Rising number of teens lured into serious crime

Published 11 March 2024
- By Editorial Staff
The young people themselves often do not know what is in the packages.

The number of teenagers and young adults involved in serious crime is on the rise, according to a report by the criminal investigation division of the Swedish Customs Service (Tullverket). The department is sounding the alarm that an increasing number of young people are becoming so-called “parcel goalkeepers”, receiving postal packages containing weapons and drugs.

The recruitment of underage “parcel goalkeepers” is increasing sharply, is taking place all over the country and is mainly done via social media such as Snapchat and TikTok, according to the report. When the Swedish Customs Service detects that a minor has received a package containing drugs, weapons or other illegal goods, it launches an investigation to trace the sender.

Since people under the age of 15 cannot be questioned, Customs involves social authorities in questioning suspects. This means that there are no statistics on the number of minors exploited as parcel thieves.

– In our investigations, we increasingly find that young people have been persuaded or tricked into accepting postal packages containing both weapons and drugs. They often have no idea what the packages actually contain. This development is so alarming that we feel compelled to warn parents and other guardians about this worrying trend, says Lina Andersson, Deputy Head of the Swedish Customs Criminal Investigation Department, in a press release.

Parents should pay attention

However, it is often difficult to find the person(s) behind the orders, as they often take place in several stages. Andersson cites the example of a 16-year-old who decided to receive a package of drugs for a payment of SEK 1,000.

– He is now on trial on suspicion of aggravated drug smuggling and attempted aggravated drug trafficking, she says.

Andersson urges parents and guardians to be more aware of what their children are doing on social media and to talk to them about the consequences of acting as a “parcel goalkeeper”.