Indian origin man sentenced for trying to evade cannabis laws in UK

London, March 9 : Darshan Patel, a 38 year-old Indian-origin man in the UK, has been sentenced to 14 months imprisonment after fraudulently trying to evade the prohibition on the importation of cannabis, police said. In October 2020, Wiltshire police was contacted by the UK Border Agency which had intercepted several packets of a green herbal substance which tested positive for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) -- the major psychoactive component in cannabis -- addressed to Patel and his company, Red Eyez. Products listed on the company's website for sale included hash and leaf tea, advertised as hemp or CBD - alongside false claims these were legal to sell due to the low THC content of below 0.2 per cent. The Wiltshire police said after obtaining a warrant in January 2021, Patel's house was raided, leading to seizure of numerous items, including several phones, a quantity of herbal cannabis, cannabis resin, digital scales, cash and banking paperwork. Patel, a resident of Covingham, Swindon, was arrested and forensic tests indicated that all exhibits were positive as cannabis. "Patel was caught trying to exploit the current legislation, essentially by using the law which governs the cultivation of hemp and applying it to the selling of cannabis products," Police Constable Chris Hemns said. "Under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, it's illegal to sell the leaves and flowers from a cannabis plant even when the THC level is below 0.2 per cent," Hemns added. The Swindon Crown Court sentenced Patel to one count of possession of cannabis with intent to supply and three counts of being knowingly concerned in the fraudulent evasion of the prohibition on importation in relation to the Class B drug herbal cannabis. Proceeds of crime proceedings are being instigated in relation to the benefit Patel has made from the illegal sale of cannabis, the Wiltshire police said. "Despite trying to get around the system, we have caught up with him and this case is a reminder that selling controlled drugs, in whatever form, is harmful and we will always pursue it to the full extent of the law," Hemns said. /IANS


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