Cocaine provided the relief a young mother sought when she was left alone to raise three children, including one with special needs.
In Red Deer provincial court on Friday, Llana Holt told Judge John Holmes that a year in jail, with more time still to serve, has provided the incentive she needs to fight off her addiction and reunite with her young family.
Now 35, Holt was arrested late in 2012 by members of the Red Deer City RCMP Street Team, who had been watching a stream of people going in and out of the house where she and her children lived on the main floor. People stayed for very short visits, consistent with a drug trafficking operation, said Crown prosecutor David Inglis in his submissions to the court.
Investigators got a search warrant and raided the house on Dec. 3, 2012, seizing assorted packages of drugs totalling 19 grams of cocaine, 5.6 grams of heroin, 17 grams of marijuana, cannabis resin, 25 oxycontin tablets and an assortment of unidentified prescription drugs, said Inglis.
Portions of cocaine were found in a safe to which Holt had the key and under a cushion on her couch.
They also found a .38-calibre revolver, which they did not connect directly to Holt.
Investigators allege that a dealer who lived in the basement had enlisted Holt to help him sort and package his drugs in exchange for cocaine.
He was in the house at the time of the raid, as were Holt and her mother, who was helping with the children.
The youngest of the children, seven and nine, were also at home, while a 12-year-old was in school, said Inglis.
Scheduled to stand trial on Friday, Holt pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine for trafficking and to a second charge of simple possession of cocaine, laid early in 2013 while she was on release from the initial charges.
Inglis joined defence counsel Brad Mulder in seeking a global sentence of two years in jail, with 18 months credit for the time she had served in custody since her initial arrest.
Holt was granted release on $10,000 cash bail after her second arrest, but remained in remand because she was unable to come up with the money.
Pointing out that Holt’s actions put her children in danger, Inglis said the court should not necessarily consider that to be an aggravating factor in sentencing.
“This accused was a serious drug addict at the time, and drug addicts do crazy things from time to time,” he said.
Originally from Prince Albert, Sask., Holt met the father of her three children at the age of 19, when she moved to Red Deer, said Mulder.
She turned to cocaine when their relationship failed and she found herself unable to cope with the pressures of being a single mother.
The children now live with their father and the parents have agreed to shared custody once she has been released from jail, said Mulder.
Now that she is clean, Holt recognizes the affect her addiction had on her children, he said.
“It has been a huge wakeup call to her and the children, to have been away from them for so long.”
Holt has been taking all of the counselling and treatment available in remand and will continue to work on staying clean once she has been released, said Mulder.
Holmes accepted the sentencing recommendation proposed by Mulder and Inglis, including a 10-year weapons prohibition and an order that she provide a sample of her DNA for the national database.
Suspect Rudy Christianson, 34, alleged to be the drug dealer supplying cocaine to Holt, was charged with drug and weapons in connection with the December 2012 bust. He was released on an undertaking and did not appear for his first court date. Christianson is wanted on outstanding warrants.