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Former NHL player Jere Karalahti faces drug charges in Finland

HELSINKI, Finland - Former NHL player Jere Karalahti will go on trial later this month on drug charges.

Karalahti is one of 19 suspects in a widespread case of alleged smuggling and distribution of amphetamines in Finland, officials said. He will face trial in the Vantaa prison court near Helsinki on Jan. 29, the Espoo Regional Court said, but did not announce the exact charges.

Local media have reported that Karalahti, 32, was linked to a drug smuggling network that imported and distributed drugs in Finland in July.

Last month, Karalahti was taken off the ice during a practice session with his team Karpat for police questioning.

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 after agreeing to follow the club's strict rules on alcohol and drugs, putting him in contention for a return to Finland's national team for the upcoming world championship in Canada. Karalahti was voted an all star defenceman at the 1998 and '99 world championships.

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