Drug dealing couple paid boy for chores with marijuana

TWO Tennant Creek drug dealers had one of their child customers doing household chores in exchange for free drugs, the Northern Territory Supreme Court has heard.

Dealers Rory Muir and Alicia Chopping were jailed earlier this month after pleading guilty to a string of drug supply charges, including selling drugs to two children.

Muir, 26, and Chopping, 21, were arrested in July last year in Alice Springs, on their way to meet a drug runner from South Australia, who was driving from just north of Adelaide with a pound of cannabis.

A raid on the then-couple's home saw police seize a drug ledger and security camera footage from an elaborate home-surveillance system at their Wolseley St house, which showed them making more than 100 deals in the space of a week.

Justice Judith Kelly said Muir played the main role in the drug enterprise, but that he was "no svengali" and that Chopping knowingly played a part in, and profited from, the dealing.

"Her lifestyle and his was being funded by the sale of drugs to the vulnerable and the needy," she said.

The court heard cannabis sells at a premium in Tennant Creek, with a going rate of $50 a gram. Justice Kelly said she was told, "as well as selling (one of the boys) cannabis on at least one occasion, the two of you employed the boy to do domestic work for you and paid him in drugs".

She said Chopping did "not seem to have any insight at all into this offending or that serious offending has consequences".

"It has consequences for the people that you were supplying drugs to, and it will have consequences for you, as it should," she said.

Justice Kelly said Muir could put his talents "to better use in a legitimate business".

She said Muir had shown he understood his drug dealing had ruined his life and others.

"Frankly, I am a little bit cynical about your level of sincerity, but you do have insight, and I am going to give the benefit of the doubt ..." Justice Kelly said to Muir.

She said the security camera footage police seized left the former couple little choice but to plead guilty.

Chopping was jailed for four years and six months, suspended after six months.

Muir, who had two previous drug convictions and who had a stolen laptop and iPad, was jailed for five years, suspended after 18 months served.

Topics:  children drug dealing drugs

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