A mother of two young children who helped her patched gang member husband store an estimated $1.8 million worth of methamphetamine in the garage of their Auckland home has been sentenced to one year of home detention.
Alvina Chalmers and spouse Ibrahim Yousef were among 21 people arrested in 2019 following a months-long nationwide police investigation into methamphetamine distribution and money laundering called Operation Maddale.
Yousef, a formerly patched Comancheros member who said he was attracted to the “glamour” of the gang but then treated like a “doormat”, was sentenced to nearly six years’ prison in February.
Name suppression for both of them lifted today.
Chalmers was sentenced for one count of possessing methamphetamine for supply.
Crown prosecutor Frances Gourlay dropped a money laundering charge and a cannabis supply charge at the start of the sentencing hearing at Auckland District Court, but she noted that the defendant didn’t appear to be especially remorseful.
Judge Kathryn Maxwell, however, disagreed.
Maxwell asked for the dates of birth of her two children after defence lawyer Lorraine Smith suggested it wouldn’t be in the public interest to deprive two young children of their mother. The younger child turned 3 last week, while his older brother is 5.
“You don’t strike me as someone who will ever show up in court again,” the judge said, pointing out that Chalmers had no previous criminal history and wasn’t involved with the gang herself.
The couple’s Mt Roskill home was among the properties raided in Auckland, Canterbury and Southland as the 10-month Operation Maddale investigation culminated in August 2019. In their garage, police found two supermarket chiller bags, each filled with five 1kg blocks of methamphetamine.
Yousef, who de-patched from the gang in 2019 due to “personal differences”, was found earlier this year to have been working under the direction of those higher up in the gang.
The court heard today that communications between the couple were intercepted by police in which Yousef told Chalmers someone would stop by their home and she was to give the person the key to their garage so that he could put “product” there.
Judge Maxwell pointed out that Chalmers met Yousef when she was 16 and converted to Islam after marrying him when she was 20. When they moved to the Mt Roskill home in 2019 her husband’s behaviour started “spiralling out of control”, Chalmers said, according to a pre-sentencing report.
“You were dependent on him as you were unable to workdue to the commitment you had to your children,” the judge noted, adding that the relationship “seemed to be toxic at some level”.
“You were fearful for yourself and your children. You were also under the pressure of meeting the expectations of your new religion – of what a good Muslim wife should be.”
Authorities have previously said that Operation Maddale resulted in the total seizure of 20kg of methamphetamine, with an estimated street value of more than $12 million.
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