has continued to increase since.

Eight of ten deadly shootings take place in criminal environments, the study showed. The Swedish increase has taken place in principle only among the 20-29 year old age group.

When police chief Anders Thornberg was asked how the trend can be broken, he said that new recruitments are one of the most important factors.

“The most important thing is to break recruitment, make sure we can listen encrypted and that we can get to the profits of crime in a better way,” he said.

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