Finnish customs have seized several thousand kilos of snuff during a preliminary investigation of a smuggling operation that is estimated to be worth millions of euros.
Over the past year, customs officials have investigated the smuggling and distribution of the banned substance around the capital region and believe that the criminals involved have avoided paying tax of around five million euros.
A total of 53 people – consisting of citizens of Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – are suspected of being involved in the operation and can be prosecuted for, among other things, smuggling, gross tax evasion and illegal importation of goods.
In cooperation with Estonian customs officials, Finnish officials have stopped trucks in the ports of Helsinki and Tallinn because they suspect that the imported snus originated in Sweden, traveled via Central Europe to the Baltics and eventually to Finland before being stored in rented premises and containers around in the capital region.
The preliminary investigation of the smuggling activities has also revealed some other suspected serious crimes, such as serious drug crimes, serious money laundering and weapons crimes.
Along with the seizures of snus, several hundred kilos of nicotine bags, which are classified as prescription drugs, have also been seized by customs officials. Unlike snus, nicotine bags do not contain tobacco.