'Keno win funded drug set-up'

A SOPHISTICATED and professionally-built hydroponic drug set-up has led to a suspended 22-month jail sentence for Banora Point woman Alison Shea.

Shea, 36, pleaded guilty to cultivating cannabis through enhanced indoor means for commercial purposes at her home in Kiora Street on July 16 last year.

She claimed the drug set-up was funded by a Keno win.

The Crown charge involved 36 plants and seedlings found by Tweed police in three specially-built rooms in a double garage beneath the house.

Judge James Black took into account that Shea was charged with two counts of being in possession of small quantities of cannabis leaf, with evidence revealing she had used cannabis for 20 years.

After consideration of defence argument and evidence that Shea was rehabilitating herself, Judge Black ordered the sentence be immediately suspended, with the woman to be supervised by Probation Services.

Police facts stated that when officers went to the house they could smell cannabis and hear the ‘humming' of fans.

The garage had been heavily modified, with three separate hydroponic growing rooms that held a total of 32 plants and seedlings between 15cm and one metre in height.

An intricate system of water pipes flowed from a modified shower and high quality potting mix was being used on the plants, along with a system of hydroponic lights providing a 16-hour cycle of light using automatic timers.

Shea's lawyer, John Weller, argued she'd had a drug addiction since a teenager and at the time of the offences had been involved with a criminal peer group and was in a violent relationship ‘based on cannabis consumption'.

“It is clear other men were involved,” Mr Weller said.

“She is now moving on with a new chapter in her life past this serious criminal activity and is not mixing with the cannabis criminal associates.”

Mr Weller said Shea had been too frightened to implicate the other men with police.

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