Indian-origin lawyer who smuggled drugs into prisons faces jail

March 7th, 2012 - 11:52 pm ICT by IANS  

London, March 7 (IANS) An Indian-origin solicitor faces years behind bars in Britain for smuggling drugs and mobile phones to prison inmates in oversized shoes.

Ritesh Brahmbhatt, 31, “abused his position of trust” as a lawyer to use legal visits to two prisons to smuggle in banned and illegal items in return for cash, the Daily Mail reported.

He was caught when sniffer dogs at one jail smelt the cannabis and meow meow, a stimulant drug, hidden inside his size 12 wide-fit shoes.

Blackfriars Crown Court heard Brahmbhatt also managed to fit some electronic scales in the black, metal-buckled slip-ons, that were at least too big for the lawyer.

The court heard he was planning to pass the drugs and scales to convict David Sterling, 28, who wears a full-length Muslim robe, and another prisoner Desmond Brown, 27.

Brahmbhatt, who is currently suspended by the Solicitors’ Regulation Authority, admitted two smuggling plots at north London’s Pentonville prison between March 1 and Sep 17, 2009.

He also admitted a further charge of taking a mobile phone into Winchester prison while on bail for those offences Feb 2 last year.

The court heard the smuggling racket was helping fuel a lucrative black market prison trade with nearly 20,000 pounds passing through bank accounts belonging to Brahmbhatt and others involved in the plot.

The gang was exposed after prison officer Lucy McLaren noticed Brahmbhatt’s suspiciously high number of legal visits to inmate Sterling and purposely had sniffer dogs brought in for his next visit scheduled Sep 17.

Brahmbhatt, from Ilford, admitted two conspiracies of bringing drugs and phones in to Pentonville prison and a further charge of conveying a mobile phone into Winchester prison.

Judge Deva Pillay is due to pass sentence Thursday.

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