'Some degree of retail' in woman's alleged drug trafficking: court
A mother-of-two seems to have been part of a drug trafficking operation that involved "some degree of retail", a magistrate has said in the wake of a raid on the woman's home in Canberra's inner north.
ACT Policing officers executed a search warrant at Sarah Louise Steel's unit in Turner last Sunday, finding an array of substances suspected to be methamphetamine, heroin, GHB, LSD and cannabis.
The drugs are said to have been kept inside items that included a water bottle, balloons and a vitamin container.
No one was home at the time of the raid and Steel was allegedly "argumentative" with police when they contacted her and asked to come to the unit.
Officers subsequently tracked down the 25-year-old woman in Chisholm on Friday afternoon, when she was arrested and charged with five offences.
These were two counts each of drug trafficking and possession of a prohibited substance, as well as a single charge of possessing a prohibited weapon.
Steel was granted bail on Saturday morning by the ACT Magistrates Court, which heard the weapon in question was a black extendable baton.
Dressed in red after a night in custody, Steel did not enter pleas as she appeared in court from a remote room.
Prosecutor Bwalya Chifuntwe unsuccessfully opposed Steel's release, arguing she was likely to reoffend if granted bail.
Mr Chifuntwe told the court the range of substances found at the 25-year-old's home was concerning.
But Legal Aid duty lawyer Stephanie Corish argued concerns about reoffending were "simply not borne out" on the material before the court, noting Steel had "almost no criminal history".
"Your honour has nothing to suggest she's not going to be able to comply with bail conditions," she told magistrate Glenn Theakston.
Ms Corish also indicated Steel had two young children, whose father was "in custody and looking at being deported".
Mr Theakston ultimately decided to release Steel, warning the 25-year-old she was highly unlikely to get bail again if she was rearrested and charged with another serious offence.
As he did so, the magistrate said police documents tendered to the court did not make clear what quantities of the various substances had been found at Steel's home.
He also said there were question marks about exactly what they were, with only one having been presumptively tested before they were all sent to an analytical laboratory.
Steel is due back in court on June 6.