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Last Updated: Thursday, 19 May, 2005, 10:39 GMT 11:39 UK
Crime leaders warned of clampdown
Drugs in suitcase
Ms Jamieson vowed to hit organised crime
Leading criminals operating in Scotland have been warned they will not enjoy a safe haven.

Justice Minister Cathy Jamieson said international criminal networks extended to all parts of Scotland.

But speaking during a Scottish Parliament debate on organised crime, she said police and drugs agencies were achieving "notable success".

Solicitor General Elish Angiolini QC said those who took part in organised crime would be brought to justice.

Ms Jamieson said criminal justice agencies are combining to sever links between criminal networks from Stranraer across the EU to Slovenia, and from Aberdeen through the drug routes to Afghanistan.

The minister highlighted five key factors in carrying the fight against organised crime in Scotland, including using the new provisions in the Proceeds of Crime Act (2002) to identify, freeze then seize 5.4m of criminals' money.

Justice Minister Cathy Jamieson
They are involved in activity at all levels, from growing opium in Afghanistan to drug dealing in Aberdeen
Justice Minister Cathy Jamieson

Ms Jamieson also revealed how criminal assets were used to fund the recent 'Drug Dealers Don't Care' campaign, boosting drug-related calls to Crimestoppers by 400% and getting more drug dealers off Scotland's streets.

Strengthening the Scottish Drug Enforcement Agency (SDEA) was spotlighted as an important way of tackling and frustrating organised crime.

Ms Jamieson said: "We live in an increasingly global world and just as legitimate businesses have adapted by operating on an international basis so too have criminal networks who neither respect geographical nor political boundaries.

"They are involved in activity at all levels, from growing opium in Afghanistan to drug dealing in Aberdeen.

"Their networks extend into every community in Scotland, helped by local gangs who think that they can make vast profits on the back of these immoral activities and get away with it."

The minister added: "These are the people who sit comfortably in front of their plasma screen televisions while trusting members of the public are peddled bootleg electronic goods - the people who sit in designer apartments while the dealers prey on Scotland's most vulnerable."

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