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07/14/2010

Former Millbrook business owner sentenced to 15 months in federal prison for being an alien in possession of a firearm

MONTGOMERY, Ala. - Narendrakumar "Nick" Patel, a citizen and national of India, was sentenced yesterday by U.S. District Court Judge W. Keith Watkins to 15 months in federal prison for being an alien unlawfully in possession of a firearm, following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents.

Patel was tried and convicted by a jury in April.

Patel, 45, received 15 months in federal prison for being an alien possessing a loaded Omega, Model 32, .32 Smith and Wesson Caliber, Revolver on Oct. 30, 2008. Law enforcement found the loaded firearm lying on a shelf above the cash register during the execution of a search warrant in Patel's former business, the Pit Stop, in Millbrook, Ala. Subsequent investigation revealed Patel, a native and citizen of India, had illegally entered the United States in the mid-1990s. Since that entry, Patel remained an alien, illegally present in the United States, having failed to successfully adjust his immigration status.

In addition to the prison sentence, Judge Watkins sentenced Patel to serve two years of supervised release under the supervision of a federal probation officer. Patel also faces administrative removal proceedings with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

"Prison terms like this one are a reminder that there are consequences for violating immigration law," said Raymond R. Parmer, Jr., special agent in charge of ICE's Office of Homeland Security Investigation's (HSI) in New Orleans. "Federal immigration prosecutions are an important component of ICE's interior immigration enforcement strategy and we will continue to work closely with the U.S. Department of Justice to bring these cases forward." Parmer's area of responsibility covers the states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas and Tennessee.

The case was investigated by agents from ICE, the U.S. Secret Service, State of Alabama Alcoholic and Beverage Control Board and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jerusha Adams, Andrew O. Schiff, Matthew Shepherd, and Monica Stump prosecuted the case.