Graeme Pearson http://www.scotlandinunion.co.uk/the_reality_gap
A EU Report Claims Scotland’s Oil Capital is a Stronghold for the “Cammora” a Crime Organisation That Originated in Naples
The “Trans-crime Centre”, based at the universities of Milan and Trento, has analysed how major gangs invested “dirty” money in selected countries between 2007 and 2012, and concluded that the group has interests in the catering, food retail and property sectors in Aberdeen.Its reports states: “The Camorra stronghold is in Aberdeen, the third most populous city in Scotland, where it controls the catering, public works, food retail and wholesale and property sectors.”
Dr Felia Allum of Bath University, an expert on the “Camorra” said information passed to her confirmed there were “two, three or four” full-time clan members in Aberdeen, but they were not “going around beating people up. When “Camorristi” move abroad, they adopt a different strategy, which is predominantly a financial one. In Aberdeen it appears to have been money laundering. There are grey areas and there is a lot of blurring and sensationalism around the issue. But It is clear from my experience that there has been stuff going on in Aberdeen.”
Barney Crockett, an Aberdeen councillor, said the mafia presence in Aberdeen was no secret, but added that he was “totally confident” it had no involvement in public works.
Councillor Barney (pictured below) and another three officers travelled 11,000 miles to the Tokyo Expo ( cost to the taxpayers £8,000) and stayed over 6 days (sight-seeing and hosting dinners) simply to attend a meeting lasting just 90 minutes
Members of some eastern European gangs are making more money from illegally harvesting shellfish than from selling drugs, police said.
Divers working for organised crime gangs are using the banned practice of electro-fishing – where sea creatures are electronically stunned – to bring in hauls of worth up to £65,000 a day. The gangs are targeting razor clams off the coast of Argyll, west Scotland. The shellfish make up an important part of the fishing industry, contributing £3.1 million to the Scottish economy
Clams Transported to Asia where they fetch very high prices
Organised Crime in Scotland – One man’s solution to the problem – Report Card: Failed
This is a report on the ever increasing problems of organised crime in Scotland. Illegal drugs (manufacture, transportation and distribution) people smuggling and human trafficking of young girls for prostitution in an increasing number of brothels, money laundering and many other anti social activities.
It covers the period 2004 – 2015 a time in which Graeme Pearson, exercised a major influence over the formation and performance of the police in Scotland first, as head of the Serious Organised Crime Agency for Scotland (SOCAS) then as a Labour Party MSP and Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Justice in the Scottish Labour front-bench team.
The report makes disturbing reading since it exposes the abject failure of the anti drugs and crime policies imposed on Scotland by SOCAS under the direction of Pearson who followed the seriously flawed dogma of the FBI.
A recent admission by a US senior police fraud investigator recently highlighted an ever increasing incidence of fraud and other criminal activities within the very forces set-up to defend the public, stating that centralisation of talented police officers simply created highly intelligent teams operating out of a single office and provided more opportunity for corruption, which some officers had seized on with a vengeance. Meantime pools of local talent had been reduced in ability resulting in increased incidence of local crime.
It might be time to look again at the methodology of dealing with organised crime and drugs since the Scottish public are on a “hiding to nothing” with the systems put in place by Graeme Pearson and the Labour Party.
There is also the matter of the creation of a Scottish Police Force, first proposed by Pearson against the wishes of Stephen House then Chief Constable of Strathclyde, a force that covered half Scotland’s population.
The new force, largely modelled on the proposition put to Cathy Jamieson by Pearson needed a tough nut to provide the leadership necessary to achieve success and Stephen House was correctly selected for the new post.
But, as is often the case in major reorganisations his time in office would be limited by the debilitating progress of forces within and outwith Police Scotland determined upon mischief where their local influences were being diminished.
Pearson, now involved politically with the Labour party witnessed opportunity to cause problems for the recently formed Scottish Police Force and armed with inside knowledge of personalties and motivating factors driving discontent gained Labour Party leadership authority to tour Scotland’s police regions gathering information and compiling a report setting out what had gone wrong and what need to be done to fix things.
The report proved to be a rehash of political negativity spouted by Pearson in the period before and since the formation of the Scottish Police Force. Professor Robertson offers a more detailed reply in his article – http://newsnet.scot/?p=115963
About Graeme Pearson
Graeme Pearson (born 1 April 1950) is a Labour Member of the Scottish Parliament for the South of Scotland region. He is a former police officer and Director General of the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency. He was appointed to the position of Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Justice in the Scottish Labour front-bench team by Johann Lamont in May 2013. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graeme_Pearson
boyfriend comatose (trousers lowered to find site to inject heroin) girlfriend also unconscious, trousers down, holding a needle.
17 October 2004: Press release – Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland) – No Soprano’s in Scotland-FBI-style agency to wipe out Crime families. Special Build headquarters to house six specialist gang-busting groups
An FBI style crime-busting agency with a purpose-built HQ is to be opened in Scotland to wipe out organised crime. Six organisations will come together under the umbrella of the Serious Organised Crime Agency for Scotland (SOCAS) at a special campus on the site of the old Gartcosh Steelworks. The total bill could top pounds 40million – and with beautiful irony, future funding will come direct from the sale of houses, cars and other goods seized from gangsters.
Graeme Pearson, director of the Scottish Drug Enforcement Agency, sold the revolution in crime fighting to Labour Party justice minister Cathy Jamieson. It could open as soon as 2006. Last night Pearson said: ‘Our organisation is designed to stop the worst excesses of what we see in the type of Sopranos fiction. ‘The bottom line is there should be no Sopranos in Scotland – we cannot have the type of firm that thinks it can do as it likes. ‘We need to go back a few chapters to ensure that crime organisations like that cannot get a foothold in Scotland.’
Cathy Jamieson (Deputy Leader of Labour government in Scotland from 2000 to 2008) approved Introduction of Uunified police force
17 February 2006: Graeme Pearson – Scottish Crime and Drugs Enforcement Agency Chief to step down
Pearson, 57, has led the fight against gangsters, drugs barons and people traffickers since 2004. But he’s stepping down to allow a new man to “prepare the way for future developments”.
Hardly a surprising development since the deceased top informer Mr McGraw is now in very permanent retirement himself. Pearson’s work in future would have been infinitely less productive without McGraw’s input. The betting his ‘stepping down’ is to ensure his clean-up record stays intact….Because without stitch-up merchants and prolific informers such as “The Licensee” Pearson would have to actually do some bloody detective work…..Which is beyond the capabilities of the former Airdrie desk jockey. http://paulviking.websitetoolbox.com/
Paul Ferris Former Glasgow gangster – now Author
4 March 2006: Detective Sergeant Pearson demoted and sent to Airdrie as a Uniformed Desk Sergeant
Over 20 years ago, at the time Pearson was a Detective Sergeant within the Scottish Crime Squad he was demoted to uniform Sergeant after a series of complaints from fellow officers and victims of his corrupt practices of fitting people up.
he was relocated to Airdrie Police station as a uniformed sergeant by the Assistant Chief Constable of Strathclyde! Pearson was also informed that he would never be involved in any police inquiries ever in the duration of his career.
This was a major statement from the then Chief Constable that far too many complaints of ‘Wrongdoing’ was intolerable and sent a very clear message to other like-minded officers that this would happen to any officer who would be inclined to follow in his footsteps.
Now Pearson is about to become a law unto himself and how did he manage to rise through the ranks to lead investigations that he was previously instructed that he would never be investigating any crime ever again?
The answer to his meteoric rise to power and subsequent black-mark on his career prospects being overlooked is that those in power at the time he was sent to purgatory (Airdrie) have since retired or are now dead.
However the Justice minister must know of this as must the Lord Advocate and many others including fellow disgruntled fellow officers and yes as time goes bye we all tend to forget things but unfortunately for Pearson how can he explain this one?
Ass kicking FBI style HQ? kick this dishonourable man out the door and give the job to a decent cop who has no skeletons in the closet and deserves the post on merit rather than an old pals act as this is not plain sailing on this issue———-we have very long memories too you know and have people who are prepared to put an end to this sham and pension him off so that he can go back to the USA and visit the J Edgar Hoover building or had he plans for a Graham Pearson building? He sold the idea to the bold Cathy Jamieson who agreed to part with £10Million, and where did that come from? The taxpayers!
Jump before your pushed or do you have dirt on others that have kept this demotion secret, until now. so go back into your office or get someone to read this out to you as your days in office are well and truly numbered as Scotland can really do without the Soprano’s especially when disguised as a police officer. http://paulviking.websitetoolbox.com/
Tam McGraw (The Licensee)
8 March 2006: Director of the Scottish Drug Enforcement Agency, Graeme Pearson behind plot to murder me claims Paul Ferris
No convictions were ever made against McGraw and his top slasher who was later murdered on a rainy night in the East end of Glasgow. But it is thought McGraw’s handlers were behind his prosecution’. Blackhill gangster Paul Ferris claims that McGraw was involved in many violent crimes and drug dealing but escapes prosecution because of his ties with Mr Pearson.
He also claims the Scottish Drug Enforcement Agency which Mr Pearson runs was involved in a plot with McGovern family member Russell Stirton to plant heroin on Ferris and kill him. Stirton, claims Ferris, taped the conversations of the police plot and handed it over to Ferris.
“This just confirmed to me what I’d already been told by a rogue cop and a lawyer that Pearson was now McGraw’s handler. And he couldn’t pull his own snitch now could he?”, said Paul Ferris in his book “Vendetta.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Ferris_%28Scottish_writer%29 http://paulviking.websitetoolbox.com/
14 March 2006: The Fitting-up of Paul Ferris – Transcript of covert tape recording (9 September 2005) between PC Graham Mitchell and Paul Ferris – the plot thickens
Graham Mitchell was a serving police officer at Baird Street Police station in Glasgow when I secretly recorded a conversation with him.
Mitchell had failed his sergeant’s exams but was ambitious and wanted to be with the big boys at CID level. He attempted to use me as a ticket to get to the big time at Baird Street cop shop. Instead he ended up in the dock on the same firearms charges as me we were co-accused!
Mitchell had previously warned me about a plot to have me fitted-up and at first seemed a decent honest cop who took the opportunity to warn me of this plot during an accidental meeting at a service station I was having with a mate of mine called Russell Stirton.
Mitchell approached me after Russell had left and asked what was I doing talking to Stirton. The fact that I was meeting with Russell was due to the invite I received to attend a meeting at STV studios where the chief crime reporter had filmed one of the Drugs Squad’s top men DS Derek Ingram saying he had asked Russell to plant Heroin in my car.
Mitchell said “I’ll tell ye something else that came back. Somebody in the Drug Squad is supposed to have given somebody who’s been in Russell’s car – some wee guy – the stuff to plant in his car, right. At first they said they’d found it in Russell’s car because they need statements. But if it goes to trial it’ll be that he dropped it out in a matchbox under his motor. The wee guy that’s been in Russell’s motor is a tout for another Mitchell and they are claiming tout money to pay him off for Russell getting done. That’s the story. Nobody knows that … you know”
Now I had two independent individuals telling me the same story and neither knew each other which made me really worried. One was Don Lindsay of STV Studios the other was Police Constable Graham Mitchell and at that point alarm bells were ringing in my head. Mitchell then offered to be my eyes and ears within Baird Street Police station but wished a favour in return.
I made it clear to Mitchell that I would not give him any info on others as I was not a grass nor would I supply him with anything that would result in the arrest of anyone either. Mitchell said the ‘favour’ was not of that kind so I presumed that he wanted money for his services and did a mental note of how much I was prepared to give him in order to meet again and to record the whole conversation.
I had a substantial amount of money in mind to pay him as the recording would have been worth every penny then he told me what the favour was. He said “Can you get me a shotgun a good yin?” and in one sentence I knew it was nothing to do with money. I agreed saving myself a right few quid into the bargain as the shotgun he was looking for was approx £100.
Mitchell was no honest cop, but whatever he intended to do with the shotgun I was prepared to take the risk I needed to get what he said about Stirton on audio tape and how else would I have been believed. The end result was I met Mitchell the next night armed with a hidden tape recorder and had at least Sixty minutes of Mitchell telling me I was the prime target for a fit-up.
I then made arrangements to hand over his shotgun which he took and kept it under his bed at his parents house in Glasgow whilst I handed my audio tape (copy) to Don Lindsay of STV studios.
It came as no surprise when I was arrested under the firearms act some weeks later the real surprise was that Mitchell was also arrested and we both stood trial in the summer of 1986. My defence was that I was out to prove a conspiracy to fabricate me with procured evidence by the police even Mitchell confirmed all of this within the contents of the audio tape. Mitchell’s defence was that he was acting as an officer of the law at all times.
The trial judge instructed the jury to find me guilty as I had no defence in Scottish law such as entrapment although if the jury believed my story then they could ask for leniency. The very same judge instructed the jury that they could find Mitchell not proven or not guilty.
I was sent down for 3yrs. Mitchell walked a free man and to this day the audio tape of what Mitchell told me that night was still worth the 3yrs sentence. Mitchell kept his job and eventually passed his sergeants exams. http://paulviking.websitetoolbox.com/
7 April 2006: Graeme Pearson, director of the Scottish Drug Enforcement Agency (SDEA) in firearms plea.
The head of Scotland’s drugs busting agency has said he wanted his officers to carry firearms. Graeme Pearson, director of the Scottish Drug Enforcement Agency (SDEA), believes there should an armed unit to respond to emergencies.
Mr Pearson insisted that the war on drugs was being won but he added that the SDEA needed “latitude” to be able to do its job. He said: “Under current arrangements we require to make contact with the local police force and ask for firearms support from them and that sometimes may take some deal of time. “Either it becomes so obvious that we’re there and we’ve lost all our impact, or else it takes time to organise.”
He went on: “In the dead of night when we are dealing with those that we identify as the most serious criminals in Scotland, and sometimes in Europe, we could have an emergency situation where firearms predictably become an issue. “I think that my officers have the right to be protected and also have a duty to protect the public.” http://paulviking.websitetoolbox.com/
Multi Million Pound Trade in Illegal Cigarette Sales
14 April 2006: ‘FBI’ cop accused of planting drugs and plotting murder
The copper taking a leading role in the new Scottish FBI has been accused of plotting to kill a gun running gangster. And giving crown immunity to one of the country’s notorious crime-lords.
Graeme Pearson who was handed the post of ‘gatekeeper’ to the newly formed Serious Organised Crime Agency is allegedly protecting a super-grass whose evidence was used to catch one of the richest men in the world.
SOCA has been set up to crack down on organised drug gangs by the Prime Minster Tony Blair last week. Mr Pearson was said to be behind the capture of John Angus Gorman who was facing years in prison this week for masterminding a pounds 61 million drugs smuggling operation.
Gorman, 49, who was known as Piddy, plotted to smuggle 12 tons of heroin, cocaine and cannabis into Britain. But Mr Pearson has been accused of breaking the law in a bid to catch the Mr Bigs. Tam McGraw (whose nick name is the Licencee – licensed to commit crime) has been accused of passing on vital information to his handlers on John Palmer.
Palmer was jailed in 2001 for defrauding 17,000 holiday-makers in a pounds 30 million scam. At the time, he was ranked 105th in the Sunday Times Rich List with pounds 300 million, alongside the Queen, Michael Heseltine and the Duke of Devonshire.
He was released from prison just last year after serving half of his eight-year sentence. His timeshare operations were based in Tenerife and he was known as ‘Goldfinger’ after being accused of handling gold from the Brinks-Mat bullion robbery at Heathrow in 1983, although he was cleared of any involvement. Palmer and McGraw were introduced when McGraw went to Tenerife.
Some believe that he deliberately went there to infiltrate Palmer’s gang. Palmer was a big catch for the police and it has been suggested that the Home Office has McGraw on a list of registered informers and worth more out of jail than in. Joe Steele and Thomas “TC’ Campbell served 18 years before their convictions for the murders linked to Glasgow’s so-called Ice Cream Wars were ruled unsafe. They were wrongly convicted of an arson attack which murdered six members of the Doyle family in 1984.
Mr Campbell said McGraw’s hand was behind the fire. McGraw, who was near the Doyle residence that night, was cleared of any wrong doing. While Mr Campbell was freed and awaiting the results of his appeal he was allegedly violently assaulted by Billy McPhee and McGraw who tried to kill him in broad day light and in front of witnesses. No convictions were ever made against McGraw and his top slasher who was later murdered on a rainy night in the East-end of Glasgow. It is thought McGraw’s handlers were behind his ‘prosecution’.
Blackhill gangster Paul Ferris who was jailed for gun running claims that McGraw was involved in many violent crimes and drug dealing but escapes prosecution because of his ties to Mr Pearson.
He also claims the Scottish Drug Enforcement Agency which Mr Pearson runs was involved in a plot with McGovern family link Russell Stirton to plant heroin on Ferris and kill him.
Stirton, claims Ferris, taped the conversations of the police plot “This just confirmed to me what I’d already been told by a rogue cop and a lawyer that Pearson was now McGraw’s handler. And he couldn’t pull his own snitch now could he?”, said Paul Ferris in his book Vendetta. http://paulviking.websitetoolbox.com/
Graeme Pearson Leader of the Serious Organised Crime Agency allegedly protected super-grass Tam McGraw whose evidence convicted one of the UK’s richest gangsters
18 June 2006: Tsar admits: We’ve lost the war on drugs
Scotland’s drugs tsar has sparked a furious row by openly declaring that the war on drugs is “long lost”. Tom Wood, a former deputy chief constable, is the first senior law enforcement figure publicly to admit drug traffickers will never be defeated. Wood said no nation could ever eradicate illegal drugs and added that it was time for enforcement to lose its number one priority and be placed behind education and deterrence. Wood holds the influential post of chairman of the Scottish Association of Alcohol and Drug Action Teams, a body which advises the Executive on future policy.
He said: “I spent much of my police career fighting the drugs war and there was no one keener than me to fight it. But latterly I have become more and more convinced that it was never a war we could win. In order to make a difference in the long term, education and deterrence have to go to the top of the pile. We have to have the courage and commitment to admit that we have not tackled the problem successfully in the past. We have to win the arguments and persuade young people that drugs are best avoided.” He went on to say that he: “took his hat off” to the SCDEA and added that it was essential to carry on targeting dealers. He stressed he was not advocating the decriminalisation or legalisation of any drugs.
But Pearson, director of the SCDEA, said he “fundamentally disagreed” that the war on drugs was lost. “I strongly disagree when he says that the war on drugs in Scotland is lost. The Scottish Executive Drug Action Plan acknowledged that tackling drug misuse is a complex problem, demanding many responses. It is explicit within the strategy that to effectively tackle drug misuse, the various pillars of the plan cannot operate in isolation.”
Alistair Ramsay, former director of Scotland Against Drugs, said: “We must never lose sight of the fact that enforcement of drug law is a very powerful prevention for many people and, if anything, drug law should be made more robust. “The current fixation with treatment and rehabilitation on behalf of the Executive has really got to stop.”
And Scottish Conservative justice spokeswoman Margaret Mitchell said: “I accept Wood’s sincerity, but this is a very dangerous message to go out. I would never say that we have lost the war on drugs. Things are dire, but we should never throw up the white flag.”
But Wood’s view was backed by David Liddell, director of the Scottish Drugs Forum, who said: “We have never used the term ‘drugs war’ and it’s right to move away from that sort of approach. For every £1 spent on treatment, £9-£18 is saved, including in criminal justice. The balance has been skewed towards more punitive aspects.”
And John Arthur, manager of the drugs advice organisation Crew 2000, said: “I think Tom Wood is right. This is something our organisation has been arguing for for a long time and it is good to see this is now coming into the mainstream.” Among the ideas now backed by Wood is less reliance on giving methadone as a substitute to heroin addicts. He says other substitutes should be considered, as well as the possibility of prescribing heroin itself or abstinence programmes.
One new method being examined by experts is neuro-electric therapy, which sends electrical pulses through the brain. One addict with a five-year habit, Barry Philips, 24, from Kilmarnock, said the treatment enabled him to come off heroin in only five days.
Wood said: “We need to look at the other options. Other substitutes are used in other countries. They even prescribe heroin in Switzerland and there is a pilot in Germany, with pilots also mooted in England and, more recently, Scotland. We need to have a fully informed debate.”
A Scottish Executive spokesman said: “We have a very clear policy on drugs, which is to balance the need to tackle supply and challenge demand. They have to go hand in hand and we make no apology for that.” http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/tsar-admits-we-ve-lost-the-war-on-drugs-1-1412705 http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/448574.stm
Chief Constable Tom Wood Sites where syringes have been found in Scotland
2 March 2007: Police shut down about 20 cannabis ‘factories’ in Scotland.
Vietnamese organised crime is behind a sudden explosion of cannabis cultivation in Scotland in the past year, with more than 40 factories producing £5 million of the drug in the past nine months.
Graeme Pearson, head of the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency (SCDEA), will today tell a drugs conference that cannabis cultivation in Scotland has gone from a “homespun cottage industry” to mass production lines overseen by Far Eastern “Mr Bigs”.
A network of Vietnamese gangs, responsible for mass cannabis production in North America and the south of England, is understood to have recruited members of the Chinese community in Scotland to set up dozens of factories across the country in recent months.
A big rise in cannabis cultivation in parts of England has already been witnessed in recent months, with the proceeds reinvested in other aspects of organised crime, including heroin, cocaine and firearms.
Last week police disclosed the results of Operation League, a major cannabis-production crackdown, mainly in the west of Scotland, which has seen about 20 factories shut down. Police made several arrests during the operation, including Vietnamese and Chinese nationals, along with Scots.
But Mr Pearson will today tell a Scottish police conference on cannabis that the scale of the production is even higher. He told The Scotsman: “In the past year, cultivation in Scotland has gone from a baseline of almost nothing to a very substantial quantity. “More than 44 cultivations with a crop worth more than £5 million have been uncovered in the past six months. “It’s gone from a homespun industry to a major production-line approach and is now big business. He said organised crime gangs had set up production “very quickly” in Scotland in the past year. “There is a Vietnamese and Chinese backdrop to many of these developments,” he said.
Scots police were alerted to the problem by law-enforcement authorities in Canada, where Vietnamese and other Far Eastern gangs have seized almost total control of the cannabis market over the past five years. The criminals also moved into class A drugs and violent gang wars ensued. Cannabis production subsequently spread to mainland Europe and has now reached Scotland.
Supplies of the Class C drug in the UK have traditionally come from countries such as Afghanistan, Lebanon, Morocco and the Americas, but it is thought that around 60 per cent is now home-grown – compared with 10 per cent a decade ago.
Ian Latimer, chief constable of Northern Constabulary and president of the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland, which has organised the two-day conference at Turnberry, said: “This new development emphasises the need for individual police forces to work closely with the SCDEA. “The significant number of arrests in the last nine months could not have been made without that partnership.”
Comment: The foregoing emphasises the need to legalise cannabis and thus permanently remove it as a means of black market gangs making money. Throwing more money at a policy that has been proven ineffective and counter productive decades ago is not going to solve it. http://www.scottwebb.co.uk & http://www.uk420.com/boards/index.php?showtopic=85024
cannabis farm in the heart of the city
1 July 2007: Drug plague that knows no boundaries – Leap in crack deaths in North-East of Scotland
In an area where drugs are a fact of life, the discovery of two bodies in a squalid harbour-side flat would probably have been regarded as little more than yet another tragic sign of the times. However, one of the victims was a former beauty queen from a respectable family, and the reality of a growing problem permeating all levels of society was brought home with a vengeance.
In less than two years Saranna Buchan turned from a popular, vivacious young woman into a down-trodden crack addict controlled by a violent drug-dealing boyfriend 20 years her senior. When police found her battered body and that of her lover, 41-year-old James Logan, two weeks ago shock-waves swept through the 18,000-strong coastal community of Peterhead. A good family and loving home had been no protection against this modern plague.
First Minister Alex Salmond, whose constituency covers Peterhead, last week called for a cross-party approach to end the ‘scourge of drugs’, which he said was sadly indicative of a problem facing the whole of Scotland.
As police continue their investigations into the apparent murder of Buchan and the suicide of Logan, (who had a criminal record for violence), Graeme Pearson, the director-general of the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency (SCDEA), said: “Crack cocaine is a particular problem for the north-east of Scotland. Around Aberdeen there’s been regular difficulty with the drug for a couple of years now.”.
Saranna Buchan and James Logan More than 3 Tonnes of cocaine recovered from a ship in the North Sea
In Aberdeen the number of cocaine users is estimated to have soared by more than 600 per cent in the last few years as dealers have targeted the oil-rich city and neighbouring communities. Organised gangs from as far as London have been working hard over the last few years to carve out a new niche market. “These people are making vast profits dealing in misery,’ said a police source. ‘They can sell their drugs in the Aberdeen area for up to five times the prices they are getting in London.”
Health officials in Grampian have been fighting to stem the tide by offering crack users a range of alternative remedies, such as acupuncture, reflexology and aromatherapy, along with advice and medical treatment to help them beat the drug. It is estimated that of the 4,000 heroin addicts registered in Aberdeen, about 95 per cent of them now also use crack.
Union Terrace Drug Den -User shooting up
Once their customers are hooked, the dealers are able to sit back and watch profits soar in an area where it has been calculated that the trade is worth more than £10m a week. Outside the city the drugs plague has spread along the coast to fishing towns and villages such as Peterhead and Fraserburgh.
In Fraserburgh Dr Sandy Wisley, who described the problem as ‘the slow strangulation of a community and way of life’, claims there has been a dramatic rise in patients with heroin and cocaine problems. “Doctors are treating people whose heart rates are up at 190 beats per minute after crack binges. Crack cocaine is becoming a big problem,” he said. “If people think heroin is a problem, just wait till crack really gets a hold. It is one of the worst drugs known to man.”
Despite Grampian police recording a 700 per cent increase in seizures of crack cocaine, with a street value of nearly £900,000, last year drug deaths in the region more than doubled to 48. “It is a tragedy that 48 people died of overdoses from illegal drugs in 2006 and this figure must be one of the highest on record,” said Brian Adam, the SNP MSP for Aberdeen North. “I am particularly concerned about the increase of crack cocaine dealing in the area and even though the police have made recent large seizures of drugs, this does not seem to have hampered this disgusting trade.”
However, according to the SCDEA, which has had a number of major successes in recent months, not least the seizure of 150kg of heroin valued at £12.5m in a raid in Glasgow on Thursday, there are signs things may be getting better across the country. “We are involved in a war for life, not a war against drugs,” said Pearson.
Drug den right in the heart of the city of Aberdeen Early morning Drugs bust in Falkirk
Drugs find: The ocean-going tug MV Hamal (left), registered in Tanzania, was intercepted by the Royal Navy and Border Force cutter Valiant (right) about 100 miles east of the Aberdeenshire coast in Scotland
Britain’s biggest ever drugs bust has now seen more than three tonnes of cocaine worth in excess of £500million seized by the Royal Navy after a raid on a ship in the North Sea.
The Tanzanian registered tug boat MV Hamal, manned by a Turkish gang, was intercepted by the Navy and Border Force officials about 100 miles east of the Aberdeenshire coast last week.
Nine Turkish nationals have since been remanded in custody on Monday in connection with alleged drug trafficking offences.
Meths users before and after images
12 November 2007: Outgoing head of Scotland’s crime fighting agency lifts the lid on organised crime and trafficking of drugs in Glasgow.
Graeme Pearson, Director General of the Scottish Crime and Drugs Enforcement Agency, retired at the weekend after almost 40 years of police service. The 57-year-old has led investigations into money laundering, drug trafficking, kidnapping and electronic crime for the past three years. The 300-strong team he fronted employs cutting-edge surveillance techniques to gather evidence on suspects.
Pearson, in his last interview as director general, outlined the difficulties faced in tackling the heroin trade in the west of Scotland. He said: “The Blochairn seizure would have put a dent in the supply chain across the country. “There would have been a lot of cities, towns and villages which didn’t get deliveries for a few weeks. But, because of the amount of money involved, there would have been a group or individual willing to plug that gap in the market within seven days. It may take a month for the drugs to reach Scotland but the wheels are set in motion within the week.”
During his 38 years with the police, Mr Pearson has seen gangsters rake in huge profits as communities are ripped apart by drugs. He said: “In the old days, if a drug dealer was living in a big house and your dad couldn’t get a job, kids would ask who is the mug here? With the Proceeds of Crime Act, we now have the power to vilify these figures and strip them of their assets. Communities get frustrated because the justice system moves very slowly but we are after these people.”
The Stevenson case made Scottish legal history as the agency used listening devices planted at suspects’ homes during a three-year undercover investigation. Mr Pearson said: “Surveillance can be a very expensive exercise. It takes a lot of time but if the intelligence is sound, it will produce results. The technology is very advanced. It is everything you see on the TV and more.”
During his reign at the agency Mr Pearson clashed with chief constables by calling for Scotland’s eight forces to be merged into one. He also sparked controversy by pushing through plans for a £40m campus at Gartcosh to unite crime-fighting agencies on one site.
There has been speculation that he took the decision to step down amid concerns over staffing levels and the future direction of the agency. He said: “One of my biggest disappointments has been that the agency has never been fully staffed. “There are posts there and people want to come but they’ve not been released. To be fair, Strathclyde has been one of our biggest supporters.
“I am not in a retiring mode. My life has been policing, seven days a week. “I was talking to one Glasgow criminal the other day and he told he didn’t believe I was retiring for a minute, he thinks it’s all a ploy. “I will miss the excitement of the job and the notion that you are doing something worthwhile. “The new Scottish Government said it wanted to provide 1000 extra police officers. If I could have one wish, it would be for the agency to get 150 of those. “There’s no doubt the work is there for them.” http://paulviking.websitetoolbox.com/
Young couple after shooting up near the Gallowgate (Glasgow)
21 November 2007: Top civil servant ‘knew of VAT bill for police’ Department told in 2005 ago about payments
The top civil servant at the Labour Party Scottish Government’s Justice Department was warned two years ago that the new Scottish Police Services Authority would incur VAT charges The revelation comes just a day after the Herald revealed a major blunder by civil servants and the previous Labour Party administration means the authority, which was set up to create cost savings and centralise procurement, will have to pay VAT .
Officials only contacted Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) with their full case for exemption some six weeks ago, despite the fact the planning for the body started with the Labour Party Government more than two years ago and the authority became active in April this year.
Andrew Keddie, former convener of Fife’s police board and a member of the Common Police Services Committee, which preceded the authority, warned Robert Gordon, head of the Justice Department, in late 2005 that the creation of the SPSA would be too costly because it would not be VAT exempt. https://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-23669698.html
drug user searching for a needle
5 October 2008: Labour Party blanketed the agency with Pen-pushers and sabotaged the war on crime lords
The ex-police chief who headed Scotland’s answer to the FBI has warned the agency is no longer fit for purpose in the war against organised crime. Graeme Pearson said the Scottish Crime and Drugs Enforcement Agency has been strangled by red tape after being taken over by faceless civil servants.
In a hard-hitting interview to launch his book, “The Enforcer” Pearson warned: Proceeds of crime laws do not punish the wealthiest criminals. Gangsters are lining up to cash in on the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. It is wrong for Scotland to have eight police forces when London has just one to look after a much larger population.
Pearson had far-reaching powers when he was appointed SCDEA director general in 2004. But he quit 10 months after control of the agency dubbed “The Untouchables” was handed to the Scottish Police Services Authority.
Overnight, Scotland’s most powerful policeman claimed he was was mired in red tape and made to answer to a faceless committee. His most damning comments are directed at the takeover by the SPSA. The structural change, introduced by the labour Government at Holyrood, choked the agency with bureaucracy.
Pearson said: “The Labour administration put the arrangements in place. There was a reluctance to allow the agency to become all it could be but that was never in your face. You found yourself in treacle and there was no explanation why it was so difficult. You have more meetings about co-ordinating than the time you spend getting on with targeting the criminals.”
The agency – established eight years ago as a national force tackling major drugs gangs – quickly fell victim to pen pushers. Pearson said: “Committees, panels and task-forces seldom deliver the innovation and commitment of a named individual. “That’s why we seldom use committees to decide battle strategies in times of war. We nominate leaders and provide the governance and control to ensure effective support. The current arrangement with the agency being responsible to the SPSA is not fit for purpose.”
Pearson also claimed it was wrong for five million Scots to be served by eight police forces when a single Metropolitan Police force deals with twice as many people in London. He said: “It suits the eight forces because it maintains the status quo and the civil service because it allows them to keep control. It also kept us at a distance. “I don’t think it makes sense but until there’s a way of persuading politicians it won’t change. We get one-line sound-bites but we need more than that. Politicians want to say yes to everything and end up saying no to everything.”
Wealthy Crime Bosses try to Cosy up to Politicians and Police Chiefs
Pearson said the problem is under control in Scotland, adding: “It became a popular suggestion in the 70s and 80s that if a detective was involved with criminals then they must have been a bit of a criminal themselves. The problem is if the police withdraw from contact with criminals, it is the criminals who benefit. Evidence is hard to come by but I’d say Scotland is better off than most modern democracies. One reason for writing the book was to get some balance into the debate. For years criminals alleged widespread police corruption but there was no one from law enforcement to say, ‘wait a minute, let’s get a grip’. The difficulty is people get hold of some small thing and use that to make it look like the whole organisation is tainted and corrupt and that’s not true. It’s not good for the public because you then create a fear.”
Pearson warned politicians to keep their distance from organised criminals and avoid a repeat of the 2002 Red Rose scandal. (when Ex-Home Secretary John Reid and former First Minister Jack McConnell were at the same Labour fundraising dinner as drug dealer Justin McAlroy, 30, who was shot dead days later.)
Pearson said: “If people see organised criminals sitting with key figures, it creates in their mind the complete inability to report anything. The balance needs to be shifted to enable us to draw a line to stop criminals trying to make themselves legitimate by association.”
Pearson warned that the threat from organised crime had to be taken seriously. He said: “People are always asking how does this affect us in Scotland. One example is the Commonwealth Games. Major events like these create opportunities for organised crime.” Three months ago, the Sunday Mail revealed how the Faulds crime clan had landed a lucrative security contract for the Games.
Pearson said: “The Sunday Mail has published exposes over the years of those who have just been a front for criminals benefiting from the public purse. The preparation for the Games should ensure only those who are fit and proper should receive contracts and not just placemen for organised crime. But I don’t know if the systems are robust enough to ensure that is the case.” http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/the-enforcer-pen-pushers-have-sabotaged-the-war-on-crime-992695
23 August 2010: Graeme Pearson explains why he wants one police force to cover whole of Scotland
One of Scotland’s most experienced crime-fighters yesterday revealed his plan to axe Scotland’s eight police forces and replace them with a single super-agency. Pearson, former head of the country’s elite taskforce against organised crime, disclosed his proposals just days after Strathclyde Police revealed massive cuts were in the pipeline, with other forces also preparing to slash budgets.
Pearson, now a Labour adviser on crime, says his ideas would instantly save £10million a year and deliver more effective policing. His radical blueprint includes:
* A single chief constable with the number of deputies cut from 16 to two.
* All police headquarters – including Pitt Street, in Glasgow, and Fettes, in Edinburgh – to be sold off.
* A single renamed force to be based at a new purpose-built centre in Stirling.
* All performance bonuses for police chiefs to be axed.
Pearson, formerly director general of the Scottish Crime and Drugs Enforcement Agency, said: “The savings would be massive. At present there is too much duplication and forces are often reluctant to share information because of rivalries. When forces do talk to each other, that involves eight teams and eight separate reports – a real waste of time and money. In future, all that would be decided by a much smaller team in the new HQ. With one person in charge, decisions can be taken more quickly and at less cost. A single force would also give Scotland a much stronger and more credible voice in dealing with forces like the Met and the Westminster government.”
The future of Scottish policing is uncertain as forces review their options in the face of swingeing budget cuts. Strathclyde Police may have to cut 25 per cent of their civilian staff in a bid to balance the books. A leaked email from chief constable Stephen House to senior staff last week warned of “deep cuts” to 2700 civilian posts. Pearson said: “With the savings we would make from setting up one force, it would be possible to protect many of the key front-line civilian posts that are under threat currently.”
Money laundering an industry
If Pearson’s plans are accepted by Labour, they could include them in their manifesto ahead of the Holyrood elections in May. Pearson claims his blueprint would not result in sackings or forced redundancies. He claims unwanted staff would go through natural wastage, as most senior police staff are on fixed-term contracts.
He says reducing the number of police chiefs would also substantially reduce the pension bill to the taxpayer and free up funds for front-line policing. The new force would return power to local area commanders – usually Chief Superintendents – who would control their own budgets. They in turn would be answerable to local councillors, with the new force as a whole answerable to MSPs.
Pearson, honorary professor of the study of serious organised crime at Glasgow University, added: “The public do not care what name the police have. What they want is local accountability and a good service. During the G8 summit in 2005, there were forces from all over Britain in Scotland. I don’t think that really bothered the public. “If you are the victim of a crime you don’t really care where the officers come from so long as something is being done.”
Axing 14 Chief Constable and Deputy Chief Constable posts could save around £1.6 million a year in salary costs alone. There are also 12 civilian staff employed to run police Human Resources, Finance, Corporate and Legal services on salaries of up to £85,000 a year. Pearson believes the number of civilian posts could be slimmed down to four, saving a further £500,000 a year in salaries.
He added: “We would have to find or build a new HQ but that could be funded from selling off of existing HQs such as Pitt Street, which is earmarked for closure anyway.”
Chief Constables in Scotland earn between £120,000 and £170,000 while their deputies’ salaries range between £100,000 and £130,000.
Yesterday, Shadow Justice Minister Richard Baker said he welcomed Pearson’s plans for one force. He said: “There needs to be a change in the structure of the police in Scotland so we get best value for money. Mr Pearson is highly respected and his proposals must be taken seriously. If there is a better and more efficient way of delivering a quality police service to Scotland then it cannot be ignored. Things cannot go on the way they are, with forces facing massive cuts and the inevitable impact on front-line policing.”
Phil Gormley Scotland’s Police Chief
Kenneth Scott, of the Centre for Criminal Justice and Police Studies at the West of Scotland University, said: “It makes sense for a country of Scotland’s size to have one force. It means resources can be deployed where they are most needed.” Raymond Pratt, of the Scottish Police Federation, said: “We are open to any change that will improve the police service but the evidence from England is that the move to reduce the number of forces may not be less expensive.”
Fred McManus, past president of the Association of Scottish Police Superintendents, said: “The problem with one force is that it could soon come under political control. “With the present eight forces, each Chief Constable is independent from any political interference.” http://www.the-investigator.co.uk/viewnews.php?newsId=1830
Arben Dumani and his family fled Kosovo for a new life in Scotland. But he chose to be a drug lord in Glasgow
15 January 2012: Albanian crime gangs top list of most feared foreign gangsters in Scotland
AT least 25 foreign crime gangs are operating in Scotland, according to investigations by the country’s equivalent of the FBI. Detectives are said to be particularly concerned about the arrival of the “ultra-violent” Albanian mafia.
Gangsters from the impoverished Balkan state have muscled in to Scotland’s drug and vice trades, according to the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency (SCDEA).The crime-fighting body ranks ethnic Albanian groups as among the “non-indigenous” gangsters posing the greatest threat.
Foreign gangs now make up almost 10% of all crime groups operating north of the border, according to work by the SCDEA. They have identified 267 organised crime groups, of which at least 25 are from abroad. Other nationalities include Chinese gangs behind cannabis farms and bootleg DVDs, Bangladeshi and Czechs involved in people smuggling, and Yardies from the Caribbean who specialise in selling crack and running prostitutes. http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/crime/schoolboy-who-fled-kosovo-scotland-1647874
But it is Albanian gangs – known as the “Mafia Shqiptare” – that are causing particular concern. The gangs are said to have been brutalised by the conflicts in the Balkans in the 1990s and sit on worldwide trade routes for guns, drugs and women.
Stephen Whitelock, a Detective Chief Superintendent with the SCDEA, said: “We are noting the emergence of a number of crime groups from other countries operating in Scotland. This includes gangs from eastern Europe, south-east Asia – particularly Vietnam and China – as well as African countries. The Albanians are here now. Some of the individuals concerned are known to be capable of extreme violence. Albanian serious and organised crime groups have been known to be involved in prostitution, arms and drugs. We have a list of the top 20% most serious organised crime groups and, each of which is in the ownership of one of the forces or the agency. The Albanians are on that list. It is thought Albanian crime families arrived in the UK in the aftermath of the 1999 Kosovo war. The families are relatively small but strongly bonded by a code of honour and blood feuds. As long ago as 2003, Luan Plakici, an Albanian from Montenegro, was jailed in Scotland for 10 years for trafficking women from Moldova.
Former SCDEA boss Graeme Pearson, now a Labour MSP, said: “The Albanians are a bit of a challenge because they have a military background in their homelands and their criminal elements have a very violent history. They are very difficult groups to penetrate.” http://www.deadlinenews.co.uk/2012/01/15/albanian-crime-gangs-top-list-of-most-feared-foreign-gangsters/
6 May 2014: Foreign mafia gangs have 50 operations in Scotland worth £5billion.
An investigation by a leading organised crime research unit in Italy uncovered the scale of international mobsters’ infiltration of the Scottish economy. At least 20 current probes by law enforcement agencies are looking into 50 “assets” – including properties, restaurants, wholesale suppliers and other apparently legitimate firms. Rackets include drugs, prostitution, extortion and the use of legitimate businesses across all sectors worth an estimated £5billion in Scotland alone.
The findings have prompted calls for renewed efforts and extra legislation to tackle the international mafia, particularly crime syndicates based in Italy, eastern Europe and Russia. The investigation is being coordinated in seven countries by Transcrime, the Joint Research Centre on Transnational Crime. Transcrime’s Cristina Soriani said: “We are able to say right now we have 20 cases of investigations by law enforcement agencies which relate to Scotland and they involve about 50 assets that are mainly companies. There may be more than 50 Investigations ongoing so we cannot reveal the exact location of assets, other than to say they are in Scotland.” Gangs from China and southern and eastern Europe are known to operate in Scotland. Italian crime families have also extended their activities into this country.
Transcrime’s research reveals that Europe’s trade in counterfeit goods, trafficking, prostitution, firearms, drugs and other business is worth £33.5billion. The biggest sector is fake goods, including designer clothes and DVDs, earning £15.5billion alone. It is estimated to be worth £1billion in Scotland, with one criminal justice source suggesting all mafia operations in Scotland could be worth £5billion.
The source said: “Given the findings of this report, that may well be a conservative figure. The drugs trade in Scotland is said to be worth £10billion. Given the foreign gangs’ range of operations, legal and illegal, then they will easily be generating billions of pounds.”
Milan-based Soriani said her group have evidence of “a lot of cases” of infiltration by foreign gangs in Glasgow as well as cases involving Edinburgh and Aberdeen. She said: “We collect cases of infiltration by organised crime looking at which kind of sectors and what kind of assets they control, and how they launder their illicit proceeds.” Her team used law enforcement agency documents and unpublished official reports. They found evidence of extortion, fraud, money laundering, human trafficking, drug trafficking and counterfeiting.
Gangsters were involved in property, construction, the wholesale and retail food trade, and restaurants and bars. They specifically target legitimate businesses in areas which were poorly regulated – such as security firms. In the highest profile Scots mafia case, the Naples-based Camorra were revealed in 2008 as having a foothold in Aberdeen’s booming oil and gas industry.
Soriani said: “With the expansion of the economy, they were able to infiltrate and launder illegal proceeds of crime and some legal proceeds they had from other economic activities. “In a local sense, they were considered successful businessmen. “They did not just control companies and some local activities using extortion, violence or intimidation, they were directly involved as co-owner of restaurants, or import-export firms.
“In Glasgow, we have evidence of organised crime infiltration in bars and restaurants or private security, retail and wholesale and food. “We are not yet able to identify if they belong to the Italian mafia or to organised crime groups that are mostly local.” Soriani said she believed the assets uncovered were the tip of the iceberg. She said: “These are the cases we are able to identify through evidence. They are just a share of the total.”
The EU set up an anti-mafia commission two years ago. Europol said in 2011 they had an “intelligence gap” about mob activities. In February, the European Parliament passed a directive making it easier for national authorities to confiscate criminal assets.
Scotland’s Serious and Organised Crime Task Force, and proceeds of crime laws, are already being used to tackle the issue. Soriani added: “A lot of European countries say, ‘No, we do not have organised crime’ or, ‘We do not have mafia-type crimes’. But it is important local communities understand the mafia does exist and are a very real threat. “A new type of legislation is needed against organised crime. They are changing continuously and states must respond to this when developing anti-mafia legislation. Without it, Scotland is at risk.
“They need anti-mafia laws which don’t just focus on which kinds of crimes are committed but on disrupting groups’ economic structure. “This includes the confiscation of assets – and not just upon conviction.”
MSP Graeme Pearson, Labour justice spokesman and a former director of the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency, said: “Unless we start taking this whole issue seriously, organised crime goes from strength to strength. There is very little organised crime in Scotland that does not have an international division. There is a need to change the way in which seizures are done. Instead of prosecutors having to prove the link between the assets and criminality, if they prove monies have been obtained by criminal conduct – that money has been added to clean money – then the authorities should be able to take it all. I think the authorities need to be aggressive in the way they respond to organised crime in Scotland.”
A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “Scotland already has one of the most robust and effective strategies for dealing with serious and organised crime in the world. Our Serious and Organised Crime Taskforce are made up of Scottish and national organisations with international reach. Only last week, a key member of the taskforce, the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, announced they had taken £8.2million from criminals under the Proceeds of Crime Act over the last year. Last October, we announced £24million of POCA money will be put back into communities to divert future generations from crime over the next three years. We will continue to work with our partners to ensure Scotland remains a hostile place for criminals and those who seek to peddle misery and suffering.”
Lindsey Miller, the Crown Office procurator fiscal for organised crime, said: “We constantly review the strategies employed by these groups to ensure we stay one step ahead. We will continue to use innovative investigative techniques as well as wide-ranging legal powers to ensure Scotland remains a hostile place for organised crime.”
The Italian Mob
ANTONIO La Torre, 55, a dad of three and member of the Camorra Mafia, came to Aberdeen in 1984. He’s the brother of Augusto La Torre, the former head of the powerful crime clan from Mondragone. He opened restaurants Pavarotti’s and Sorrento, expanding into health and fitness centres, import-export food firms and pubs and betting shops in Aberdeen, Dundee, Stirling, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness. He and his lieutenants were also involved in dealing in luxury cars.
His property deals included buying land in the centre of Aberdeen for a car park. A second involved buying a city centre building and renovating it into flats for a six-figure profit.
After setting up phantom companies in Scotland and Italy, he was able to obtain loans from banks to buy foodstuffs from his native Campania to export to the UK. Huge amounts of wine, pasta and olive oil for use in restaurants were involved. Other goods included building equipment and computers.
But as soon as the phantom firms got the cash, they were bankrupted by La Torre and the money was diverted into other accounts. His time in Scotland was over and he was extradited to Italy in 2005.
Other Italian mafia groups operating in the UK include the Sacra Corona Unita, from Apulia in southern Italy, who have interests in casinos, betting and property.
The notorious Sicilian Cosa Nostra also operate here, as well as the Ndrangheta from Calabria.
The Eastern Europeans
Russian and Georgian gangs are known to run money-laundering operations, as well as interests spanning property, the wholesale and retail trade, sports and gaming. And Czech and ethnic Slovak gangs have been linked to people trafficking and forced prostitution.
Political upheaval in eastern Europe in the 1990s led to Balkan crime gangs looking abroad to broaden their interests. The ultra-violent Albanian mafia – known as the Mafia Shqiptare – has operated in Scotland for more than a decade. Crooks from the impoverished state muscled in on Scotland’s drug and vice trades after fleeing their homeland in the late 1990s after the Kosovo war. In 2003.
Albanian illegal immigrant Luan Plakici was jailed for 23 years after being found guilty of trafficking women. He arrived in the UK in 1996 and, after being granted asylum, created a £1million vice empire. The operation was based in London but the gang trafficked women to brothels throughout the UK, including Glasgow. Sources say Albanian gangs present a particular challenge due to their military backgrounds and extreme violence. They are known to be very difficult for outsiders to penetrate.
Triads run £1billion Cannabis Industry in Scotland their organised gang groups operating here often employ illegal immigrants in restaurants as well as running dodgy retail scams. The gangs are also behind cannabis farms and bootleg DVDs. http://flarenetwork.org/learn/europe/article/the_vastness_of_criminal_businesses_in_scotland.htm
Graeme Pearson Labour Party regional MSP for South Scotland and Spokesperson for Justice.