Paymaster for Scots crime gang caught with £14,000 in Asda carrier bag

Plasterer Gerard McTaggart was seen visiting premises linked to Scotland's most notorious crime group 21 times.

Paymaster for Scots crime gang caught with £14,000 in Asda carrier bag Police Scotland

A career criminal who acted as a “wages” paymaster to elite gangland figures and their families has been jailed for four years and eight months.

Surveillance officers watched Gerard McTaggart, 47, of Glasgow, delivering bags containing thousands of pounds in cash to several locations linked to organised crime.

McTaggart was sentenced at the High Court in Lanark after having pled guilty at a hearing last month to being concerned in serious organised crime.

He is a member of an organisation targeted by Police Scotland’s Operation Escalade, a long-running intelligence operation into Scotland’s highest-ranking organised crime groups.

The court heard how, between May and October 2019, McTaggart was seen meeting with associates from a prominent Glasgow crime group.

Officers watched him carry weighted carrier bags during 21 visits to premises connected to the group as part of a money-laundering scheme.

McTaggart, a plasterer, was arrested in Glasgow in October 2019 and found to be in possession of an Asda carrier bag containing a total of £14,575 in notes.

Kenny Donnelly, deputy Crown agent for specialist casework, said: “Gerard McTaggart performed a specific function which was to deliver wages to family members of serious organised crime group nominals as part of a money-laundering operation.

“He was a high-profile figure within this crime group.

“Money laundering plays an integral role in a complex, large-scale operation which facilitates the criminal activity of others.

“This successful prosecution sends out a strong message about our determination to disrupt serious organised crime.

“We will continue to collaborate with our partners as a member of Scotland’s Serious and Organised Crime Taskforce to tackle serious organised crime and this kind of case highlights the extensive work that has been ongoing against these groups.”

Detective chief superintendent Vicky Watson, Police Scotland’s head of organised crime, said: “McTaggart’s conviction and sentencing for his criminality sends a clear message to anyone involved in serious organised crime that it has no place in our society, and we will continue to work in partnership to identify those responsible.

“This underlines our commitment to the country’s serious organised crime strategy and continue to disrupt their activities to keep our communities safe.

“As part of one of Scotland’s most prolific crime groups, McTaggart thought he was untouchable and above the law. However, our officers working with partners, brought him to justice as part of Operation Escalade, which since 2014 has now seen nearly 50 people being convicted and jailed.”

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