Brother fights bid to extradite him to Peru on drugs charges
The brother of a Blackpool man who has died in Peru while on parole for drug smuggling has vowed to continue his own fight against extradition to the South American country.
Jamie Cato, who is wanted in Peru on suspicion of smuggling cocaine, remains on an electronic tag.
The lengthy legal process, which could see the South Shore resident become one of just a few Brits sent to the country to face charges, has been ongoing since his arrest in 2013 – just days before he completed a jail sentence for his role in transporting £20,000 of amphetamine into Cumbria.
He said: “I lost the original hearing at magistrates’ court which I have appealed and hopefully I will get a decision soon.”
Jamie claims he was in Peru from 2007 until 2009 showing potential investors around properties.
He admitted his involvement in the Cumbria drugs operation, which he described as a ‘mistake’.
The 44-year-old was part of a gang caught smuggling large quantities of the class B drug out of Lancashire and was sentenced to 32 months in prison in 2012.
But he insists he has now served his time and is innocent of allegations he deposited a parcel containing 450g of cocaine at a post office in downtown Lima on November 24, 2009.
It is understood Jamie’s lawyers, who say his is only the third extradition request from Peru in living memory, will argue that sending him there would breach his human rights.
The Gazette revealed on Saturday that Jamie’s brother Jason had died in Peru while on parole, after serving three years in the notorious Lurigancho prison in Lima for possession of drugs.
His family say he was thrown from a balcony by prisoners, breaking his legs, and died while on parole after suffering mental and physical illnesses. They are trying to find out the cause of his death.
In an interview with The Gazette two years ago, Jamie originally said the harrowing experience of his brother Jamie, had made determined to fight the extradition request.
But Jamie, who said he has turned his life around through charity work, said he now wishes he had ignored legal advice and flown to Peru, where he could have helped his brother.
He said: “I think it’s my fault. I could have gone over and sorted it all out but as soon as I got there they would have arrested me.
“Because I couldn’t go over, I blame myself.”
An extradition request against Mr Cato was first made at the Court of Appeal in Callao, Peru, on June 9, 2011, when he was in prison in the UK.
Since then he has faced a long wait to see if he will be handed over to South American authorities.
A letter seen by The Gazette, sent to Mr Cato by his solicitor, said: “The request for your extradition has been made by a judge at the Court of Appeal in Callao, Peru, on June 9, 2011, in relation to a single allegation of ‘illegal drug trafficking’.
“The Peruvians want you to be extradited so that you may be prosecuted in relation to this allegation.
“Specifically, it is alleged that you deposited a parcel containing 0.4422kg of cocaine at a post office in downtown Lima on November 24, 2009.”
Mr Cato maintains he may have been duped into sending a parcel.
He added: “I used to send things home by post.
“One time I went with someone to show them how it worked.
“You need your passport to do it and he didn’t have his but I had mine – I don’t know if I got trapped into it.
“Anyone could go over there, post some souvenirs home and get a knock on the door from the police.
“I don’t think I would survive if I have to go to prison over there.”
The Metropolitan Police confirmed Mr Cato had been arrested at an address in Blackpool, following a request from the Peruvian authorities.
“The arrest relates to alleged drugs offences, namely being concerned in the fraudulent evasion of a prohibition on the exportation of goods, namely cocaine,” a spokesman said.