Granny sold drugs for grandkids' custody battle
AN EMERALD grandmother turned to trafficking drugs to raise funds to fight to regain custody of her grandchildren.
Sandra Lea Conlon, 52, pleaded guilty on December 20 in the Supreme Court in Rockhampton to one count of trafficking, one of possessing dangerous drugs, one of possessing cash and gemstones gained from drug sales and one of possessing drug utensils.
Justice Graeme Crow said Conlon's criminal and traffic history, which showed she started using drugs when she was 39 years old, was unimpressive.
"Your traffic history shows that, at some parts of your life, you've had a real contempt for the law," he said.
The court heard Conlon came to the attention of police who were targeting an associate of hers.
They intercepted three clients leaving Conlon's house in two hours on April 12, which led to a search warrant activated the following day.
A phone seized identified 13 customers buying methamphetamines and marijuana off Conlon during a four-week period.
Officers found 30g of marijuana and $1570 cash in her house.
Defence barrister Scott Moon said Conlon, a carer for her seriously ill 24-year-old son, had been caring for her grandchildren and when they were taken out of her care.
He said she was advised she would need $3000-$4000 for legal costs to fight to regain custody.
Mr Moon said she turned to trafficking to raise the funds.
"The trafficking itself was low level but serious," he said.
He said Conlon was one of nine children her mother raised on her own after their father died when Conlon was 14 years old.
Mr Moon said Conlon struggled with depression, had been in a long-term domestic violence relationship and had turned to marijuana.
"It allowed her to remove herself for a moment from the tremulous life she was in," Mr Moon said.
He said since her pre-sentence custody of almost four months, which was her first time in prison, she had relocated to Townsville and was rebuilding her life.
The court heard Conlon had 10 prior convictions for drug- related offences.
Despite her history and having been given all sentencing options available, Justice Crow did comment that rehabilitation was still possible for Conlon.
He sentenced Conlon to a three-year jail term, with a parole release date of June 19.