Mum sold cannabis to undercover cop

By Kristin Edge

A teenage mum who sold cannabis from a Whangarei house and was busted in an undercover police operation has been sentenced to home detention.

Nineteen-year-old Toni Marie Keegan, now 12 weeks pregnant with her second child, appeared in the High Court at Whangarei on Tuesday for sentencing after admitting five charges of selling cannabis and four charges of offering to sell cannabis.

The drug dealing was discovered during a covert police operation.

Justice Rodney Hansen said an undercover police officer went to a Whangarei house in April and May this year and purchased a cannabis tinnie for $20.

He later returned to the house and bought an ounce of cannabis.

Other charges were the result of police intercepting text messages on Keegan's cellphone which included offering to supply an ounce of cannabis on May 7.

When the police operation terminated at Keegan's house which she shared with her partner and her then 1-year-old baby, a small amount of cannabis was found with a bong used for smoking cannabis.

She told police at the time she had sold the cannabis for a supplier so she could pay rent arrears. The total amount she sold was just over $1000.

Justice Hansen said Keegan's childhood had been disrupted and abusive.

"Child Youth and Family intervened and you were placed with your mother's half-sister. That turned out totally unsatisfactory because she was a methamphetamine user.

"It's not at all surprising you should have ended up in the position you are in."

But he was impressed with Keegan, saying:"You have shown real signs of wanting to make the changes that are needed.

"You have a baby to look after and another one on the way. It's very important that you provide them with the nurturing and protection that you didn't have throughout your childhood.

"There is a strong indication that you want to make changes that are necessary to live a fulfilling life and be a good, caring parent for the children."

He said mitigating factors included her age and that she was a first-time offender. Before sending her out of the court room, he said: "I wish you all the best, Ms Keegan."

- Northern Advocate

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