Holloway lawyer smuggled drugs into Pentonville Prison in oversized shoes
Five people are facing years behind bars after smuggling drugs and mobile phones into Pentonville Prison – including a lawyer who stuffed illicit goods into his oversized shoes.
Ritesh Brahmbhatt, 31, took phones, high-strength cannabis and the stimulant mephedrone into the prison in Caledonian Road, Holloway, in a pair of size-12 slip-ons bought from menswear store High and Mighty.
The revelations come within a month of a scathing report by the prison’s independent monitoring board, which revealed a drug problem is stoking gang trouble and violence in the jail. It also emerged that a drugs counsellor from Canonbury is to stand trial next year accused of smuggling cannabis into the prison in an unrelated case.
Brahmbhatt, who was dismissed from law firm Mordi and Co in Holloway Road, Holloway, when caught, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to smuggle drugs, mobile phones and other prohibited items into Pentonville in July – but details have just emerged after his four accomplices were convicted on Friday after denying the charge.
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David Sterling, 28, of Mallory Close, Bromley-by-Bow, Desmond Brown, 27, of Montague Road, Leytonstone, Brown’s girlfriend Danielle Porter, 24, of Saltern Court, Barking, and Calvin Chance, 26, of Birch Grove, Leytonstone, were convicted at Blackfriars Crown Court following a trial.
Rufuz D’Cruz, prosecuting, said: “Ritesh Brahmbhatt entered into a crude criminal conspiracy to smuggle prohibited items into prison with his clients, Sterling and Brown, who at that time were serving prisoners, and Chance and Porter.”
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Mr D’Cruz said he abused his position of trust and “chose to routinely undermine the rule of law”.
The gang was snared after a prison officer spotted his suspiciously high number of legal visits – 15 between February and September in 2009.
He was caught with a mobile phone, earphones, a pair of electronic scales and a small quantity of mephedrone, or “meow meow”, in his right shoe and 25g of high-strength “skunk” cannabis in his left, while a further 80g of cannabis was stuffed down his trousers.
The lawyer intended to pass the contraband to inmate Sterling, who was wearing a full-length Muslim robe. Two more mobile phones – which can fetch up to �1,000 each inside – were discovered in his jail locker and an envelope with �300 of cash.
Police found text messages and financial information linking the five, while several phone calls and visits were known to have taken place.
Nearly �20,000 passed through bank accounts belonging to Brahmbhatt, Porter and two others. The five defendants have been remanded in custody awaiting sentencing.
A Prison Service spokesman said: “We are working hard to keep contraband out of prison, using a range of security measures to reduce drug supply, including working closely with police forces and carrying out random mandatory drug tests.”