Private individuals and criminal networks
The people engaging in this illegal trade include both private individuals and a range of organised criminal networks, with large amounts of alcohol brought into the country through buying trips by car to countries where alcohol is considerably cheaper than in Sweden. The car trunks are usually packed to the brim with beer, wine, and spirits – when stopped by Customs, it’s not uncommon to find over 1,500 litres there. If they’re not stopped, once they’re back on home ground, they sell the alcohol to anyone at all. It doesn’t matter whether it’s to an adult or to a child.
You just post on Facebook, asking if anyone can get hold of some spirits. And then, like one second later, someone messages you and asks you what you want.
Wille, aged 16, Gothenburg
The dealers usually keep substantial stocks of the illegal alcohol at home, in their cellars, garages or other storage areas. And they are open 24/7 to anyone. Their mobile numbers are spread around schools and, in particular, online. All you need to do is send a message and the seller will deliver directly to the address of your choice.
They sell to adults. And they sell to kids, too
Some adults buy cheap alcohol from the same illegal dealers who sell to teenagers and the sort of signals they’re sending to their children probably never even cross their minds. But if parents buy from a garage, they’ll find it hard to be credible when talking to their teenagers about the law and age limits. And by buying alcohol in this way, they’re also encouraging a business that makes it easier for young people to get a hold of alcohol.
I don't know where the alcohol comes from. It's my friends who fix us up.
Petra, aged 15, Gothenburg
It’s not just the alcohol that can be dangerous
Selling alcohol illegally is a serious crime punishable with heavy fines or prison sentences. Teenagers who buy alcohol from dealers are, in other words, doing business with criminals who often are involved in other forms of illegal activity too. Which means not only that they’re encouraging an illegal trade, but that the relationship itself can be directly hazardous.