Fugitive gangland leader jailed for directing serious organised crime

A fugitive who was extradited from Brazil has been jailed for nine years and ten months after pleading guilty to offences linked to serious organised crime.

A fugitive who was extradited from Brazil has been jailed for nine years and ten months after pleading guilty to offences linked to serious organised crime.  

James White, 46, was sentenced at the High Court in Stirling after admitting a charge of directing serious organised crime. 

His extradition was the result of extensive collaborative work between Crown Office prosecutors, Police Scotland, and the Brazilian Federal Police. 

In 2018, a European Arrest Warrant was issued for White, of Glasgow, as part of Operation Escalade, a Police Scotland investigation into the country’s most prolific serious organised crime groups who operate on an international scale. 

In June 2020, White was arrested in Fortaleza, Brazil, and extradited back to Scotland in August 2022. 

Katie Stewart, who leads on international co-operation for the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS), said:  

“James White’s return was secured after consideration of the severity of his offences and the impact of offending on his victims. Seeking extradition requires the deployment of considerable resources on the part of COPFS and our partners. 

“COPFS is committed to collaborating with international justice partners. The extradition of White shows that such close working relationships between foreign authorities ensures that justice can be served.”  

Kenny Donnelly, Deputy Crown Agent, Specialist Casework, said: 

“This case shows that justice does not stop at the border, and we will robustly use every avenue across multiple jurisdictions to bring criminals to justice in Scotland. 

“The Crown will continue working with the police and other agencies as a member of Scotland’s Serious and Organised Crime Taskforce to ensure that these crimes are detected and those responsible prosecuted using all measures at our disposal. 

 “We regularly collaborate across jurisdictional boundaries as part of our commitment to protect our societies and people from harm. And this individual was a prominent criminal who failed in his attempt to avoid justice.” 

Detective Chief Superintendent Vicky Watson, Police Scotland’s Head of Organised Crime, said: 

“As part of one of Scotland’s most prolific organised crime groups, White thought he was above the law and even fled the country to evade justice. The unwavering hard work of our officers, working with partners in this country and abroad, meant that he was tracked down to Brazil and extradited back to this country to face the consequences of his criminal actions. 

“Police Scotland is committed to disrupting the activities of organised crime groups and will continue to work in partnership, including with the members of the country’s Serious Organised Crime Taskforce, to keep our communities safe. 

“White was arrested by officers working as part of Operation Escalade, which has been ongoing for almost a decade, and has now seen almost 50 people convicted and jailed for being involved in serious organised crime in Scotland.”