Record number of customs seizures

Customs control seizuresOSLO.Customs control vehicles with the new "X-ray vehicle" Hjortneskaia in Oslo.Photo: Stian Lysberg Solum / NTB scanpix

Record number of customs seizures in 2017

The Norwegian Customs Office has never before made as many seizures as they did in 2017.


In 2017, a total of 37,500 seizures were made, of which almost 4,400 involving drugs – of varied size.

E-commerce involving drugs and medicines

– Unfortunately, we have set a new record in the number of drug seizures in 2017. The Internet has made it easy to order narcotics, medicines and doping online. We make daily seizures of narcotics and mediciness in postal packages.

– In recent years there has also been a sharp increase in seizures of sedatives, says CEO in the Norwegian Customs, Øystein Børmer.

The so-called new synthetic drugs can be 50 to 10,000 times more potent than traditional narcotics. They can be cause immediate death, even in tiny doses.

– I am worried that people are gambling with their own health to achieve a buzz, says Børmer, who is also worried about the safety of the customs officers.

– As a result of new and dangerous types of drugs, we now have to take completely different measures than before to ensure the safety of customs officers, says Børmer.

Large alcohol seizures

The Norwegian Customs has never seized as much beer and spirits as in 2017. Wine seizures are at the highest level since 2011, double the amount compared to 2016. Customs officers confiscated in excess of 700,000 liters of alcohol in 2017, close to 2,000 litres of alcohol every single day.

– Smuggling of alcohol seems to have increased drastically. We see that professional actors are smuggling an increasing amount of alcohol. With the help of our cameras on the border, solid intelligence and experienced customs officers, we have discovered extensive smuggling of alcohol in 2017, says the CEO of Norwegian Customs.

The trend is that the smugglers are taking bigger risks and bring larger loads with them. Last year, 16 of the loads were larger than 10,000 litres of beer. At the beginning of December, the Norwegian Customs stopped two trailers with a total of 45,000 litres of beer at Svinesund. It is the largest customs seizure of beer in one day ever.

The development diverges

– The development goes in several directions. On the one hand, smugglers are becoming more professional. We see well-organized criminals, operating with high volumes and willingness to take large risks. At the same time, we have the trend of increasing online shopping of narcotics and medicines, with a large number of small shipments. On top of this, we have a general growth in commodities flowing across the border. These development factors put the Customs under pressure, says Børmer.

– The Government and Parliament’s commitment to enhanced border control, including the establishment of so-called ANPR cameras at the border crossings, has been critically important contributions to hamper what we assume is an underlying growth in smuggling. – Together with the good work by the Customs Officers, this initiative is an important reason for the seizure record, Børmer concludes.

Statistics on seizures made by Norwegian Customs

Statistics on seizures made by Norwegian Customs in 2017 and 2016

Seized goodsPr. 31.12.17Pr. 31.12.16
Alcoholic beverages
Spirits (litres)7 029 72 098645760 768
Spirits > 60% (litres)27 10249345
Wine (litres)3 81460 5403 45631 117
Beer (litres)6 612575 1135 648566 441
Other goods
Meat (kg)40123 85944225 733
Fish (kg)10711 187364 940
Currency (NOK)77140 190 74681353 284 291
Pharmaceutical products, exept narcotics
Doping (units)952127 152902194 644
Amfetamine (kg)289206.826325189.435
Cannabis (hash and marijuana), kg1 5101 584.4041 3951 749.627
Heroin (kg)5926.310437.929
Khat (fresh and dried), kg2634 3721781 856
Cocaine (kg)15937.52014831.390
New psychoactive substances (NPS) , kg1063.147791.492
New psychoactive substances (NPS) – pcs1439823307
Tobacco products
Cigarettes (pcs)7 6126 638 5147 6508 929 438
Snuff (kg)1 4871 2781 262677

See also: Statistics for the period 2012-2017 for each category.


© / Norway Today