Woman, 46, influenced by teen boyfriend into drug operation
A TEEN and his girlfriend, 27 years his senior, have faced court for a drug trafficking operation in a scheme which was hatched when he began living with her during a period of homelessness.
Rani Sherrette Hamilton, 46, and Tyla Miller, 19, pleaded guilty to trafficking marijuana in Maroochydore District Court yesterday in what was an emotional sentencing.
The court heard Hamilton supplied Miller and another co-accused with money to begin their drug-dealing enterprise which supplied marijuana to 29 people, 69 times within a two-month period.
Crown prosecutor Greg Cummings said the operation had a "degree of sophistication" as the group had a "business attitude" and an established credit system.
They bought 2.5 pounds of the drug during the period of the offending and would sell amounts between 5g and half an ounce.
The court heard in the context of a business analogy, Miller was the "sales representative", and Hamilton the "investor".
When police searched the couple's Buderim home in May 2017 they found 143g of marijuana and confiscated Miller's phone.
Text messages between the pair were used as the primary evidence against them as they declined to be interviewed.
During the sentencing Miller was seen to mouth "what the f---?" to Hamilton when her defence barrister Clem van der Weegen told the court "in her rush to be loved and accepted" after a violent relationship she was influenced into starting to use marijuana by him.
Miller, who had been using marijuana since he was 14, moved into Hamilton's home after she discovered he was homeless while he was repainting her house with a co-accused.
Mr van der Weegen said before Hamilton's offending she was a mortgage broker for NAB, a teetotaller and hadn't been exposed to drugs.
"She's a good person who made a mistake," he said.
"She knew what was happening, but had a minimal role."
Miller's defence barrister Mark McCarthy told the court his client had a troubled upbringing and was exposed to drugs at a young age.
He had become estranged from his mother and stepfather before he moved in with and started a relationship with Hamilton, but had since built a relationship with them.
Miller's family, who were in court to support him, were visibly emotional when Judge Glen Cash told the pair he wasn't intending on sending them to prison.
Judge Cash said he would proceed on the basis Miller didn't "corrupt" Hamilton into doing drugs, but that she wouldn't have been exposed to them if not for him.
They both received 18 months' imprisonment with immediate parole.