Fears Scotlands Pablo Escobar brothers were executed by Brazilian gangsters

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    Authorities have scrapped a £10,000 reward for the arrest of Scotland's most wanted men amid fears that the fugitives were kidnapped and executed by a Brazilian drug gang.

    Suspected drug and weapons kingpins James and Barry Gillespie, who are known as Scotland's "Pablo Escobar Brothers", are wanted as part of an international investigation into drug dealing, gun trafficking and money laundering.

    Crimestoppers had put up a £5,000 bounty for the capture of each of the brothers but last year it was reported that detectives feared the men may have been killed by a fearsome Brazilian cartel.

    READ MORE: Drug dealer who hit police car said 'if I drove Range Rover I'd have killed all of you'

    With no sign of the pair since they disappeared over a year ago, the organisation has now confirmed that the reward money is no longer on offer.

    A spokesman for Crimestoppers told the Daily Record that the rewards are scrapped “unless renewed at the request of the investigating police force”.

    The brothers had reportedly fled to Fortaleza, a coastal city in Brazil, amid allegations that they had been heading a multi-million pound organised crime empire which saw Scotland flooded with cocaine and gun crime.

    They were also wanted for questioning in relation to a kidnapping and attempted murder.

    Police have since told their relatives that they "may have come to harm" while on the run.

    A source close to the brothers also claimed that they had been killed after a fallout with Brazilian gangsters over protection money.

    The source told the Daily Record: “They were paying through the nose for protection. The guys wanted too much money.

    “People have been told that one of the brothers was held hostage while the other was told to get money. No one has heard anything from either of them for months, not even their closest friends and family.

    “They used to keep in touch with a few of their trusted pals who did some running about for them.

    "Everyone thinks they’re dead.”

    The Gillespie brothers were bosses of an encrypted mobile phone company, which allowed them to regularly contact friends and family while remaining undetected.

    But it's claimed that they haven't been heard from in a year and their family are still searching for answers.

    An insider said: “There hasn’t been a peep in the last year. Even when they were on the run, they used their ­technological know-how to make sure their loved ones also knew how they were.

    "Understandably, their families fear the worst. They’re trying to be as positive as possible, especially as there’s kids involved, but it gets tougher every day.

    “It’s even tougher now because everyone is looking forward to Christmas and spending time with their families but they’re still searching for answers.

    "Police believing they’d come to harm raised more questions than answers. Never getting a definitive answer on exactly what happened is killing the family."

    They said that police are "desperate" to find out what happened to the men, adding: "The cops are also desperate to definitely solve it. Not just because they’re Scotland’s most wanted men and are accused of serious organised crime offences.

    “A police officer’s job is also about protecting the public and preventing further crime. They also need to know exactly what happened so they know how it will affect Scotland.

    "There’s always a worry that tensions could flare between associates of the brothers and hoods linked to the Brazilians on this side of the Atlantic, whether in Scotland or elsewhere in Europe.”

    Police have said that the men had links to Spain, Tenerife and Portugal and were linked to a huge £31million cocaine haul discovered by French police in 2009, which saw a massive amount of the class-A drug found in the back of a truck that was registered to a Sottish haulage firm.

    Scottish officers also want to speak to the brothers about the attempted murder of Robert Allan in 2015.

    A brutal attack saw Allan kidnapped from his home, knee-capped and tortured for two days before being dumped at the side of a road.

    Authorities have confirmed that they are still actively searching for the Gillespies, a spokesperson for Police Scotland said: “Extensive inquiries to trace both men are continuing and anyone with information about their whereabouts should contact police.”

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