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Roadside vending supports organized crime

Swedish strawberry sales linked to gang warfare

In Sweden, a warning has been issued regarding the purchase of strawberries from roadside vendors due to potential links with the country's gang conflicts. The Times highlighted the cultural importance of strawberries in Sweden, especially during the midsummer festival, comparing them to the traditional jordgubbstarta strawberry cake. However, recent police actions targeted several strawberry sellers before the midsummer festival, aiming to disrupt a profitable operation for one of Sweden's violent criminal organizations. The Times reported that the fruit trade, seemingly benign, has evolved into a substantial revenue stream for gangs traditionally involved in drugs and racketeering.

Aftonbladet suggested a connection between the raids and a gang leader known as Jordgubben, translating to "The Strawberry." While specific gangs were not disclosed, the police mentioned targeting a key violent figure and their economic activities. The Local highlighted instances of vendors misrepresenting Belgian strawberries as Swedish, with proceeds suspected to support organized crime. Investigations uncovered the employment of underage children and undocumented migrants at these stalls.

Per Lundback, a police chief, advised the public to exercise caution when purchasing strawberries from roadside vendors, indicating such transactions might support criminal endeavors. He also noted a common sign of illicit activity: the use of personal mobile numbers for transactions on Sweden's cashless payment app, Swish, instead of business numbers. Sweden faces a rising gang crisis, with an increase in gang-related violence and shootings, marking a significant shift in the country's safety landscape.


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