A Chipley man accused of dealing drugs will not be going to prison, but his son might, and both have lost the business where their drug deals took place.
The judge gave their motel to the city of Chipley. Jayonti and Sagar Patel are no longer running what you might call a successful business.
Kevin Crews, Chipley Chief of Police, said, "The father was operating a convenient store and the son managing the motel, and we believe and was able to prove that the father was selling pseudoephedrine by the cases and then they were using the motel to set up meth cooks."
Investigators say the pair had been running this operation for years before police managed to make their first undercover meth buy last February. In April they raided the motel and convenience store and arrested the Patels.
Friday morning Circuit Judge Allen Register sentenced Jay Patel to 15 years probation, mandatory drug testing and 150 hours of community service. He'll also have to pay fines including $10,000 to the Panama City Police Department for investigation costs, but the biggest hit may be the loss of the motel on Highway 90.
Patel has to sign the deed over to the city of Chipley.
Steve Meadows, state attorney, said, "All drug dealers should know that if they use any business, any property, any vehicle to further their drug trade, that we will go after them and go after that property to bring it back to the lawful purpose."
Chipley Mayor Linda Cain says she doesn't know what the city will do with the motel, but the city will not go into the motel business.
Linda Cain said, "It's almost deja vu for me to be the mayor of the city of Chipley and then come back and have ownership of that motel."
Judge Register adjudicated Jay Patel's son, Sagar, as a youthful offender. The maximum penalty he can receive is six years in prison. His sentencing is set for February 6.
Mayor Cain says the Chipley motel itself isn't worth very much, but the property is very valuable. Commissioners may end up using it to house some of the city's departments.