RCMP re­fused to ex­plain drug dealer’s role, court told

In­ves­tiga­tive re­porter says he was blocked as he looked into heroin sting in Thai­land

Montreal Gazette - - Montreal - SUE MONT­GOMERY GAZETTE JUS­TICE RE­PORTER

An in­ves­tiga­tive jour­nal­ist says he was stonewalle­d by the RCMP when he tried to find out why Alain Olivier ended up in a Thai prison af­ter be­ing used by the Moun­ties in a drug sting.

Vic­tor Malarek, who was work­ing for the Globe and Mail when Olivier landed in jail in the late 1980s, said he first learned of the case when the RCMP sent out a news re­lease re­gard­ing Op­er­a­tion De­cep­tion.

Tes­ti­fy­ing yes­ter­day in Que­bec Su­pe­rior Court, Malarek said he asked the fed­eral po­lice force for more in­for­ma­tion on Olivier, who was named in the re­lease as a ma­jor drug im­porter.

Malarek said he found the RCMP’s “no com­ment” re­sponse odd; he started do­ing re­search, dis­cov­er­ing Olivier was just a run-of-the-mill heroin ad­dict.

Malarek flew to Thai­land and in­ter­viewed Olivier in jail.

“He was try­ing to re­count the story but it was hard to un­der­stand with all the noise,” Malarek tes­ti­fied, al­lud­ing to the over­crowded prison.

“It was the strangest in­ter­view I’d ever done.”

In 1996, while work­ing on a book about the case, Malarek man­aged to speak to an RCMP cor­po­ral, Jim Girdle­stone, on the phone.

“He said he had the last un­shred­ded file for Op­er­a­tion De­cep­tion but wouldn’t give me the ‘sweat off his ass,’ ” Malarek said. “He said he hoped Alain Olivier dies in jail and rots in jail.”

Olivier, 47, is su­ing the RCMP for $47.5 mil­lion, 20 years af­ter he was re­cruited for Op­er­a­tion De­cep­tion. He al­leges po­lice en­trapped him in a drug deal that landed him in a Bangkok jail, serv­ing a life sen­tence.

Af­ter 81⁄ years, he was trans­ferred to a prison in Que­bec. He was later paroled on con­di­tions.

Olivier, orig­i­nally from Drum­mondville, had no pre­vi­ous crim­i­nal record.

His law­suit con­tends the RCMP “re­lent­lessly hounded Olivier through the use of threats and in­tim­i­da­tion” for 20 months. The RCMP’s Pub­lic Com­plaints Com­mis­sion later sup­ported that find­ing.

Olivier fi­nally obliged be­cause he feared he’d be killed.

On Feb. 11, 1989, Olivier flew to Bangkok and made con­tact with a cab driver who agreed to sup­ply heroin to Olivier’s con­tacts – who were un­der­cover Moun­ties.

As the drug deal was be­ing com­pleted, Thai po­lice ar­rived.

An RCMP cor­po­ral died in the melee and Olivier was ar­rested on drug charges, which carry the death penalty in Thai­land. He es­caped death by agree­ing to plead guilty.

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