Swedish Prosecutors say they have issued international arrest warrants for two Britons suspected of smuggling over a ton of Chinese garlic into Sweden.
Mr. Thomas Ahlstrand, deputy chief prosecutor at Sweden’s International Public Prosecutions Office, said the men first shipped the garlic to Norway by boat, where it entered the country duty-free since it was considered to be in transit. They then drove the approximately 1.2 tons of garlic across the Swedish border, thus avoiding customs checks and Swedish import duties.
The garlic, worth an estimated £8 million in total, was then distributed across the European Union.
Mr. Ahlstrand described the smuggling as an “extensive operation for big money” that ran for about two years, and that there were “lorry loads” of the vegetable involved. “There were about 50 shipments involved amounting to around 1.2 million kilograms of garlic,” Mr. Ahlstrand told The Daily Telegraph.
Mr. Ahlstrand said on 9 January 2013 that the men avoided some 10 million euros (S$16.1 million) in Swedish taxes through the scheme. A lengthy police investigation led to the identification of the two British allegedly behind the operation, which took place in 2009-2010, reports todayoneline.com
“The two British suspects operated several companies in Europe, and they had one in Norway for the single purpose of smuggling garlic. The garlic was loaded onto commercial trucks and then driven into Sweden. The border is very open so it was easy to cross and once inside they could carry on to the cost.” Although overshadowed by the drugs trade, garlic smuggling into the EU can prove to be a lucrative illicit business, reports the Daily Telegraph.