Natalie Schmitz, 35, pictured outside Manchester Crown Court, was handed an 18-month jail sentence, suspended for 18 months after she admitted possessing drugs with intent to supply from her home in Manchester
A former model set up a cocaine trafficking racket to fund a drugs binge she embarked on following a break up with her boyfriend.
Natalie Schmitz, 35, peddled the Class A drug along with ketamine from her home when she got into severe debt with her dealer.
Police raided her property in Withington, Manchester and found a customer list plus snap bags and scales to weigh the drugs and a quantity of Ecstasy and cannabis for her own use.
One addict looking to buy drugs was arrested when he turned up at the house as officers were carrying out a search.
Manchester Crown Court heard Schmitz had been dealing drugs for six weeks. She told police: ‘I cannot believe how I was so stupid.’
The bust occurred at 8pm on December 19 2018 after police got a tip off drugs were being sold from Schmitz’ home.
Prosecutor Gavin Howie said: ‘She was asked whether there was anything illegal at the property and she said there were drugs in the kitchen alongside cash in a container in the lounge.
‘She was arrested for drug dealing and money laundering. She said she could not believe how she was so stupid. After a search other items were found including snap bags of cannabis, money and jottings suggesting lists of customers.
‘Snap bags with white powder inside, scales and residue suggesting cutting had been going on were also found. She said she had been dealing for about six weeks as she had got herself into debt. There was clearly an element of financial gain.
Scmitz, pictured, was ordered to abide by a 10pm-6am curfew for three months following her conviction at Manchester Crown Court
Manchester Crown Court heard Schmitz had a previous conviction for assaulting a police officer who had arrested her in 2019 on suspicion of drink driving
The court heard Schmitz, pictured, worked in the music industry and agreed to deal drugs to pay of a debt to her own dealer
‘When officers were at the address a man attended. The officers were in plain clothes and he said he was there to buy drugs so he was arrested and a small snap bag was found on him.
In total 4.7g of skunk cannabis, 0.8g of MDMA, 15.8g of 84 per cent purity cocaine, 26 bags of ketamine and £3,335 were found. Some of the MDMA tablets had a teddy bear design. The value of the drugs was estimated at between £2,148 to £2,828.
Schmitz who had been working in the live music industry before becoming a customer services officer admitted possessing of cocaine and ketamine with intent to supply, being possession of cannabis and MDMA and having criminal property. She had another 2019 conviction for assaulting a police officer who had stopped her on suspicion of drink driving.
In mitigation defence counsel Michael Johnson said: ‘She is clearly remorseful and regrets her action and she has been frank with her employer about this offence.
‘She had been involved in street supply for six weeks as she was in a very bad place emotionally and was unhappy with her life. She had come out of a long relationship and had financial problems as she works seasonally in the live music industry which was winding down for winter.
Recorder Michael Maher said Schmitz, pictured, was a ‘very trusted individual’ in the ‘cash-rich cottage industry
‘The end of the relationship caused her drug use to escalate as she was isolated and unhappy and she turned to drugs to get her through the days. She decided to deal to pay off debt to her dealer and this was a decision that has caused her two and a half years of turmoil. It has almost ruined her life.
‘She has shown insight and recognises drug dealing is a nasty business which effects people’s lives. This has made it harder for her to come to terms with the lifestyle she led.
‘Since the pandemic stopped her working in events she found herself a job in customer support for a company that sell plastic-free cosmetics. They say she is a pleasant, engaging and well thought of member of their team.’
Schmitz was sentenced to 18 months jail suspended for 18 months and was ordered to abide by a 10pm-6am curfew for three months.
Sentencing the judge Mr Recorder Michael Maher said: ‘This was an active house with evidence of bookkeeping and snap bags for the Ketamine and cocaine, ready for distribution. There was evidence of chemicals that are used to deliberately cut drugs and there was £3,335 in cash in a hiding place.
‘You said you couldn’t believe you had been so stupid when arrested by police. In my judgement, this was a cash-rich cottage industry with modest preparation and you were plainly a very trusted individual.
‘You have indicated through your counsel that you have genuine remorse, and I believe that. In fact you have shown a determination and demonstration of steps to address your addiction and turn your life around.
‘The courts punish those who peddle misery and you have peddled this misery. Drugs destroy lives and destroy communities. But you have a stable job, employers that speak highly of you. You are driven and determined. You are expected to go even further, with your recent enrollment at the University of Suffolk. I will suspend the sentence of imprisonment.’
Schmitz now faces a Proceeds of Crime hearing.