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CRIME

‘One of the most extensive strikes ever’: 155 Swedish arrests in global police sting

Some 250 people were arrested in Sweden and Finland in a global crackdown on organised crime using planted encrypted phones, authorities said on Tuesday, with only Australia registering more arrests.

'One of the most extensive strikes ever': 155 Swedish arrests in global police sting
File photo of a Swedish police vehicle with barricade tape. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Out of a total of over 800 arrests across 16 countries, 155 arrests were tied to Swedish investigations and another 100 were arrested in Finland. Australia said it had charged more than 200 people.

“Yesterday, early in the morning, the Swedish police performed one of the most extensive strikes ever in intelligence-led police operations against violent crime and drug networks,” Linda Staaf, head of intelligence at the Swedish police, told reporters.

On Monday, 70 people were arrested in Sweden and another five in Spain, in addition to another 80 Swedish arrests tied to the operation, Staaf told the press conference organised by Europol in The Hague.

“Many of them (were) persons with essential roles and heavy influence on the drug market. Those who instigate murders and violence, by shootings and explosions, right in the middle of the Swedish society,” Staaf said. Sweden has for years struggled to counter a rise in crime tied to criminal gangs, which has resulted in a spike of fatal shootings and bombings in an otherwise peaceful country.

Using phones planted by the US FBI, law enforcement officers were able to read the messages of global underworld figures in around 100 countries as they plotted drug deals, arms transfers and gangland hits on the compromised ANOM devices.

Of the total 12,000 ANOM users, Swedish police had access to about 1,600 accounts, and eventually honed in on around 600 people, according to the police.

Using this information, Staaf said Swedish police had been able to “prevent more than 10 planned murders within Sweden”.

Finnish police meanwhile said in a statement on Tuesday they made almost 100 arrests and seized “more than 500 kilos of drugs, dozens of weapons and hundreds of thousands of euros in cash,” during extensive raids carried out as part of the operation.

The raids included a major seizure of cannabis and machine guns in the capital region, as well as a workshop in the southern town of Tampere “where 3D printers were being used to manufacture firearms components”, police said.

In Nordic neighbour Norway, a total of seven arrests had been made. Police in many countries had already been able to benefit from the June 2020 infiltration of the Encrochat network, which was also widely used by criminals.

This also lead to a wave of arrests, and Staaf described it as a “game changer in combatting serious violent crime”.

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HEALTH

Swedish opposition proposes ‘rapid tests for ADHD’ to cut gang crime

The Moderate Party in Stockholm has called for children in so called "vulnerable areas" to be given rapid tests for ADHD to increase treatment and cut gang crime.

Swedish opposition proposes 'rapid tests for ADHD' to cut gang crime

In a press release, the party proposed that treating more children in troubled city areas would help prevent gang crime, given that “people with ADHD diagnoses are “significantly over-represented in the country’s jails”. 

The idea is that children in so-called “vulnerable areas”, which in Sweden normally have a high majority of first and second-generation generation immigrants, will be given “simpler, voluntary tests”, which would screen for ADHD, with those suspected of having the neuropsychiatric disorder then put forward for proper evaluations to be given by a child psychiatrist. 

“The quicker you can put in place measures, the better the outcomes,” says Irene Svenonius, the party’s leader in the municipality, of ADHD treatment, claiming that children in Sweden with an immigrant background were less likely to be medicated for ADHD than other children in Sweden. 

In the press release, the party said that there were “significant differences in the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD within Stockholm country”, with Swedish-born children receiving diagnosis and treatment to a higher extent, and with ADHD “with the greatest probability” underdiagnosed in vulnerable areas. 

At a press conference, the party’s justice spokesman Johan Forsell, said that identifying children with ADHD in this areas would help fight gang crime. 

“We need to find these children, and that is going to help prevent crime,” he said. 

Sweden’s climate minister Annika Strandhäll accused the Moderates of wanting to “medicate away criminality”. 

Lotta Häyrynen, editor of the trade union-backed comment site Nya Mitten, pointed out that the Moderates’s claim to want to help children with neuropsychiatric diagnoses in vulnerable areas would be more credible if they had not closed down seven child and youth psychiatry units. 

The Moderate Party MP and debater Hanif Bali complained about the opposition from left-wing commentators and politicians.

“My spontaneous guess would have been that the Left would have thought it was enormously unjust that three times so many immigrant children are not getting a diagnosis or treatment compared to pure-Swedish children,” he said. “Their hate for the Right is stronger than their care for the children. 

Swedish vocab: brottsförebyggande – preventative of crime 

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