By Tom Dare
THE GRITTY tale has been told in a new book of how a British-born drug baron came to dominate one of the world’s most notorious prisons after being arrested for smuggling the half-a-million-dollar largest haul of black market steroids in Spanish history.
Images from ‘From King of Karachi to Lockdown in the Costa del Crime: Meet the International Smuggler Who Dominated Europe’s Worst Prison’ by Chet Sandhu show the former drug kingpin posing with a rifle at a shooting range and holding two caimans as he relaxes in a club.
In another shot from the book a police evidence tray full of confiscated drugs can be seen in a cutting from a Spanish newspaper, while Chet, real name Gurchettan Sandhu can also be seen partying with several different girls.
The pictures come from a book chronicling Chet’s time inside notorious Spanish prison Fontcalent, famed for its tough conditions and high-profile inmates.
Chet, originally from Hartlepool, was arrested at gunpoint in Alicante Airport by Spanish police in November 1999 after masterminding the largest steroid-smuggling operation in Spanish history – with a total good value of more than half a million dollars. His story was featured prominently in both the British and Spanish press at the time.
He was sent to Fontcalent shortly after, but far from becoming a victim of the gangs, murderers and rapists who called the establishment home, he soon began to climb to the top of the prison’s hierarchy.
“This is a story I never wanted to write down,” he says in the book.
“It started from messages between me and friends on my Facebook page. As things turned out they liked my stories and encouraged me to write more, so I did.
“This book will offend some people, those I know and others who I have never met. I’m not bothered. This is my story and if anyone has a problem with it they should come and see me. I’m not hard to find. “
The story details exactly how Chet, who was a nightclub doorman in the north of England, was able to establish a drugs route from the steroid capital of the world in Karachi, Pakistan, by establishing a local alias, Jet Khan. There he consorted with prostitutes, forged alliances with corrupt police and airport officials, and recruited British tourists as drugs mules. He was only caught after being betrayed by one of his associates.
While behind bars Chet took part in knife fights, rose to becoming the head of a loan shark ring, protected other vulnerable prisoners, negotiated the cut-throat politics of rival gangs of gypsies and Nazis, and was involved in a successful prison escape.
He spiralled into a downward slide of drug addiction before kicking the habit and building his body up to fearsome proportions. Chet decisively won the trust of fellow inmates after winning an unofficial inter-wing weightlifting tournament.
“You also need to know that as you read these pages you’re not going to learn about how I survived one of the most extreme prisons on the planet,” said Chet.
“Instead, you’ll know how I came to dominate the hellhole I was thrown into.
“Everyone left me when I was in jail. I know for a fact the people I asked for help were thinking: don’t involve me in this.
“Out of all the gangsters and killers that I’ve been with, given the choice of one person to stand by me, I choose my Ma. She puts all the others to shame.”
‘From King of Karachi to Lockdown in the Costa del Crime: Meet the International Smuggler Who Dominated Europe’s Worst Prison’ is published by Media Drum World, and is available on Amazon now here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0757YVDSK