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Ex-Kings, Predators player Karalahti charged in drug smuggling case

HELSINKI, Finland -- Former NHL player Jere Karalahti was
charged Tuesday with being involved in smuggling amphetamines into
Finland.


The 32-year-old Karalahti was charged with being involved in
smuggling nine pounds of amphetamines into the country. In a case
that includes 19 people, he also allegedly provided $29,500 for
smuggling operations, prosecutors said. He has denied the charges.


If found guilty, Karalahti could face up to six years in prison.


The drug ring is suspected of smuggling amphetamines and cocaine
from Estonia to Finland last year.


On Nov. 6, Karalahti was taken off the ice for police
questioning during his Karpat team's practice. Three days later, he
was arrested on suspicion of committing a serious drug offense.


The Finnish Hockey League temporarily banned Karalahti in
December.


Karalahti left the NHL in 2002 after being suspended for six
months for his third violation of the league's substance abuse
policy. He played 121 games from 2000-02 for the Los Angeles Kings
and Nashville Predators.


Karalahti joined Karpat last year. Skating for Finland, he was
voted an All-Star defenseman at the 1998 and '99 world
championships.