Meth-dealing mum avoids stint in jail
A 40-YEAR-OLD Warwick said she turned to drug dealing as a means to support her own ice addiction.
Sandra Lee Howard pleaded guilty in the Warwick District Court to 14 counts of supplying methylamphetamine, one of supplying marijuana, one of possessing drug utensils, and another two summary charges of possessing drug paraphernalia and failing to dispose of a syringe.
Howard was sentenced to 18 months' jail with immediate release on parole.
The mother of three admitted to all 16 offences when questioned by police, each of which took place over the same 12-day period from October 16 to October 28, 2019.
She dealt varying amounts of meth on 10 separate occasions, which racked up a street value of $1925, and was then involved in another four dealings of the same Schedule 1 drug and another one of marijuana.
The 40-year-old had a criminal history after police found drugs and firearm ammunition in her Warwick home in 2017.
The court heard Howard had only turned to drug dealing to feed her own meth addiction, which spiralled out of control following her son's and her own cancer diagnoses and the breakdown of her marriage.
During the sentencing, Judge Barlow commended Howard on the "strong work ethic" exhibited in continuing to work two full-time jobs while the sole carer of three children.
However, he also reprimanded her in turn, saying that "turning to drugs (was) not a good response" to her personal crises.
Judge Barlow also praised Howard for her co-operation with police during their investigation, including submitting her mobile phone as evidence of the supply charges and her early plea of guilt.
The judge also warned her that she was "a 40-year-old woman who should know better", and that the use and dealing of such serious drugs "merits severe denouncement on behalf of the community."