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10-year prison sentence for ex-drug squad chief Jari Aarnio

The Helsinki District Court has handed down a 10-year prison sentence to former Helsinki drug squad chief Jari Aarnio. Aarnio stood accused of a raft of drug-related and official misconduct offences that allegedly took place while he lead the specialised crime unit.

Image: Derrick Frilund / Yle

On Thursday, the Helsinki District Court imposed a 10-year custodial prison sentence on Jari Aarnio, the former head of Helsinki’s expert anti-drug crime unit.

The charge sheet listed some 22 offences against Aarnio in a case that also included 12 other defendants. They were accused of a range of offences involving drug crimes and official misconduct.

The heart of the trial that ended on Thursday involved the importation of a barrel containing nearly 800 kilograms of hashish from the Netherlands and its distribution between 2011 and 2012.

The court found that Aarnio played a central role in the drug ring and was therefore found guilty on five counts of aggravated drug offences.

The 10 year-prison sentence was handed down for the five drug crimes in addition to 17 other offences, including official misconduct, threatening a suspect and aggravated evidence tampering.

Prosecutors were calling for a 13 year sentence. The court ordered that Aarnio be taken into custody immediately.

Jari Aarnio has maintained his innocence throughout.

Edit 12.17: Updated to indicate that Aarnio had allegedly threatened a suspect, not a witness.

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