A Wellington mother who attempted to smuggle drugs into a jail as part of a drug ring headed by her partner has escaped time behind bars.
Danielle Louise Follett, 32, was convicted and sentenced to an 18-month term of imprisonment, to be served in the community by way of an intensive corrections order.
In Dubbo Local Court last Thursday, Magistrate Gary Wilson also ordered Follett to complete 200 hours of community service work, continue participation with counselling, abstain from drugs and alcohol and not associate with her former partner Kyle Thompson.
Follett pleaded guilty to organising, conducting and assisting a drug premises, participating in a criminal group and contribute to criminal activity and supply 4.8 grams of buprenorphine in October last year.
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The mother of three was monitored by secret police phone intercepts between December 2019 and April 2020, which revealed the extent of her participation in a drug syndicate operating out of Wellington.
Police revealed Follett's role included directing potential customers to people for the supply of drugs and packaging drugs at the direction of others.
In an agreed statement of facts, during a phone tap in January 2020, Follett was recorded talking to another woman organising to "wrap" 20 buprenorphine strips - about 0.8 grams - to be dropped off to the woman.
In another tapped phone call, about two weeks later, Follett was recorded agreeing to place 50 buprenorphine strips - about two grams - into a package.
Follett was then contacted on March 17, 2020, by another member of the syndicate, Bradley Thompson, who inquired if she could access another 50 buprenorphine strips to smuggle into Wellington Correctional Centre.
Police raided Follett's home in Wellington in the early hours of April 2, 2020. During the search of the property, police located a number of mobile phones, drug paraphernalia and other items consistent of with drug supply, including scales, a safe, resealable bags and cash.
In the loungeroom of her home, police also located a wireless security camera on a bookshelf, and a security system near the modem.
Follett was arrested and taken to Dubbo Police Station on May 27, 2020.
In December 2021, when Follett was due to be sentenced in the local court, defence barrister Daniel Pace said his client had low self-esteem and "lost the confidence" to speak out about the syndicate her partner was running.
The court heard Follett wrote a letter of apology to the court and had struggled during her on again, off again relationship with Thompson, and "felt obliged" to commit these offences.
Mr Pace said Follett had served four months in custody, but should be in his opinion "commended" for her path to rehabilitation.
"She is an Aboriginal single mother of three children," Mr Pace said.
"She's well on the path to rehabilitation. She needs to continue to seek treatment for her mental health."
Crown prosecutor Jesse Friend said Follett had not suffered significant hardship, but that the Crown did not oppose a community-based prison sentence being imposed.