Norwegian customs seized 260% more marijuana in 2020 than the year before

MarihuannaPhoto: Gorm Kallestad / NTB

Norwegian customs seized more than 2.5 times more marijuana in 2020 than in 2019.

Despite the strictest border control, the Customs’ marihuana seizure statistics remained at a high level in 2020. 

Customs Director Øystein Børmer is surprised by the quantities, as passenger traffic across the border almost disappeared last year.

“Organized criminals are adaptable and have reduced the use of couriers in passenger traffic. Instead, they focus on hiding in regular freight traffic. We also see that more people are trying out remote and low-traffic crossings,” Børmer said.

No supply problems

In 2020, the total amount of cigarettes, meat, and marijuana seized increased compared to the previous year. For marijuana, the total amount of seizures increased by more than 260% – from 101 kg in 2019 to 368 kg in 2020.

The drug markets in Norway are not characterized by major supply problems, as the Customs Service sees it. 

The same trend is reported in other European countries. However, the drugs seized have changed during the pandemic.

“In 2020, the Customs made significantly fewer seizures of drugs that are typically used in social contexts, such as cocaine and ecstasy. We believe this is related to social lockdowns and restrictions… Thus, both the demand and the smuggling of this type of drug decrease,” Børmer explained.

Counterfeit medical products

In cooperation with other authorities, Customs have tried to prevent inadequate infection control equipment and counterfeit medicines from being transported into the country during the pandemic.

“When the pandemic broke out, there was an acute demand for various types of infection control equipment that the market was unable to meet. This demand tempted rogue and criminal actors, who quickly tried to import and smuggle counterfeit and substandard medical products,” Børmer said.

The customs service also believes that the pandemic has helped strengthen the trend of ordering illegal and prescription drugs online.

“It is unfortunate that we once again have to warn people against ordering medicines online,” Børmer concluded.

Source: © NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today / #NorwayTodayNews

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