Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Thornton Heath man in South American jail after being caught with £20k of coke


A young man has been jailed in South America for attempting to traffic drugs just three weeks after sneaking out of his Thornton Heath home without telling his mother. Former Stanley Technical School pupil, Nishit Patel, 21, left his home in Attlee Close, in secret on Christmas Day before flying 4,500 miles to Guyana. The next time his mum, part-time Tesco worker Amita, heard from him was on January 3 phoning from a Guyanese jail after being caught boarding a plane with 29 pellets of cocaine worth more than £20,000 inside him. On Monday, January 9, he was sentenced to four years in jail after he admitted drug trafficking. He was also fined $30,000 Guyanese dollars, about £95. Mrs Patel, 46, said she last saw her son, who changed his name to Nikesh after being teased at school, after lunch on Christmas Day. She said: “I came home and he had bags packed. I asked if he was leaving and he said no. I never know where he is going, he tells me nothing. “I didn’t even know where Guyana was. I asked why did you do it, and he said for the money.” On December 31 Guyana’s Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) at Cheddi Jagan International Airport saw Patel acting suspiciously and arrested him. Dennis Mahase a senior supervisor with CANU said Patel, who has spent his whole life in Croydon, missed his earlier flight home and was picked up by officials while he waited. He said: “When the officials began questioning him he complained about feeling unwell. After further question he admitted swallowing the pellets.” Taken to Woodlands Hospital in Georgetown, the country’s capital, Patel, was x-rayed and the pellets, containing 352 grams of the drug with a street value of around £20,000, were found. Mr Mahase added: “He admitted to us he had done this before in November and got away with it.” Mrs Patel said Nishit went off the rails after his grandparents and father died in quick succession four years ago. She said: “He was such a good boy. Very caring. It changed him. A son listens to his father but to his mother, not so much. It was very hard.” The family will now fight to have him extradited to the UK. She said: “I want to be able to see him. I know he has done wrong but he is my son. I have no idea what a jail out there is like.” A foreign office spokesman said: “We can confirm the arrest of a British national on December 31 in Guyana. “We are providing consular assistance.”