A foreign citizen is in custody after being arrested at Keflavík International Airport in possession of 2.2 kilos of cocaine, reports RÚV. The suspect was arrested at the end of June and is one of thirteen people—twelve foreigners and one Icelander—who have either been charged or convicted of cocaine smuggling in Iceland since the beginning of the year. Nearly ten kilos of the drug have been confiscated at the airport since October 2016, estimated to be worth half a billion krónur [just under USD 5 million].
Most of the individuals who have been arrested for cocaine smuggling have arrived on flights from Amsterdam, although several have also come from Copenhagen. The majority have been Dutch citizens, although those arrested for smuggling have also included Brazilian and Polish citizens, as well as an American woman travelling from Düsseldorf, Germany with 286 grams of cocaine. Thus far, a German citizen transporting 1.9 kilos of cocaine from Munich has received the heaviest sentence: three years in prison.
Jón Halldór Sigurðsson, detective chief inspector with the Suðurnes Police in south-west Iceland, says that there is no one reason for the rise in cocaine smuggling, although it may suggest that amphetamine production is increasing in Iceland. It is also, perhaps, indicative of increased prosperity. According to a report made by Fréttablaðið two years ago, a single gram of cocaine cost ISK 18,000 [USD 173].
Þórarinn Tyrfingsson, the chief physician at the National Center of Addiction Medicine [SÁÁ] says that he’s observed an increase in cocaine consumption since the end of last year. “It went down during the crash, and then increased a little bit after that. But now we plainly see that cocaine use is constantly increasing.” There are indicators that drug use is returning to a level similar to what it was before the financial collapse in 2008.
Reykjavík Police Chief Superintendent Grímur Grímsson says that he can’t confirm that local cocaine use is actually on the rise, explaining that police in the capital area primarily confiscate MDMA (ecstasy). Two foreign men are currently on remand, for instance, for smuggling three kilos of MDMA into the country in April. However, Grímur agrees that increased importation of cocaine could indicate that amphetamines are being produced for sale locally and says this is something the police are considering.