Four convicted of smuggling increasingly popular drug into Denmark

Subutex tablets were seized with a value of up to 6.4 million kroner

Last week four foreigners were convicted in two separate cases at the district court in Nykkøbing Falster of smuggling Subutex into Denmark.

The prescription drug, which is used in drug rehabilitation treatment, is also increasingly being abused as a heroin substitute.

Jail time for all convicted
A Lithuanian father and son were convicted on Monday last week after being caught in October at the Rødby ferry terminal with 2,380 of the tablets. They  were sentenced to 15 months each.

Then on Thursday, a Belarusian woman and her Georgian husband, both of whom have residence permits in Sweden, were each sentenced 21 months in prison for smuggling 3,358 tablets into the country in November.

In each case the drugs were concealed in car interiors. The stashes were in both cases discovered by Kinto, a sniffer dog used by Skat, the tax authority. The vehicles used in the offences, a Lexus GS300 and a Volvo S60, have also been seized and all four offenders have received an entry ban to Denmark for 12 years.

Pharmaceutical or dangerous substance?
The court heard that Subutex contains the opioid derivative buprenorphine, which is used in the treatment of drug addiction but can also be abused by dissolving the tablets and injecting the solution intravenously, providing a rush to the user that is comparable to heroin.

The central question in the cases was whether Subutex should be treated as a pharmaceutical product or a dangerous substance. Iben Grønbæk, the prosecutor in the cases, explained that in the second case the court’s decision on this point was appealed.

“The court considered Subutex to be a dangerous substance, which the prosecution service is satisfied with,” she said.

“The second judgement was appealed straight away by both of the accused. It is therefore also satisfactory that the High Court will now take a position on the question, so there can be a fixed practice in the area, which is still very new.”

It is thought the drugs were destined for further smuggling to Sweden. An expert witness told the court the drugs can fetch up to 150 euros (about 1,119 kroner) per tablet.