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Woman behind drug gang jailed

Friday, 18th March, 2016

A woman who ran a drug ring in Broken Hill was going to Mildura three times a week to buy methamphetamine, the District Court heard yesterday.

She also bought $5000 worth of the drug in Melbourne and once offered to give an M16 rifle to her dealer there in exchange for some of the money she owed him, Judge Gregory Farmer told the court.

Alina Marie Henderson (33) and five of her accomplices were arrested in January last year after police intercepted their phone calls over a period of a month.

She has been in jail ever since and pleaded guilty to supplying drugs, directing a criminal group and supplying an unregistered rifle.

In sentencing Henderson yesterday, Judge Farmer said she had told police that she had been getting threats about the money she owed and was “glad she had been arrested because someone might have killed her”.

The judge said that although only one firearm had been found, the phone intercepts and Henderson’s own evidence revealed that at least two others had been acquired.  

“There can be little doubt,” he said, “that she was directing others within the group to sell methamphetamine and collect the money, and in the matters relating to the firearms.”

Henderson had admitted to driving to Mildura three times a week for a few grams at a time, he said.

She also said she paid $5000 for 140 grams of it in Melbourne, but the quality was so poor that her customers complained.

Henderson said that she sold methamphetamine to only a couple of regulars, used the rest herself and did not profit from her trafficking. 

When she was arrested she said she owed suppliers $20,000 to $30,000.

Judge Farmer described her evidence as “reliable and accurate”, but said he could not believe that she made no money from her crimes.

“I do not accept that she was supplying about eight grams a week and not making any profit at all,” he said.

But Judge Farmer also described Henderson’s case as “tragic”. He said she had left home at a young age and had been ill-treated by several men over the years before she found love and stability in marriage and regular employment.

But when the marriage floundered, she turned to drugs, lost her job and ended up addicted to methamphetamine, the judge said.

This led to her serious criminal activity, but he said she was genuinely remorseful and that her prospects of rehabilitation were good.

Henderson had also made frank admissions to police and had pleaded guilty at the first opportunity which entitled her to a discount on her sentence.

Judge Farmer jailed her for two years but backdated the sentence to January to last year when she was taken into custody.

This means she will be eligible for release in January next year, after which she must spend another year on parole.

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