Icelander Wanted by Interpol in Cocaine Case

Pétur Jökull Jónasson, wanted by Interpol

Interpol has posted a wanted person notice for Icelander Pétur Jökull Jónasson. He is suspected of attempting to smuggle 99.25 kilos of cocaine from Brazil to Iceland. The Reykjavík Metropolitan Police asked Interpol to post the notice, RÚV reports.

Largest cocaine case in Iceland’s history

The case Pétur Jökull is suspected of being involved with was deemed Iceland’s largest ever cocaine case and tried in Icelandic courts last year. Four defendants were sentenced to six to ten years in prison. The cocaine was discovered in the Netherlands after a tip from Icelandic law enforcement and hidden in tree trunks en route from Brazil to Iceland. An attorney for one of the defendants claimed that they were only pawns in a large chain.

Grímur Grímsson, chief superintendent with the Metropolitan Police, confirmed that Pétur Jökull is suspected of involvement, but did not go into detail. No other people are suspected in the case.

A long track record

Pétur Jökull has been convicted three times by Icelandic courts. He was sentenced to pay a fine in 2007 for possession of illegal drugs. In 2010, he was sentenced to three years in prison for smuggling 1.6 kilos of cocaine from Spain to Iceland. A year later he received a five month sentence for robbery.

Pétur Jökull was also the keyboard player for the short-lived pop band Dr. Mister & Mr. Handsome.

Icelandic Man Arrested in Brazil in Large Drug Bust

Metropolitan Police

Vísir reports that a man has been arrested in Brazil by the Brazilian authorities in a joint operation with the Icelandic police. The man in question is believed to be Sverrir Þór Gunnarsson, also known as Sveddi Tönn, who has a long history of drug-related offences in Iceland, Spain, and Brazil.

The operation was carried out due to concerns about the flow of drugs from Brazil to Europe and Iceland, which is believed to be linked to a group associated with Sverrir. The Icelandic police have been cooperating with the Brazilian authorities for some time in connection with this case.

Sverrir Þór Gunnarsson was born in 1972 and has a criminal record that started when he was sixteen. He was first convicted of minor drug and traffic offences and was given the nickname Sveddi Tönn because of his appearance, supposedly resembling a tooth. In 2000, Sverrir was sentenced to seven and a half years in prison for his involvement in a large-scale drug trafficking case known as “The Big Drug Case.” Thirteen people were convicted, and Sverrir received the second heaviest sentence.

In November 2012, Sverrir was sentenced to 22 years in prison in Brazil for organizing the smuggling of around fifty thousand ecstasy tablets. He was released from prison in Brazil but was put under house arrest. Later, he fled Brazil and was on the run until his recent arrest.

The Brazilian police have announced that the operation was part of a large-scale crackdown on organized crime groups involved in money laundering and drug trafficking. Around 250 police officers were involved in the operation, which targeted 49 locations, resulting in 33 arrests.

The police are reported to have seized 65 kg of cocaine and 225 kg of cannabis in the operation.

Fine of ISK 6.5 Million for Smuggled Roses

The Reykjavík District Court has sentenced a flower wholesaler to two months’ probation and a fine of ISK 6.5 million [$50,077; €43,244] for smuggling roses and bouquets into the country, RÚV reports. An employee of the wholesaler was also fined ISK 1 million [$7,704; €6,653].

The accused, who pleaded guilty, were charged with smuggling four shipments of cut roses and mixed bouquets into Iceland between 2016 and 2018, although the oldest of the charges was dropped.

According to the indictment, the wholesaler provided customs with inaccurate and/or misleading information about the types and quantities of flowers that they were importing from the Netherlands.

Stronger Cocaine Seized in Larger Amounts

cocaine

Stronger cocaine than ever before is being smuggled into Iceland – and in larger amounts than have ever been seen before, RÚV reports. Iceland’s three largest cocaine smuggling cases have all occurred since the beginning of this year. Although large packages have been confiscated on their way into the country, the price of the drug has not risen, which points to there being enough of it on the market.

Records broken repeatedly

Decades ago, the largest cocaine cases in Iceland were measured in the hundreds of grams. In 1988 and 1993, two cases arose which were the biggest of their time, one involving just under a kilo while the other just over a kilo of cocaine that was discovered and confiscated. In 2007, 3.8 kilograms of cocaine were smuggled into the country from Cuxhaven, Germany, which set a new record. In December 2017, an Icelandic man smuggled 4.7 kilograms of cocaine into the country from Barcelona. That amount was topped this year in May.

This year alone, there have been seven cases involving half a kilo or more of cocaine smuggled into the country, which is the benchmark for “large” smuggling cases. The first of these cases is by far the largest in Icelandic history, involving two young Icelanders who smuggled over 16 kilograms of cocaine in two suitcases. They have since been convinced alongside a third man.

Not only are three of this year’s seven cases the largest in Icelandic history, but the cocaine being smuggled into the country is much stronger than it was decades ago. Cocaine traces in Icelandic wastewater have quadrupled in the last two years. The development is being attributed to Icelandic criminals in South America.

Linked to prosperity

Much of the cocaine found on its way into the country is discovered at Keflavík International Airport. Guðrún Sólveig Ríkarðsdóttir, its head customs officer, says authorities are sometimes tipped off about smuggling in advance, though often it’s customs officers’ keen eye that spots when something is going on. “It can be all kinds of things. It can be body language. It can even be the trip itself.”

Guðrún says that officers often seize individuals who are transporting the cocaine internally “both inserted and swallowed.” She adds that most smugglers are regular people who have found themselves in dire financial straits. “It could be drug debt, it could be people on expensive medication,” she says.

When asked what lies behind the spike in smuggling, Guðrún speculated: “We might maybe start by linking this with prosperity in the country, and we know that demand is high – otherwise this high volume wouldn’t be circulating. We also know that the street price has not been rising despite all of these seizures, and that also tells us that there’s plenty on the market.”