'Exemplary steps' keep dealer out of jail

Nicosia Valerie-Jo Henton, 21, has been sentenced for trafficking marijuana over a period of about 18 months.
Nicosia Valerie-Jo Henton, 21, has been sentenced for trafficking marijuana over a period of about 18 months. Bill North

SHE was a street-level drug dealer selling marijuana out of Kuluin for 18 months.

Between the ages of 19 and 21 years old Nicosia Valerie-Jo Henton, now 21, ran a marijuana business, buying and selling the drug.

Yesterday she cried through proceedings in Maroochydore District Court as she was sentenced for trafficking marijuana, supplying MDMA pills, possessing dangerous drugs and drug utensils and possessing a mobile phone and digital scales suspected of being used to commit crimes.

Police recovered 1674 text messages related to drugs from Henton's phone when they raided her Kuluin home on June 7 last year, equating to about 100 messages each week over the 18 months she was dealing in marijuana.

They also found 38 grams of marijuana packed into three separate bags, and other paraphernalia.

Occasionally codes were used in the text messages, but Judge John Robertson said while Henton's drug trafficking was at a "fairly intense level" it was unsophisticated and it was only a matter of time before her actions came to the police's attention.

A heavy marijuana user herself, Henton would buy 28 grams of marijuana every two-to-three days, keep seven grams for herself and sell the rest.

She started using the drug when she was 15 years old and by the time of her arrest she was using daily.

Judge Robertson said the steps Henton had taken to kick the habit since her arrest in June were remarkable.

She cooperated with police, named her supplier and had gone a long way towards rehabilitation through the court's QMERIT program.

"She's done everything possible to address the cause of her offending behaviour and she is still very young," he said.

He said his decision not to send Henton to prison was difficult, but she had taken "exemplary steps" to address her underlying marijuana addiction.

She was given a two-and-a-half year jail sentenced with immediate parole.

Topics:  crime drug trafficking marijuana maroochydore district court

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