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Capital Area Police
Photo: Screenshot Vísir.

Police Announce Historic Drug Bust

The Capital Area Police held a press conference yesterday announcing a historic drug bust. The street value of the seizure amounts to ISK 2.4 billion ($18.5 million / €17.4 million).

ISK 1.7 billion worth of drugs seized

At 2 pm yesterday, the Capital Area Police Department held a press conference announcing a historic drug bust resulting from two extensive investigations. The street value of the drugs seized in the two busts amounts to an estimated ISK 2.4 billion ($18.5 million / €17.4 million). Ten individuals have been arrested in connection to each investigation.

According to Assistant Detective Chief Superintendent Margeir Sveinsson – who introduced the results of the former investigation – the Capital Area Police had been monitoring individuals suspected of the manufacture, distribution, and sale of illegal narcotics over the past few months. The individuals in question were also suspected of money laundering.

On May 20, a raid was carried out in 14 locations – commercial buildings, residential homes, and farmsteads. The police later searched six other places during their investigation, and ten individuals were arrested, one of whom remains in custody.

“We believe this is the biggest domestic seizure connected to a single investigation,” Margeir stated. The police seized 200 cannabis plants, over 30 kg of marijuana, 20 kg of hashish, and 7 kg of MDA. The police also seized MDA base, from which it is possible to manufacture over 200,000 ecstasy pills; 2 kg of cocaine; 1 kg of amphetamines; and over 40 litres of amphetamine base, which, based on its potency, could suffice to manufacture 170 kg of amphetamine for street sale. Finally, the police confiscated two kg of crystal methamphetamine, a “very potent drug,” according to Margeir.

Margeir estimated that the street value of these substances amounted to ISK 1.7 billion ($13.1 million / €12.3 million). He also observed that profits from sales were commonly laundered through legal businesses. The investigation is still ongoing.

700 million worth of amphetamine

After Margeir had concluded, Detective Chief Superintendent Grímur Grímsson discussed a separate investigation into organised crime that’s been ongoing for the past one and a half years. The investigation was initiated by information from Europol predicated on encrypted messages. In early 2020, imported substances were used to produce 117 kg of amphetamine, with a street value of 700 million ($5.4 million / €5.1 million). Ten individuals were arrested during the investigation, five were detained, three of whom remain in custody. According to mbl.is, all of the suspects in custody are Icelandic males.

Over 200 judicial claims

Hulda Elsa Björgvinsdóttir, Head of Indictments with the Capital Area Police Department, stated that legal proceedings based on the two investigations had been initiated in September, 2020. Many more legal complaints, or over 200, have since been filed.

The charges include organised crime in connection to the manufacture, importation, distribution, and sale of illegal narcotics, in addition to money laundering. According to Hulda, a great deal of time and effort was spent on the investigations and local authorities have been  in continuous contact with police authorities abroad.

Hulda also noted the extensiveness of the crimes, observing that it was worth considering their impact on the lives of affected individuals. She also questioned the effectiveness of laws stipulating that suspects may only be held in custody for twelve weeks unless charges are brought: “a brief time,” in relation to such extensive investigations, Hulda remarked.

Among the “greatest threat” to society

Chief of Police Halla Bergþóra Björnsdóttir also addressed media during the press conference. She remarked that the importation and manufacture of illegal narcotics was the single largest aspect of organised crime, which she deemed “one of the more serious threats” to modern Icelandic society.

Margeir added that the police had an estimated 10 ongoing investigations into organised crime in Iceland.

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