Police in Sweden seize millions of dollars in drugs outside the capital

A massive drug operation was dismantled on Thursday in one of Europe’s most intolerant countries when it comes to drug laws. It is the latest in a series of efforts to curb drug trafficking and organized crime in the country.

Swedish police say about 500 kilograms of drugs with a total value of about 80 million kroner or $7.6 million were seized in a town near Stockholm on December 1.

Police say 260 kilograms (573 pounds) – most of the drugs – were amphetamines and the remaining types of drugs were unspecified.

In Tyreso, south of the Swedish capital Stockholm, three men have been arrested on suspicion of serious drug-related offences. Police also searched another house at a location in Tyreso where a huge trove of drugs was found in a storage room in a residential building.

“This is a very big seizure,” Susanne Wikland, deputy chief of Stockholm City Police, told The Associated Press. Wikland added that this was the result of “aggressive work over a long period of time,” adding that the drug trade was “large and [expensive] serious organized crime.”

It follows a similar operation last month when police in Stockholm arrested 21 people and seized cocaine and cannabis with an estimated street value of between 50 and 100 million kronor, or $4.8 million to $9.6 million.

Zero tolerance for drugs and medical cannabis in Sweden

It’s bad news for the men involved, given Sweden’s particularly harsh stance on drugs: The Transform Drug Policy Foundation reported that the country is maintaining its zero-tolerance policy while relaxing cannabis and drug laws across Europe — virtually across Sweden will.

“…The extent to which Sweden’s low prevalence of drug use can be attributed to its repressive approach is highly questionable, as research consistently shows that broader social, economic and cultural factors are the main drivers of drug prevalence – not the harshness of enforcement. “ Transform Drug Policy Foundation writes.

Some organizations believe Sweden’s zero-tolerance policy increases harm. Traveling artists like Drake had to learn this the hard way. That’s a stark contrast to neighboring Denmark, which has experimented with innovations like drug consumption rooms in the past.

The country is also not very keen on medicinal cannabis. A recent study by researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden attacked the “positive coverage of cannabis” despite what they call poor results. In the study, researchers claimed that medicinal cannabis was no better for pain relief than a placebo and suggested that medicinal cannabis was a myth.

Sweden’s zero drug policy isn’t working

But does Sweden’s strict approach to drugs actually work? This is debatable. Blow is also particularly popular in the Nordic countries.

A study published by national broadcaster SVT found that cocaine has become more common, cheaper and purer in Sweden over the years. Forbes reports that drug detections in general have increased nearly 300 percent since 2012, reflecting an increase in the number of drug detections by customs. In 2018, Swedish Customs seized 485 kg of cocaine, mainly through two large seizures of 298 kg and 98 kg.

The report also shows that the drug has led to more deaths. According to the Swedish National Board of Forensic Medicine, cocaine was the cause of death in 20 cases, compared to just one a few years ago.

Sweden’s zero-tolerance approach to drugs could also have an impact on alcohol consumption. College students in Sweden also report higher alcohol consumption than college students in the US, where drug laws have often been relaxed.

  • Benjamin M. Adams is Staff Writer at High Times and has written for Vice, Forbes, HuffPost, The Advocate, Culture, and many other publications. He holds a Bachelor of Communication from Southern New Hampshire University.

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