Snus, moist oral tobacco snuff, has been banned from being sold anywhere in the EU since 1992, apart from in Sweden which negotiated an exemption to the ban when it joined the union in 1995.
Eight people are now suspected of having smuggled more than 12 tonnes of snus from Sweden to neighbouring Finland between 2016 and 2018, the Finnish customs authority said on Monday.
The main suspect is a Finnish man in his 50s who lives just across the border in Haparanda in Sweden. A younger person, also residing in Sweden, is suspected of having helped him.
The other suspects live near the Finnish capital and in Kajanaland in eastern Finland.
All eight are accused of smuggling and aggravated tax fraud.
Bringing small amounts of snus into Finland is allowed for private consumption. But according to prosecutors, the tobacco – in total 12,700 kilos – was bought in Swedish stores and transported in several cars to customers in the Kemi-Torneå area, then distributed further south in Finland.
The suspected smuggling ring was caught when customs officers stopped a van carrying 175 kilos of snus in Finland in April this year.
It is estimated that the main suspect made around 80,000 euros on the smuggling.
The case is to go before a Lapland court later this autumn.