11 June 2007

Organised crime 'thriving' in Queensland

The "Mr Bigs" of organised crime in Queensland were thriving untouched because law enforcement agencies could not tap phones, a federal parliamentary committee has been told. Criminal investigators were virtually powerless to stop flourishing criminal networks and were forced to rely on interstate policing bodies for phone surveillance, the committee heard.

Queensland is the only state in Australia where crime fighting authorities do not have telephone interception or phone tapping powers, despite more than a decade of lobbying from police and the Crime and Misconduct Commission.

10 June 2007

Law-Enforcement Disruption of a Drug Importation Network


This study focuses on the structure and evolution of a drug importation network that operated from Montreal, Canada, and that was the target of an extensive 2-year criminal investigation. The investigation was atypical in that it followed a seize-but-do-not-arrest strategy - while 11 drug shipments were seized by police throughout this period, arrests were never made until the final phase of the investigation. Such a case offers a rare opportunity to study the dynamics of a criminal network under intense surveillance and disruption. The reconstruction of the importation network is based on electronic communication transcripts that were intercepted and compiled during the investigation. Findings from analyses of the principal changes that took place within the communication network reveal how network centralization and critical node status are variable, and not static, properties of a criminal network under considerable constraint. The study demonstrates how a criminal network decentralizes and is re-ordered in response to intense law-enforcement targeting. Contributions are made to research on disruption in criminal networks. We conclude with a discussion on how a criminal network's flexibility, a feature generally presented as a sign of resilience, may contribute to a more significant demise within a context of intensive control.

Keywords: criminal network; social network analysis; drug trafficking; law-enforcement; critical node

Carlo Morselli and Katia Petit (2007) Global Crime 8(2): 109-130.

MI6 probes UK link to nuclear trade with Iran

A British company has been closed down after being caught in an apparent attempt to sell black-market weapons-grade uranium to Iran and Sudan, The Observer can reveal.[..]During the 20-month investigation, which also involved MI5 and Customs and Excise, a group of Britons was tracked as they obtained weapons-grade uranium from the black market in Russia. Investigators believe it was intended for export to Sudan and on to Iran.[..] British agents believe Russian black-market uranium was destined for Sudan, described as a 'trans-shipment' point. The alleged plot, however, was disrupted in early 2006, before the nuclear material reached its final destination. [..] Alleged evidence of Sudan's role will concern British security services. The East African state has long been suspected of offering a haven for Islamist terrorists and has been accused of harbouring figures including Osama bin Laden who, during the mid-Nineties, set up a number of al-Qaeda training camps in the country.

08 June 2007

Violent international crime gang eyes Montreal

Members of an international gang notorious for its use of extreme violence appear to be interested in setting up shop in Montreal.