The ex-leader of Helsinki’s anti-drugs police unit has been jailed for 10 years after being found guilty of helping a gang smuggle hashish into Finland.
Jari Aarnio helped organised criminals import and sell almost 800kgs of the drug between 2011 and 2012, a Finnish court ruled. The 59-year-old was also convicted of tampering with evidence and misconduct in public office, among a number of other offences.
Capitalising on the 30 years of experience he had built up tackling major drug traffickers, Aarnio linked up with a Finnish organised crime organisation known as the United Brotherhood, a number of whom appeared alongside the disgraced former policeman in court. Keijo Vilhunen, the leader of the group, was also sentenced to 10 years in prison.
After being arrested in 2013, Aarnio denied all charges against him, insisting he had been acting in his professional capacity as a police officer during what he claimed were undercover dealings with the gang.
Aarnio, who was referred to as “the Emperor” among his colleagues, intends to appeal the sentence, his legal team said. The drugs conviction comes just months after he was handed a three-year jail term for fraud and corruption offences back in September, after he was found to have an interest in a company that sold surveillance equipment to Finnish police.
At the time of his arrest, Aarnio owned eight luxury vehicles and had managed to accumulate €500,000 in cash, Helsinki district court heard.
The case was an oddity in Finland, which has one of the lowest rates of official corruption in the world. According to Transparency International, Finland ranks as the second-least corrupt nation on the planet, beaten only by Denmark.
The United Brotherhood syndicate was formed in 2010, and is made up of three separate criminal organisations. The gang, which prosecutors claimed is heavily involved in drug smuggling and financial crime during Aarnio’s trial, insists that prospective members must have committed a murder before they are able to join, it has been claimed.
The group is thought to consist of up to 90 members, many of whom are now behind bars, and is made up of various sub-groups based in different parts of Finland, which can be identified by their different dress codes and logos.
In 2013, one of the group’s members was jailed for 11 years after police found a massive cache of 47 weapons at his home. Ville Johannes Jaatinen was locked up at Päijät-Häme district court following his conviction for multiple criminal acts, including the possession of illegal firearms, drugs and money laundering. In July of this year, Oulu district court jailed a 25-year-old United Brotherhood member after he was caught in possession of 450 grams of amphetamines.