Police Announce Historic Drug Bust

Capital Area Police

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.

Two Teenagers Hospitalised After Eating Morphine-Laced Gummy Bears

Two teenage girls, aged 13 and 14, were taken unconscious to the hospital this weekend after consuming gummy bears that had been laced with cannabis and morphine, reports a post on the Police in Suðurnes, South Iceland’s Facebook page. Both young women have now been discharged from the hospital and are recovering well.

Police determined that both girls were at the same place on the same evening and both were offered gummy bears by an older teenager who had himself bought the laced candy from an adult man. Neither of the young women knew what was in the candy when they ingested it.

“What we’re obviously talking about here is curiosity among young people,” read the Police post. “The parents of these kids asked us over and over where they got this stuff. Getting access to drugs is extremely easy and for anyone who has been shown how to do it, it only takes a few minutes to scrounge some up.”

The post continues to say that police interrogated the young man regarding the incident, who “was alarmed when he…realised the seriousness of the matter.” The parents of both young women are also working with the Child Protection Agency to address the situation and its implications with them.

“We want to encourage parents to discuss this with their children and educate them about the dangers that are out there,” continues the post, noting that with quick googling, almost anyone can easily make laced gummies in any shape they want. “Worse, however, is that it is possible to put whatever you want in it…You can, for instance, put all kinds of strong medications in it like Contalgin or Oxycontin and you don’t have to guess what the end result will be if a 13-year-old child ingests such a gummy.”

“Please discuss this with your children,” the post concludes, “and have the conversation.”

Icelandic Police Drop Charges Against Hemp Farmers

hemp farming Iceland

Police have dropped charges against farmers in Gautavík, East Iceland who are cultivating industrial hemp, RÚV reports. The plant is derived from a strain of Cannabis sativa, which contains low concentrations of THC, the primary psychoactive compound in marijuana. As such, the crops were reported to police by the Icelandic Medicines Agency as being in violation of current law. Following an investigation, however, police elected to drop charges and it’s likely that the government will soon remove legal barriers to hemp production, thereby allowing farmers to produce hemp for use in a range of products, such as fibreboard and eco-friendly concrete.

Farmers received a government grant

After being notified of the crops, authorities took samples and tested them for THC. No active THC was found in the plants; industrial hemp contains very little THC and cannot be consumed as a drug. However, current law bans the production of any plant containing any traces of the compound.

The farmers from Gautavík are not the first to have their industrial hemp crop questioned by the Medicines Agency. Another farmer was told that cultivating the crop was in violation of Icelandic narcotics law in 2013. However, in a letter police wrote detailing the conclusion of their current investigation, they affirmed that in this instance, the Gautavík farmers had received permission from the Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority (MAST) to import 75 kilos of hemp seeds and that the shipment had gone through customs without comment. Police also point out that the farmers received a processing grant of ISK 700,000 ($4,846/€4,503) from the Ministry of Industries and Innovation to support their efforts. In light of the inconsistencies with which the law has been enforced, police concluded that it was unlikely that the hemp farmers would be convicted if the case went to court and elected to drop the charges.

Hemp fibreboard, hemp concrete, hemp salt, hemp tea

Food and agriculture consultant Oddný Anna Björnsdóttir is one of the farmers cultivating industrial hemp in Gautavík and says that she will continue to do so. “We’ve already produced fibreboard from the industrial hemp that we harvested last summer and used it to make giftware. Likewise fire-resistant hemp concrete, and we’ve also experimented with making hemp salt and hemp tea. So there are many possibilities for making valuable products out of this raw material.”

Based on the Icelandic Medicines Agency’s current stance on industrial hemp, it’s uncertain as to whether farmers will be allowed to import hemp seeds again this summer. However, the government recently announced that the Ministry of Industry and Innovation and the Ministry of Health intend to work together to make provisions for the legal cultivation of industrial hemp.

Icelandic Glacial Developing Cannabis Drink

Beverage producer Icelandic Glacial is developing a special cannabis drink intended to be sold on the global market. Vísir reports that the beverage will be made with Icelandic water and CBD oil, a non-intoxicating marijuana ingredient that has been credited by some as having a variety of health benefits.

Earlier this year, Icelandic Glacial signed a three-year contract with the US-based company Youngevity International to develop the beverage, as well as other health-related products.

Founder and chairman of the Icelandic Glacial board Jón Ólafsson has said that the CBD drink will have medicinal properties that will be of help to people with a variety of ailments and pain. Jón noted that CBD oil is sold over-the-counter in almost all countries in Europe, although not in Iceland. He also said that similar cannabis drinks are available on the American market and that it’s his hope that Icelandic Glacial’s own CBD drink will eventually be sold worldwide.

East Side Pranksters Give Cannabis the Green Light

Pranksters on the east side of Reykjavík gave marijuana the green light on Thursday, placing a cannabis leaf-shaped stencil atop the green traffic light at the intersection of Langholtsvegur and Álfheimar, RÚVreports. Páll Sigurðsson, an electrical engineer in the city’s traffic light service department, was unamused by the prank, but said that vandalism of traffic lights is uncommon in Reykjavík, as most people realize that the signals are important safety devices.

Although the stencil does cover some of the green light, it does not appear to impede drivers’ ability to recognize the signal at this time. Páll says that the city’s response will be simple: “We remove something like this immediately, regardless of what the image is. It’s very rare that something like this comes up, and this is definitely an exception to the rule.”

Páll went on to say that traffic lights should be respected and not subjected to such vandalism, for safety reasons. “This is naturally a safety issue. It’s just common sense not to mess around with them and most have sense enough not to.”

Traffic light stencils have been to put to similar, albeit state-approved use elsewhere in Iceland. The northern town of Akureyri installed red hearts in their traffic lights in 2008, “as a consequence of the finance crash…when there was a need for some positive thinking and to put emphasis on what really matters.”