On the night of Thursday 21 October, two customs officers at the Åsnes border crossing confiscated 980 liters of alcohol wrapped in cartons with fake whiskey labels.
The driver, who was driving a Swedish-registered van with Danish signs on it, crossed a small road to evade customs control. However, the car was monitored by Norwegian customs officers on the Swedish side. He tried to escape from the police back to Sweden, but to no avail.
49 large cardboard boxes were found in the man’s car. In each box, customs officers found ten 2-liter cans of counterfeit alcohol.
By September 2020 at the latest TV 2 wrote about a death linked to methanol poisoning. About 20 years ago, as many as 18 Norwegians died after consuming smuggled alcohol.
Customs officers at Magnormoen made a record haul in a trailer with building materials. See the section at the top of the case.
still a problem
Elizabeth C. Netum, chief border advisor at Customs, remembers this methanol case well.
– The alcohol came from Spain and was smuggled into Norway, she tells TV 2.
Warn against buying alcohol and spirits anywhere other than an authorized distributor, such as Vinmonopolet or Swedish Systembolaget.
Buying liquor from acquaintances involves a great deal of risk, and you have no guarantee of what the bottle contains. If you’re lucky, the only consequence is that you’ve bought counterfeit, i.e. low-quality alcohol, she explains.
There are many ways to forge. A well-known method is to use the original bottle and fill it with another alcohol, preferably diluting it with water.
– Others produce the bottles and stickers themselves, so they look like a real item. Both happen, although we see most of the latter.
Gambler with life
Netum says that even for customs officials, it can be difficult to point out fake alcohol from the original.
– There is a lot of fake vodka, but there is also a lot of whiskey. There are some specific brands that get repeated. Now a lot of fake alcohol comes from Lithuania and the Balkans. In general a lot of Eastern Europe.
– Unless it is captured, where do you think it will end up?
We think it ends up in private homes, underground pubs and clubs selling alcohol without a license. Drinking such alcoholic beverages involves a great deal of risk, as you can never know where they come from.
Nettum also mentions the well-known phenomenon of alcohol taxis, and states that it is gambling to drink this alcohol.
We who have teenage children want to take care of them. Shopping from an alcoholic taxi is risky. The probability that they will then buy low-quality fakes is high. Alcohol is usually taken illegally in Norway, and the origin is unknown, she says, and she warns:
In short: Don’t buy illegal alcoholic beverages.
Grab 5000 liters
summer 2020 Customs uncovered more than 5,000 liters of counterfeit alcohol, during a major international operation.
The same type of element took several lives in both England and the Czech Republic.
– Previously, large trailers were filled with liquor. This truck can hold up to 20,000 liters of alcohol. But we see little of that. Now they use pickup trucks with smaller parts.
Nettum refers to the reported seizure of 980 liters of whiskey that was made in Åsnes last Thursday.
They store larger shipments outside the border and transport them in smaller trucks in smaller quantities. They know we work with tag recognition, so this car had fake Danish tags on it. It concludes that they are trying to deceive us, but we take them anyway.
“Coffee trailblazer. Certified pop culture lover. Infuriatingly humble gamer.”