Woman 'smuggled heroin into jail'

ATTEMPTING to smuggle a “significant quantity” of high purity heroin into the Maryborough Correctional Centre has cost Mary Elizabeth Matthews her freedom for three months.

The 36-year-old Maryborough woman was sentenced to 24 months' jail, suspended after three months, after pleading guilty yesterday to possessing and attempting to supply heroin to a person inside a correctional facility.

The Maryborough Supreme Court heard Matthews was arrested on September 10 last year when security officers found she was carrying almost three grams of heroin in her bra – drugs that were intended for her imprisoned partner.

But perhaps the most extraordinary element of the case was that it wasn't Matthews' first try at smuggling illegal drugs into the prison.

In 2007 she was spared a jail sentence for attempting to sneak prescription medication in to her partner.

“Your conduct of again undermining the security of the prison is very serious,” Justice Martin Daubney said.

Defence barrister Catherine Morgan told the court that while Matthews was sorry for what she had done, the mother of three was actually the victim of the situation.

“She received a phone call from one of her partner's associates in prison, a man who identified himself only as Tony.

“He asked her to take drugs, which she believed to be amphetamines, into the prison.”

Ms Morgan said when Matthews said no, Tony called again but this time offered money.

When she said no, Tony allegedly resorted to threatening her until she agreed to take a package of heroin, concealed inside 12 balloons, into the prison.

The court heard the prison's sniffer dogs immediately picked up the scent of heroin when Matthews attempted to enter the prison on March 10.

When she was challenged by an officer, she retrieved the package from her bra and admitted she was taking it to her partner, who had spent most of their five-year relationship behind bars.

Crown prosecutor Greg Cummings said 2.84 grams of heroin was analysed and was found to be of 37% purity, a “very high level”.

Matthews was yesterday sentenced to 12 months concurrent imprisonment on each charge, suspended after three months.

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