Indecent drug smugglers jailed after Royal Mail finds their cannabis

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A dastardly drug smuggler has been caught by police after his £5,000 shipment of US cannabis was smuggled into Royal Mail sorting office after it missed the delivery point.

Gary Patnett, 37, was waiting for his illegal parcel of Kali weed to be delivered to his home after he and his younger sibling ordered it online from a US firm operating legally in California.

But the unfortunate father-of-two, nicknamed ‘B***end’ by his sister, missed the unsuspecting courier’s delivery – and returned shortly afterwards to find a ‘sorry we missed your card’ message on his doorstep.

Mum-of-one Natasha Patnett then launched a tracking app to find the missing package before her brother went on a frantic mission to their nearest sorting office in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, in the hope of collecting it.

But police – who were called to the depot after staff raised the alarm – ambushed Patnett when he arrived on his bike and arrested him.

Distressed father-of-two Gary Patnett, 37, ordered £5,000 worth of drugs from the US with his younger sister but missed their delivery, which later led to his arrest. He is pictured smiling outside Chester Court

Mother-of-one Natasha Patnett, 34, reminded her brother 'not to forget the parcel' in a text message on the day of delivery

Mother-of-one Natasha Patnett, 34, reminded her brother ‘not to forget the parcel’ in a text message on the day of delivery

During the search, Patnett was found with a “missed delivery” card in his hand and a text message on his phone from Natasha, 34, which read: “Good morning, don’t forget the parcel”.

An Ellesmere Port couple pleaded guilty to importing Class B drugs at Chester Crown Court.

Prosecutor Ryan Rothwell said that on January 29, 2022, Royal Mail staff reported a “suspicious package” to police.

“Inside the package was 225g of fairly good quality cannabis, worth between £3,200 and £5,100. It was contained in 64 packets of what was described as Cali weed,” Mr Rothwell told the court.

“The parcel was addressed to where the defendant was with his partner at the time. It was addressed to a fictional woman, Janet Baker.”

Patnett’s phone was seized by police, and officers later found messages from his sister that proved she was “involved,” the prosecutor added.

Patnett was ordered to complete 120 hours of unpaid work along with 20 days of rehabilitation activity with the probation service

Patnett was ordered to complete 120 hours of unpaid work along with 20 days of rehabilitation activity with the probation service

“A message received on January 27, the day before, at 2.34pm, indicated that she texted Mr Putnet: ‘This parcel has been delivered to you, the tracker says, so you need to respond,'” Mr Rothwell told the court.

“The message indicated that Miss Patnett was monitoring the delivery of the parcel on a tracker.

“The next day, January 28, at 9.45am there was another message: ‘The morning is over, don’t forget the package.’ Not sure if it closes at 11 or 1 on Fridays.’

“The day after his arrest, Miss Patnet stopped using that number. In March last year, a search was conducted at her address. She was arrested. In the interview, both defendants did not comment on all the issues.”

Patnett has two previous convictions, one in 2002 for aggravated theft of a motor vehicle and the other in 2018 for traveling on a railway without paying a fare.

His sister had a previous conviction from 2015 for smuggling steroids into prison, for which she was given a 12-week suspended sentence.

Defending Patnett, Paul Wood said: “There is genuine remorse. He stayed out of trouble, and he dealt with a long-standing addiction to cocaine.

Natasha Patnett, pictured, was previously convicted in 2015 of smuggling steroids into prison.  She is pictured outside Chester Crown Court

Natasha Patnett, pictured, was previously convicted in 2015 of smuggling steroids into prison. She is pictured outside Chester Crown Court

“He has two children, aged seven and twelve, and he is in contact with them every weekend. At first glance, he is a responsible father.”

Jonathan Keane, defending Patnett’s sister, said his client had previously been in an abusive relationship.

He added: “Repentance was certainly extended in two ways. When she thinks about the impact of her offense on her daughter, who she is the only one looking after, and she understands the impact of drugs on society, given the difficulties her brother is suffering and that she has faced in the past.’

Patnett was ordered to complete 120 hours of unpaid work along with 20 days of rehabilitation activity at the probation service.

Due to a previous conviction, his sister received 140 hours of unpaid work and 20 days of rehabilitation. At a previous hearing she was fined £46 for possession of amphetamine.

Sentencing, Recorder Judge David O’Mahony said: “Gary, the presentence report notes your remorse and refers to your efforts to deal with your habit. You are unemployed but hope to get a job when this matter is resolved.’

Addressing Patnett’s brother, the judge said: “Natasha, in your pre-sentence report you say you were driven by fear and wanted to help your brother.

“You’re a full-time working mother on benefits, but you’ve worked in the past and want to work again in the future. You used drugs, mainly cannabis, to improve your mental health, but you are remorseful.’

Cali Weed is marijuana that is grown commercially in California, the first US state to legalize medical cannabis and one of the first states to legalize the drug for recreational use.

Due to the product’s strict regulatory and testing regime, the drug is considered to be of higher quality than that grown illegally in the UK.

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