Nina Papandrea has pleaded guilty to drug trafficking. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Kelly Barnes
Nina Papandrea has pleaded guilty to drug trafficking. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Kelly Barnes

Reason for hairdresser’s prison drug plan

An Adelaide hairdresser involved in a plan to smuggle drugs to her imprisoned ex-boyfriend - who referred to himself as "Pablo Escobar" - says she felt obliged after he was "stood over" behind bars.

Nina Lina Papandrea, 37, trafficked strips of buprenorphine, a prescription heroin replacement, in September and October of 2017 at Murray Bridge and Devon Park.

The District Court heard she had collected the strips, reported back to her former partner as to how many she had, and was directed to deliver them to various places.

Prosecutor Emily Harper said phone calls between the pair revealed Papandrea knew that the prisoner stood to make "some sort of benefit" from the drugs.

Papandrea (left) was part of a plan to deliver drugs to a prisoner, a court has heard. Picture:: NCA NewsWire / Kelly Barnes
Papandrea (left) was part of a plan to deliver drugs to a prisoner, a court has heard. Picture:: NCA NewsWire / Kelly Barnes


"She's told by (the prisoner) … that the strips are worth $100 in here," she told the court.

"He refers to himself as Pablo Escobar and says everyone's hooked on this, it's like synthetic heroin."

Ms Harper said, in another phone call between the two, they say "it's risky, but it's got to be done".

"Clearly, that indicates that they know what they're doing is wrong," she said.

She said the strips never made their way into the prison, and Papandrea's charges instead relate to her collecting and delivering them beforehand.

She says she felt ‘obliged’ after her former partner said he was being ‘stood over’. Picture: Facebook
She says she felt ‘obliged’ after her former partner said he was being ‘stood over’. Picture: Facebook

 

Papandrea will be sentenced in February. Picture: Facebook
Papandrea will be sentenced in February. Picture: Facebook

Papandrea, who has pleaded guilty to two counts of trafficking in a controlled drug, arrived late for her court appearance on Tuesday.

Defence counsel Aaron Almeida said his client had been in a "toxic" and abusive relationship with the prisoner that ended in 2016.

However, he said the pair remained close after they broke up.

"Despite the separation, she still loved him," he said.

Mr Almeida said Papandrea was motivated by loyalty and thought she was doing "the right thing" by her former partner.

"She felt obliged. It really started off by (the man) telling her that he was being stood over, and that's why she had to involve herself in this and she did so," he said.

"For what it's worth, she didn't believe that these strips were harmful. She saw it as a treatment to a dependency."

Papandrea, who lives with her mother and stepfather, completed a hairdressing apprenticeship and opened her own salon at age 27 but now works casually from home.

Judge Rauf Soulio ordered a psychological report and continued her bail ahead of sentencing in February.

Originally published as Reason for hairdresser's prison drug plan


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