Woman jailed after years on run from drug charges

Rex Martinich |

A 31-year-old woman has admitted drug trafficking, unlawfully possessing a Taser and ammunition.
A 31-year-old woman has admitted drug trafficking, unlawfully possessing a Taser and ammunition.

A woman who fled interstate for nearly three years after being caught trafficking drugs while on parole has been jailed again.

Emma Leigh Jacqui Mills, 31, pleaded guilty in Brisbane Supreme Court on Tuesday to drug trafficking as well as unlawfully possessing a stun gun and ammunition.

Crown prosecutor Eleni Zambas said Mills had been on parole for a previous conviction for methamphetamine possession in excess of two grams when police at Caboolture near Queensland’s Sunshine Coast raided her home.

“The trafficking occurred between June 24, 2020 and November 24, 2020 … during this time the defendant operated an unsophisticated street-level business in the dangerous drugs methamphetamine, cannabis and MDMA,” Ms Zambas said.

Mills was released without charge following a police interview on November 23, 2020.

Police later determined from messages on Mills’ phone that she supplied 18 customers with a total of 112 grams of cannabis, 10 MDMA pills and 3.5 grams of methamphetamine.

“Police returned to her address the following day and found her unit abandoned and the defendant had left for Tasmania,” Ms Zambas said.

Mills was eventually arrested in Tasmania on September 4, 2023.

Ms Zambas said Mills had been returned to custody in Queensland to serve her prior two-year sentence for drug possession plus an additional 971 days to reflect the time she spent at large in Tasmania after her parole was cancelled.

Defence barrister Lara Soldi said Mills had fled to Tasmania due to threat of domestic violence as a result of the police raid.

“The Taser was given to her by a friend because she was terrified due to domestic violence,” Ms Soldi said.

She said Mills had tried to transfer her parole to be served in Tasmania while she built a new life in that state and was unaware of the arrest warrant for her in Queensland.

“In her mind she had no other choice but to remain in Tasmania … she has been improving her life, shown extraordinary dedication and stopped using drugs,” Ms Soldi said.

Justice Paul Freeburn read from the judge’s sentencing remarks for Mills’ drug possession, which noted her situation was heartbreaking but it was on her shoulders to follow the rules on parole or risk serving her entire sentence behind bars.

Justice Freeburn accepted that Mills was remorseful, had co-operated with police in returning to Queensland and that she was taking part in rehabilitation with plans for a job after release.

“Some leniency is appropriate,” he said.

Mills was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment to be served concurrent with the 971 days once her prior two-year sentence had expired. 

She was declared immediately eligible to apply for parole. 

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