Newcastle mum avoids jail for smuggling drugs into prison hidden in puzzles and a painting

Charmaine Orange has been given a suspended prison sentence for smuggling drugs into prison in puzzles and in a painting. Credit: NCJ MEDIA

A mum-of-two has been sentenced for posting drugs to her partner in prison by hiding them in puzzles and a painting.

Charmaine Orange sent various substances to Dean Wright by concealing them in jigsaw and matchstick puzzles, as well as mixing them with paint, when the rules on loved ones posting items to prisoners were relaxed during Covid.

Newcastle Crown Court also heard her bank account was used to receive around £17,000 worth of payments as her then-boyfriend Wright was using it to receive payments from his dealing empire inside HMP Northumberland.

However, she was spared an immediate spell behind bars when the judge was told the relationship with Wright was a controlling one.

Charmaine Orange tried to smuggled drugs into prison via a matchsticks puzzle. Credit: NCJ MEDIA

Orange pleaded guilty to supplying buprenorphine, diazepam and a psychoactive substance - flualprazolam.

She was sentenced to nine months suspended for 12 months with a one-month curfew between 8pm and 6pm. She faces proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Liam O'Brien, prosecuting, said the drug supply offences happened in April and May 2020. He told the court: "She did so in a couple of different ways.

"During lockdown, the prison changed the rules so family members could send things like puzzles and jigsaws. On one occasion the defendant sent a matchbox puzzle containing drugs and another time a jigsaw had drugs hidden in it.

"There was also a painting with paint which had drugs mixed with it. Another time, blue powder was put in a bag and hidden between two pieces of paper. It leaked and went all over the post and the whole of the prison post had to be binned as it was contaminated."

Charmaine Orange also tried to sent drugs into prison in a jigsaw puzzle. Credit: NCJ MEDIA

Orange, of Walling Road, Blakelaw, Newcastle was traced as the sender as her bank card had been used for postage.

Jamie Adams, defending, stressed the controlling nature of Orange's relationship with Wright. She had sought to break up with him but he wrote what appeared to be a suicide note, blaming her and branding her a "murderer".

Mr Adams said: said: "This woman was leading a very hard-working lifestyle and had two children to look after. She met Dean Wright and he was not physically abusive but intensely emotionally abusive. That's what brought her to this offending.

"She accepts there are monies that have gone into her account which had emanated from drugs she sent in to him when he was in custody. He was clearly making some profit out of what was sent in. He was giving people her bank details. She was not profiting from it at all."

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