Vulnerable teen’s ‘fairytale’ relationship with drug dealer
SHE was only 15-years-old when a man about 23 years older convinced her to enter an intimate relationship with him, care for his children and help him run a drug-trafficking business in Central Queensland.
Now 18, the woman faced the Supreme Court in Rockhampton late last year, sobbing throughout the court process in fear of having to spend time in jail for her role in the drug-trafficking affair.
Eve (not her real name) pleaded guilty to one count of trafficking drugs, four of possessing drugs, one of possessing more than two grams of illegal drugs, five of possessing drug utensils, one of possessing tainted property, one of possessing an item suspected of being used in the commission of a drug offence and one of possessing property used to commit an offence.
Eve, who became addicted to methamphetamines after being introduced to the drug by the older man, trafficked drugs for her partner for six months in 2018, with the business supplying drugs more than 100 times to 37 customers.
Justice Graeme Crow said the teenager's criminal offending was troubling.
"We know drug traffickers target children because they get lesser sentences," he said.
Crown prosecutor Samantha O'Rourke said Eve was clearly "under the thumb" of the man running the prolific business.
Eve was 17 when she was busted possessing 3.312g of methamphetamines.
This fact led to a discussion about whether Eve should spend time in prison, or receive the penalty a child would have for this possession - a probation order with no conviction recorded.
Defence barrister Matthew Heelan said his client had been enticed to offend.
"She was 15 years old when her mother permits him and his two children to move into their home," Mr Heelan told the court.
"He supplies her with methamphetamines and enters a relationship with her."
He said Eve thought herself to be in love with the older man.
The court heard she was so confident of this, she left her mother's house and moved in with him when he relocated to another town.
She was vulnerable due to her childhood - the first 10 years spent in a seriously violent home and then changed schools 19 times until grade 10.
"Children sometimes believe in fairytales and silliness," Justice Crow said.
"You have been preyed upon as a child.
"You have been peppered with a powerful and addictive drug.
"He took advantage of you."
Justice Crow commented it was common for drug traffickers to get children as young as 10 and 12 addicted to drugs and then those children turn to "selling their bodies to get these drugs".
Eve had not reoffended since her arrest for trafficking drugs.
Her role in the business was to facilitate supplies, hide drugs when warned by her older partner that police were on their way to their home, and was involved in 10 conversations about drug supplies.
Justice Crow ordered Eve to a three-year prison term with immediate parole and declared four days presentence custody.
NOTE: Due to the defendant being a minor for most of the offending period, The Morning Bulletin cannot name her, her older partner or the locations the offending took place.