Montreal Gazette

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

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

- 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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