Anger is growing at the failure of top brass in the terror group to act against drug traffickers within the organization.

Chief of Staff John ‘Bunter’ Graham is facing growing demands for action and, despite assurances he is determined to root out drug traffickers, he has failed to stop his organization from getting more involved in drug trafficking.

The Sunday World can reveal there have been a series of meetings involving Brigade staff and a list of demands have been presented to veteran Chief Graham.

They include questions about the circumstances surrounding the arrest and firearms charge of alleged B Company commander Winston “Winkie” Irvine, but also the failure to stem the drug tide in loyalist communities.

As previously reported, UVF leadership has given the go-ahead for the guns to be removed from dumps in preparation for a campaign of disturbance over the Irish Sea border, but now members angry have warned that if no action is taken, they will turn guns into drugs. dealers.

Sources tell us that while there is no suggestion that any type of vigilante activity is likely, there is genuine furor over the drug issue.

“They have guns in their hands,” our source said, “they are really furious at how the organization has been allowed to become little more than a drug gang.

“They had to swallow their pride as they watched people who had played no part in violent republicanism get rich on drugs and hide under the flag of the UVF.”

It comes as concerns continue to grow over the growing influence of the East Belfast UVF, which is now believed to be the North’s biggest drug gang.

The organized crime gang has expanded its operations beyond its natural hinterland and now works in partnership with drug gangs in the south and west of the city.

Allegedly led by top loyalist Stephen Matthews, it is understood he has forged links with UVF leader of South Belfast and formed an alliance with UDA kingpin Jim Spence in West La town.

Their expansion put more pressure on embattled Chief of Staff Graham.

He failed to keep his repeated promises to act against Matthews.

Despite repeated raids by the Paramilitary Crime Task Force, Matthews’ mob continued to conduct a highly lucrative drug trade.

The Sunday World understands East Belfast has settled a long-running dispute with the Kinahans over an unpaid bill.

It is believed the money was owed in connection with a huge drug bust at the Belfast docks earlier this year.

In February, police intercepted a £3million shipment of drugs at Belfast docks in what was one of the biggest transports ever detected. Much of the shipment was destined for East Belfast UVF and was believed to have been shipped by the Kinahan Cartel.

It’s not clear if all of the debt has been wiped off or a compromise amount has been agreed, but it’s business as usual.

The gang also forged links with the West Belfast UDA. Woodvale commander Jim Spence, who oversaw the terror group’s counter-narcotics operations, is also believed to be working with Matthews, tapping into Kinahan’s supply line.

Spence has been spotted east of town on several occasions.

We can also reveal that disgraced UVF Brigadier Den Elliott is also back on the scene. Bunter stopped him three years ago when he discovered Elliott was running a lucrative sideline.

The UVF leader has removed him from his post and fined him £50,000, but the Sunday World understands he is back to his old ways and is in cahoots with East Belfast.

Longtime members already disturbed by the events surrounding Winkie Irvine’s arrest demand that he take action against the drug traffickers.

“Some of these guys literally don’t have a p**s pot, they’ve been in jail, and yet the current crop is racing around in big cars and raking in a fortune on drugs,” a source told us.

“Bunter has been telling us for years that he is going to clean up the organization but East Belfast is getting stronger and stronger.”

He said Graham deserved some credit for acting against Elliott and cleaning up Mount Vernon’s infamous unit, but he failed to confront Matthews.

Matthews, who faces criminal charges in connection with an alleged UVF show of force in the Pitt Park area of ​​east Belfast in 2019, has taken a more low-key approach in recent months but, sources say, has still full control of the operation east of Belfast.

The members are deeply suspicious of the circumstances surrounding the arrest of Irvine, who faces a series of weapons charges after guns and ammunition were found in his car.

He was released on bail after claiming in court that he was involved in a process that would have “significant implications” for society at large.

Irvine’s legal representatives said their client was working with the police – a claim that alarmed UVF members.

Last night a Spence and Matthews spokesman said his clients deny any involvement in the crime.

“My clients individually vigorously and firmly deny any allegations of membership in a banned organization or involvement in criminal activity.

“Mr. Spence and Mr. Matthews all individually reject in particular the allegations of involvement in the infamous drug trade which they each condemn unqualifiedly.”

He added: ‘The broader allegations put forward are utter nonsense with no basis in reality and are yet another example of a concerted effort to collectively demonize and criminalize loyalism.’

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