SCOTLAND - Terrorists are targeting Scotland with drugs shipments to fund their war on the West, a former senior police officer has claimed. But they will find it hard to do business as they are tracked by the new Scottish Crime Campus. (SCC). Graeme Pearson, now an MSP and Scottish Labour’s justice spokesman, believes major gangs in Europe have direct links to extremists and insurgents, with most heroin on sale in Scotland grown in the Middle East.
Mr Pearson turned to politics after resigning as director general of the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency. He is also a former Assistant Chief Constable with the now-defunct Strathclyde Police. He said: “From a terrorist viewpoint, if you want to undermine the West, the key way to do it would be through drugs. When you look at where the markets originate, in places like Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, it is little wonder there is now growing concern about the terrorist background to some of the drug dealing we now face. It is a big profit to begin with and terrorists need money. Equally, they are undermining the very thing we care about most, our young people. From their point of view, it is a win-win. They have a network throughout Europe and I do not think it is a mistake to acknowledge that some of the major drug dealers come from a terrorist background.”
Mr Pearson is convinced specialist officers at the new Scottish Crime Campus (SCC), at Gartcosh, Lanarkshire, will help to tackle terrorists who send drugs to Scotland as a way of funding their groups. He said: “The presence of Gartcosh should help the strategic oversight, because there are more agencies working together on the one site, sharing intelligence. We should be able to see a better understanding of the trans-national linkages. Certainly, high-value seizures have a big impact on the business, but it is not about hammering the individual drug users and trying to criminalise them. It is about those who supply and those at the high end of the market who make profit out of it. That is where the strategic pressure should be.”
The SCC is led by Detective Chief Superintendent John Cuddihy, the head of organised crime and counter-terrorism at Police Scotland. He said: “The unit reflects the synergies between both worlds and there is continual read across in terms of those who engage in serious and organised crime and terrorism. If it is the case that the commodity is being used to generate funds for terrorist-related activity, we have a confidence that such intelligence will be shared between law enforcement agencies. They will work together to reduce that threat and harm in our communities and bring those responsible to justice, whether organised criminals or terrorists.”
Scottish Express/September 20, 2014
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