P 'courier' sent to jail
Last updated 16:24 30/07/2012
As a drug courier, Stephanie Jane Carroll was paid to transport more than $600,000 worth of methamphetamine from Hamilton to Palmerston North.
But police busted the dealing operation and Carroll has been sent to jail for four years and three months.
The 45-year-old Palmerston North woman was a small player in the Rebels motorcycle gang's methamphetamine dealing.
She became involved through her ex-husband, who is a patched gang member. Carroll is not a member of the gang.
At Carroll's sentencing this month on two charges of supplying methamphetamine and one of possessing methamphetamine to supply, the High Court at Wellington heard that the drug was manufactured in Hamilton and Murupara, and distributed in Manawatu, Whanganui and Horowhenua.
"This conspiracy subsisted for about six months from September 1, 2010, and it seems to have operated on a substantial scale," Justice Forrest Miller said.
Early last year police moved in and arrested those they suspected of involvement in an investigation dubbed Operation Stamp.
Carroll's role was to be a courier and on November 20, 2010, she took more than 400 grams of methamphetamine from Hamilton to Palmerston North.
For this she was paid $7500.
On January 12, 2011, Carroll returned to Hamilton to get about 402.1 grams of the drug and was arrested with it in her possession.
Justice Miller's judgment, which has just been made public, says 400 grams of methamphetamine would have had a "street value exceeding $320,000", meaning Carroll was to have transported about $640,000 worth on her two drug runs.
The judge said he accepted that Carroll became involved because she was "at the end of her tether financially" and needed money to help look after her seven children, aged between 4 and 19.
He also accepted her remorse and said it was regrettable that he would have to impose a prison sentence, which would cause hardship on her children.
"It gives me no pleasure to say to you that I have no alternative but to send you to prison," Justice Miller said.
"The drug [methamphetamine] is extremely addictive and socially harmful, and sentences are stern as a result."
Couriers such as Carroll played an "important but low-end" role in drug dealing operations.
"You were used because other, more senior people were not willing to take the risk of being caught with methamphetamine.
"Evidently you were considered expendable. Your shares of the profits seems to have been modest," Justice Miller said.
Carroll received discounts to her sentence because of her co-operation with police.
The judge decided not to impose a minimum period which she must service meaning Carroll will eligible for parole after one third of her sentence.
Others accused of involvement in the operation face trial later this year.