Woman avoids jail for twice selling drugs to undercover officer

Ipswich crown court with road sign

Samantha Nash was sentenced at Ipswich Crown Court - Credit: Archant

A woman has avoided going straight to prison for selling drugs to an undercover police officer on two occasions in as many days.

Samantha Nash was handed a suspended prison sentence at Ipswich Crown Court on Wednesday for twice dealing crack cocaine and heroin to the covert operative. 

The 48-year-old had earlier admitted four counts of supplying a class A drug on the streets of Bury St Edmunds.

Two other defendants had previously been handed suspended sentences for their involvement in the same enterprise. 

Prosecutor David Wilson said the offences took place on April 24 and 25, 2019, following the launch of a police operation to tackle county lines drug supply a month earlier. 

"It involved undercover officers looking into a dealer group known as Sammy, or Sam, in Bury St Edmunds," Mr Wilson told the court.

Contact was made with a mobile phone number linked to the group after police received information that drugs were being dealt on the Howard estate, the court heard.

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On the afternoon of April 24, Nash met an undercover officer and produced individual wraps of heroin and crack cocaine from inside her mouth.

The following day, the same officer received a text message, from the same number, advertising drugs for sale.

Again, the officer met Nash in the area of St Olaves shopping precinct and exchanged £20 for two wraps containing just under 0.2g of heroin and crack cocaine.

Mr Wilson said Nash, of Springfield Road, Bury St Edmunds, had been operating in a lesser role, under the direction of others, and that, during their second interaction, had told the undercover officer she "wanted to get out of selling these sorts of drugs".

Steven Dyble, mitigating, said Nash was currently on a reduced methadone prescription to control her own drug habit and that rehabilitation appeared a realistic prospect.

Judge Martyn Levett told the court he had visited substance misuse service Turning Point the previous evening and had witnessed its work to help people with a genuine desire to overcome addiction.

"It's a critical function they perform, bearing in mind it's an organisation that has skills and experts who understand the needs of people who are beginning to make decisions in their lives," he added.

"I'm impressed by what I've been told by Samantha Nash about her desire to continue with Turning Point, and her unstinting commitment towards going there."

Judge Levett handed Nash a 16-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, with 15 days' rehabilitation activity requirement and an 18-month drug rehabilitation requirement.

In January, for their parts in the operation, Kevin Merry, 43, of Marine Parade, Gorleston, and Thomas Workman, 29, of Canons Walk, Thetford, were sentenced to 21 months imprisonment, suspended for two years, with a 12-month drug rehabilitation requirement and 25 rehabilitation activity days.