Denmark police arrest 12 connected to cannabis smuggling network

12 people have been arrested in connection with the investigation of a criminal network which police believe to be responsible for widespread organised smuggling and sale of cannabis.

Denmark police arrest 12 connected to cannabis smuggling network
File photo: Henriette Dæhli/Polfoto/Ritzau

The arrested individuals are between 32 and 49 years of age, Copenhagen Police confirmed in a press statement.

The arrests took police during coordinated police raids on Wednesday.

“This is a network that has been responsible for a large amount of smuggling of cannabis into Denmark. There is an international network that is responsible for and delivers the cannabis in question,” police inspector Flemming Madsen said in the statement.

The raid primarily took place on Zealand, but arrests were also made in Jutland as well as in Spain, police said.

Investigations leading to the arrested were carried out with the assistance of authorities abroad.

1,100 kilograms of cannabis have previously been seized by police as part of the investigation – an amount estimated to be worth 55 million kroner (7.4 million euros).

Wednesday’s arrests and raids also led to the discovery of several weapons, 32 kilograms of cannabis and large amounts of cash.

Eight of the arrested individuals will appear before magistrates at Copenhagen City Court on Thursday, while three others who had previously been detained in connection with the case will now face the court for a second time.

The twelfth person, who was arrested in Malaga, while not face the city court in the Danish capital.

“The network has people in both Denmark and Spain, and we have therefore carried out a coordinated raid. We have thereby arrested one person in Spain who we will seek to have extradited subsequently,” Madsen said.

The police inspector declined to release further details of the case, with the state prosecution set to request a behind-closed-doors trial.

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Why Copenhagen police say crime is on the up in Christiania

Crime in Copenhagen’s hippie enclave of Christiania is increasing, police in the capital say following a number of drugs-related arrests.

Why Copenhagen police say crime is on the up in Christiania

Copenhagen Police arrested three men on Saturday for selling cannabis on Pusher Street in the alternative enclave of Christiania, as they continue their efforts to stamp out the area’s former open-air cannabis market. 

According to police, 875 people were arrested for selling cannabis in the first 11 months of 2022, more than in any other year over the past four years. 

A possible explanation for the increase in arrests could be that the rewards for operating hash stands have receded, according to a police spokesperson.

“It is extremely unattractive to stand out there, and therefore a lot of new people come in who have no idea what it is all about. Many of them come from outside the catchment area, and some of them are peripherally associated with a criminal group,” Simon Hansen, head of a Copenhagen Police special unit, told newspaper Politiken.

“It’s a bit – in inverted commas – ‘easier’ for us to catch these people,” he said. 

Around half of the stalls in the street are linked to various gangs and biker gangs, such as Satudarah, Bandidos, Hells Angels and Loyal To Familia, with the rest run by people living in Christiania, the Berlingske newspaper reported earlier this month.

The trend of rising crime occurs against a background of potential housing develop in Christiania, as the enclave’s residents decide on a plan to put affordable housing in the area.

Copenhagen Police last year told news wire Ritzau that the majority of people who are arrested within Christiania come from socially underprivileged or marginalised backgrounds.

They are exploited in gang and biker circles, resulting in them in some cases operating the illicit hash market stalls, according to the police.

Conflicts between organised crime groups have reportedly become more frequently aired in the Pusher Street market.

READ ALSO: Denmark’s ‘freetown’ Christiania hangs onto soul, 50 years on