A MINOR DRUG OFFENCE was the impetus for opening a pre-trial investigation into the terrorist criminal acts linked to five 23–26-year-old men in Satakunta, Western Finland, reports Helsingin Sanomat.
The men were detained on suspicion of offences such as preparation of an offence to be committed with terrorist intent by the District Court of Satakunta in Pori on Friday, 3 December.
“It only goes to show how sharp criminal investigators have to be. Things that lead to other things can pop up in connection with things,” Toni Sjöblom, the detective superintendent in charge of the pre-trial investigation at Southwest Finland Police Department, stated to Helsingin Sanomat on Wednesday.
He described the case that set off the sequence of events as one that could pop up in ordinary day-to-day criminal investigations.
The investigators revealed last week that the men had formed a radical far-right group that is believed to have conspired to carry out a terrorist act. The detention ruling indicates that the suspected offences took place in Jämijärvi, a small municipality in Satakunta, between May and December 2019, according to Helsingin Sanomat.
No details were provided about the conspiracy itself, be it about its target or its stage of advancement.
The men were suspected of aggravated firearm offences in the early stages of the investigation, in December 2019. They were detained for some time on suspicion of offences the following month, as police seized a significant number of firearms, ammunition and explosives during house searches.
While the investigators said the group was under close surveillance since the start of last year, they did not comment on why the suspects were not detained until last week.
The Finnish Security Intelligence Service (Supo) stated that the far-right group has had no ties to organised far-right movements or party politics. The group, it said, subscribes to a far-right ideology known as accelerationism and its members therefore did not participate in protests or public online discussions.
It is nonetheless possible that members of the group had personal connections to others who share a similar ideology, according to Supo.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT