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Woman avoids jail for role in failed plot to import cannabis from LA


Beattie was put on probation and ordered to do community service.

Beattie was put on probation and ordered to do community service.

Beattie was put on probation and ordered to do community service.

A Belfast woman “preyed upon” to take part in a bid to import drugs sent from Los Angeles has avoided prison.

Ashley Beattie was sentenced to probation and community service for her role in the foiled transatlantic plot to post a consignment of cannabis.

The 36-year-old, of Mount Vernon Park, was arrested after police in Northern Ireland were alerted last October.

Belfast Magistrates’ Court heard UK Border Force officials had intercepted packaging addressed to Beattie which contained 870g of herbal cannabis.

Prosecution counsel Iryna Kennedy said: “It was sent from an address in Los Angeles.”

Follow-up searches at an address linked to Beattie uncovered small quantities of cannabis and diazepam for personal use.

“She said that she had agreed to accept the postal order of cannabis from a third party in America and pass it on to someone in return for some drugs.”

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Beattie faced charges of importing, possessing and attempting to possess a Class B drug.

District Judge Mark McGarrity was told she had made admissions in a case related to her own addiction to illicit substances.

Passing sentence, Mr McGarrity disclosed that he had considered imposing an immediate prison term due to the seriousness of the offences.

But he held: “I consider her culpability to be impaired as a consequence of (her own addiction) and because more nefarious individuals have preyed upon her.

“That’s why she has become involved in this offending.”

Beattie was instead put on probation for 18 months and ordered to carry out 100 hours community service. 

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