Swedish police nab Lithuanian diaper smugglers

Posted Sep 28, 2014 by Martin Laine
Police officers in Jämtland, in northern Sweden, spent the night counting disposable diapers, more than 25,000 of them, after stopping two men in a van they believe were trying to smuggle them to eastern Europe.
Blue Cloth Diapers and Cloth Diaper Inserts
Blue Cloth Diapers and Cloth Diaper Inserts
According to an article in The Local, the two men were Lithuanians, one in his 20s, the other in his 40s. The diapers had been bought in Norway, and brought across the border into Sweden without declaring the cargo and paying the duty fee. The men were arrested and questioned at the Östersund police station.
“They did not report that they were transporting the goods across the border from Norway to Sweden. You are accountable to report it to customs and pay the duty fee,” said Stefan Fredriksson of the Jämtland police.
This is by no means an isolated incident.
While many consumer items in Norway are expensive compared to other European countries, disposable diapers are not.
According to an article in the Norway edition of The Local, a package of 25 diapers costs about $3.50 (US) in Norway, but as much as $20 in parts of eastern Europe. The only other place with such cheap diapers is Mumbai, India, according to an article on the ThorNews website.
That price difference has created an active black market run by organized gangs.
Two years ago Norwegian police stopped two Lithuanians trying to smuggle 44,000 diapers out of the country.
At times the smuggling efforts have been so extensive that its created a diaper shortage as foreign buyers clear store shelves.
“They buy every last diaper, I mean everything we have on the shelves, throw it in the back of their car and take them home where they sell them for a nice profit,” said Terje Ragnar Hansen, a regional director for the Rema 1000 retail chain, in an article on the RTE News website. “It’s not stealing, it’s not even criminal, but it’s a big problem.”