As a result of almost a year of close co-operation, Finnish and Estonian Central Criminal Police have revealed a foreign criminal network that smuggled an unusually large amount of Subutex tablets from France to Finland. Effectiveness of the investigation is enhanced by the fact that the police could investigate every level of the criminal activity, from the street vendors to the top.
Smuggling was mainly done by a criminal network in Estonia, who had their own people in France arranging the supply of Subutex. Tablets were smuggled through several different routes to Finland to be spread in the metropolitan area and Pirkanmaa region.
Preliminary investigation has revealed the smuggle of more than 20 000 Subutex tablets. During the investigation, about 8 600 tablets was seized. The number of tablets ending in Finland was at least 11 500 according to preliminary investigation.
Subutex, the active ingredient being buprenorphine, is a country widely abused drug, and it seems that its recreational use is still growing. Subutex is classfied as an extremely dangerous drug in Finland.
The 14 people of the smuggling ring are detained on suspicion of a number of serious drug trafficking offenses. Members of the organisation based in Estonia and France were attained via the European release procedure. Number of other persons have also been imprisoned from the supply chain.
In Estonia, the economic benefits generated by the crime has been subjected to the measures.
Effectiveness of the investigation is enhanced by the fact that the police could invervene on every level of the criminal activity, ie. Subutex tablets purchased from France, the smugglers passing through Europe, different levels of organizers of the way, the recipients in Finland, distributors and users as well as the financiers and the people who benefited financially from the smuggling.
Finnish and Estonian Central Criminal Police's active exchange of information led to the establishment of a joint investigation team in January 2011. Parties of the investigative group were the Finnish National Bureau of Investigation, Office of the Prosecutor of Estonia and the Estonian Police and Border Guard Department of Criminal Police of Estonia, the former Central Bureau of Investigation. In addition, the group's activities have been supported by Europol and Eurojust.
In Finland, the Central Bureau of Investigation worked in co-operation with the Helsinki Police Department on the Subutex distribution occurred in metropolitan area, and with Pirkanmaa Police Department on the Pirkanmaa distribution. Drug-crime units of Helsinki and Tampere took responsibility of the investigation of distribution occurred in their respective areas.
The case has been transferred to the Helsinki prosecutor's office for consideration of charges. It will be dealt with in October in Helsinki District Court.
Source: www.poliisi.fi (the home page of Finnish Police Department)
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