The city of Chipley has received a motel as part of a plea bargain deal involving a father and son who pled "no contest" to a host of drug related charges.
The father and son operated a Chipley convenience store, as well as a motel, sold large quantities of the chemicals used to make crystal-meth, and then allowed the suspects to cook the drug in the motel rooms.
Jay Patel and his 20-year-old son, Sagar, stood before Circuit Court Judge Allen Register.
Both men pled "no contest" to reduced charges involving the sale of chemicals used in the manufacture of meth, and providing a place to make it.
Last spring following a six-month undercover investigation, agents raided several rooms at the Chipley Motel
"Last spring, the father [sold] the drug chemicals and then they were renting out the rooms for those to do meth cooks. It’s been in our city, and going on for several years," said Chief Kevin Crews
Prosecutor Steve Meadows says his office went after the Patel’s because large quantities of the motel meth were supplying users across the Panhandle and South Alabama.
"We are putting drug dealers on notice that if you do this, we will go after your property and we will make sure that it is put to good use," said State Attorney Meadows.
City officials are not sure at this time how they will use the motel, but it will be used for the public's good.
"We just learned today about us receiving the deed. So we haven't discussed it. But it'll be used for a proper purpose," said Chipley City Councilman Tommy McDonald Jr.
Both Patel’s remain out on bond at this time.
Besides tens-of-thousands of dollars in fines, Jay Patel was placed on 15-years supervised probation, which is in addition to the forfeiture of his motel.
Jay’s son, Sagar Patel, will formally be sentenced early next month by Circuit Judge Allen Register for his part in the drug operation.