Hockey pro Jere Karalahti taken into custody on drug suspicions
Player has history of substance abuse problems
Finnish premier ice hockey league player Jere Karalahti was detained on Tuesday by police in connection with a major narcotics investigation. Police also raided the premises of a few Helsinki and Lohja-based motorcycle gangs, including the notorious Bandidos MC in connection with the investigation.
The police will decide by Friday noon whether to remand Karalahti in custody on suspicion of an offence. Karalahti has a history of substance abuse problems, which have caused him problems both in Finland and in the United States, playing in the NHL.
In Espoo, police Det. Inspector Ari Karvonen's view, none of the options can be ruled out at this stage.
"The decision will be made on Friday, unless something turns out before then that rules out Karalahti's involvement", says Karvonen.
The police collected Karalahti from ice hockey practice with his team Kärpät in the Raksila ice stadium in the northern city of Oulu. Karalahti was brought to Espoo, where he has been interrogated.
The crime suspicion relates to an ongoing narcotics investigation that started last summer.
Officers from the Espoo and Lohja police, as well as the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) are all taking part in the investigation.
This autumn's police raids into the premises of certain motorcycle gangs in Helsinki and Lohja relate to this very investigation.
At the end of September the police raided the Bandidos MC motorcycle gang's premises in Helsinki's Kyläsaari district.
Last Thursday the police raided a Lohja clubhouse that is used by a Bandidos supporter club called Diablos, plus another Bandidos candidate gang.
According to Karvonen, the investigation involves a number of crimes beyond those involving illegal drugs. Karvonen is not revealing which crime Karalahti is suspected of.
The police are also keeping quiet about the time and location of the crime that Karalahti may be accused of.
Karvonen believes that the police will complete the preliminary investigation into the matter by Christmas. Because of the investigation well over ten people have been placed under arrest. In addition, several other people have been apprehended and taken into custody.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Jere Karalahti suspended for six months without pay from NHL (19.8.2002)