Rising number of aggravated narcotics offences and uncovered tax frauds – More than 1 700 kg of narcotics seized by Finnish Customs last year

In 2019, Customs uncovered nearly 7 800 customs offences and seized over 1 700 kilos of narcotics. The societal impact of crime prevention by Customs in 2019 amounted to around 66 million euros and the impact of economic crime prevention to around 33 million euros.

In 2019, Finnish Customs registered a total of 2 020 narcotics offences, 389 of which were aggravated offences (281 aggravated cases in 2018). The seizure of the “Silkkitie” server resulted in Customs uncovering about 7 000 criminal offences, a significant number of which will be investigated as different types of narcotics, doping and medicine offences.

Increase in imports of cocaine, khat, marijuana and narcotic medicines

In 2019, Customs seized a total of 1 714 kilos of narcotics, which is almost 700 kilos more than the year before. The rise in the total quantity is mainly explained by increased quantities of khat and marijuana. Customs seized over 255 kilos of marijuana, the largest quantity in 13 years (200 kilos in 2018).

Customs also seized a record quantity of 32.9 kilos of cocaine in 2019. More than seven kilos of heroin was seized by customs authorities. In previous years, the quantity seized heroin was only a fraction of this.

A total quantity of around 24 kilos of methamphetamine and amphetamine was seized in 2019, that is, around 22 kilos less than in 2018. According to the statistics on seizures and based on other information available to Customs, the occurrence of methamphetamine seems to have decreased in the Finnish market.

Customs seized about 117 000 items of narcotic medicines. About half of this quantity comprised a single seizure of Rivotril.

Customs crime prevention has a significant societal impact

The societal impact of customs crime prevention amounted to around 66 million euros in 2019 (39 million euros in 2018). Most of the societal impact involved tax evasion to the amount of 24.2 million euros. As for the indicators of the impact of economic crime prevention, the amount of losses due to the investigated cases amounted to 20 million euros.

Rise in the number of tax frauds

The number of tax fraud cases investigated by Customs has increased during the past few years, and in 2019 it was the highest in five years. Customs investigated a total number of 1 362 tax fraud cases in 2019. The corresponding number of cases in 2018 was 1 294. There were 149 cases of aggravated tax fraud, which was also the highest number in five years. The cases of aggravated tax fraud mainly involved illegal imports of cigarettes, alcohol and snus.

Large quantities of snus still seized

Seizures of snus by Finnish Customs reached a record-high number in 2018 when our authorities seized over 6 744 kilos of snus. In 2019, seizures of snus reached a quantity of just under 5 000 kilos, more than double the number a couple of years ago. Sale and smuggling of snus has become a professional activity in Finland.

Customs detained 2.7 million cigarettes in connection with criminal cases in 2019. The number was the same as in 2018.

In 2019, Customs uncovered a total of 328 alcohol offences, which is almost the same number as in 2018 (321 cases). Customs detained some 9 700 litres of passenger-imported alcohol and 10 400 litres in freight traffic. A total of 323 294 litres of alcohol was placed under tax consideration in 2019.