Mother's downward spiral triggered by drug use

IT was early morning when police spotted a car parked at a Goodna service station.

A group of people were inside and a police hunch to search a woman's handbag paid off when ice and marijuana was found.

An Ipswich court heard police went to a blue Holden Commodore parked at the service station with its engine idling and spoke to its occupants.

A female passenger, Wendy Ella Nocente, 40, from Gailes, this week pleaded guilty to two charges of being in possession of dangerous drugs; and having property suspected of being used in a drug offence.

Prosecutor Senior Constable Carl Spargo told Ipswich Magistrates Court it was 6.15am on Saturday, May 25, when police officers from the Tactical Crime Squad noticed the Holden parked at BP Goodna.

Nocente, who was a passenger in the car, had a cream-coloured handbag at her feet.

Sen-Const Spargo said there was a black zipper bag inside the handbag which contained a case with a clip seal bag holding 1.32g of marijuana.

Another clip seal bag held 2.6g of a crystal substance. The court heard more clip seal bags were found.

Sen-Const Spargo said Nocente did not deny the drugs were hers.

Defence lawyer Alexis Oxley said Nocente was a mother of two adult children and a younger child.

She had a strong work history but was receiving Centrelink benefits at the moment.

Ms Oxley said her criminal history involving drugs began only in 2013.

She had taken steps towards rehabilitation but suffered relapses and "accepted she slipped up". Ms Oxley said this was not uncommon for people with substance issues.

Magistrate Virginia Sturgess said Nocente had previously been given the benefit of drug diversion and probation, and it was unfortunate substance misuse had apparently taken over her life.

"It is a shame as you were clearly leading a productive life until getting involved in drugs," Ms Sturgess said.

Nocente was sentenced to four months' jail on each of the drug possession offences, and one month on the third charge.

The jail terns were suspended for 18 months, with Ms Sturgess saying she hopes this will act as an incentive and motivate her to get off drugs.