A woman whose life spun out of control after she became entangled in the area’s drug subculture shortly after moving to Payson was sentenced Monday to 6.5 years in prison for drug-related charges.
Jacqueline Marie Turlukis, 44, said she plans to use the time in prison to become a better person, both for herself and her two children, one of whom no longer speaks to her.
Turlukis explained to probation that she moved to Payson from Florida three years ago after her ex-husband moved here to be near family. She relocated to stay near her now 13-year-old son and 12-year-old daughter.
Once here though, things began to unravel, with “one traumatic event after another,” a probation officer wrote.
Afflicted with a serious physical ailment, she turned to drugs. She lost custody of her children and her boyfriend committed suicide.
She “simply lost the meaning of her life.”
She found relief with other drug users, abusing methamphetamine, heroin and prescription painkillers.
Within nine months, officers had arrested her five times for drug-related crimes. That included an October 2012 arrest for selling heroin from her home.
While officers didn’t find any heroin in the home, they found tinfoil with heroin residue, a scale, tooter straw and other paraphernalia, according to a police report. Turlukis said she had sold all her drugs the night before to make enough money to maintain housing for her children.
In January 2013, the Gila County Sheriff’s Office arrested Turlukis after she was found in a vehicle with two grams of heroin. She tested positive for meth and opiates. Also that month, Turlukis was convicted of possessing a forgery device in Maricopa County Superior Court, her first felony conviction.
And finally, while in jail in July, guards discovered Turlukis and three other female inmates had used meth while in custody. One woman reportedly smuggled the drug in when she was transferred to the Globe jail. She passed around $40 worth of the drug.
Turlukis owned up to each crime Monday and said she was sorry.
“I am now currently in NA (Narcotics Anonymous) and will continue to live a sober life upon my release from prison so that I can be there for my children,” she wrote the judge.
“I feel badly that I am going to miss a large portion of their lives because of my mistakes.”
Gila County Superior Court Judge Peter Cahill sentenced Turlukis to 6.5 years in prison for attempted possession of prison contraband, 2.5 years for using meth and 30 days in jail for possessing paraphernalia. The sentences will run concurrent.