Drug trafficker out on parole after 'impressive' rehab

A BUNDABERG woman who helped traffic drugs for her jailed friend can thank 10 months in rehab for keeping her out of jail.

After pleading guilty in Brisbane Supreme Court on Monday to trafficking, possessing and supplying dangerous drugs, Rachel Marie Thomas, 36, was on Tuesday sentenced to three years jail but released immediately on parole.

Justice Martin Burns said Thomas was "vulnerable" when she met Richard Andrew Wark - a man 20 years older than her.

They became friends and moved in together - but were not partners or in a sexual relationship. Thomas came to believe Wark was the only person who cared for her.

When Wark was jailed for drug trafficking operation in August 2011 - he convinced Thomas and three others to continue his operation while he was behind bars.

Thomas - who had been addicted to drugs since she was a teenager and on the methadone program for 17 years - picked up drugs from Brisbane, paid for them with money Wark had stashed, and drove them back to Bundaberg.

She was given a small amount of the drugs for her role.

When Justice Burns asked Thomas if she had anything to say she nervously stood up and shook her head.

"What do you want me to say?" she asked before shaking her head, muttering "No" and sitting down.

The court heard she had spent 10 months in a Salvation Army rehab centre and was in remission from her addiction.

Justice Burns said it was a "somewhat unusual case" and said Thomas's efforts to rehabilitate herself were "impressive".

"You were a very vulnerable individual who was used by a man for his own ends whilst he was in custody," he said.

"You had, I think, a fairly limited role in the assistance you provided."

She was sentenced to three years jail, and released on parole immediately.



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