By Ganga Nair
SACRAMENTO, CA – In a case heard here this week in Sacramento County Superior Court, a defendant was confronted with drug charges, which she may not have been selling—however, the troublesome charge involves child endangerment because her three children were allegedly exposed to the drugs.
Sara Andrew faces charges of child endangerment, possession of methamphetamine and unlawfully selling or giving away methamphetamine.
The first witness called on by Deputy District Attorney Jordan Avey was Officer Alexandra Loris of the Roseville Police Department, who had spoken to an informant before surveilling the defendant’s home on suspicion of drug usage and selling.
This surveillance culminated in a search of the defendant’s residence on April 29, 2020. The defendant, along with her three children, aged 6, 8, and 14 years old lived in the Citrus Heights home.
The backyard was described as equally mismanaged, with the grass growing “one to two feet tall” and miscellaneous tools laying around. Officer Loris stated she deemed the tools to be dangerous to the children, as they were easily accessible.
Loris then searched the bedrooms in the house, starting with the defendant’s bedroom. Upon entry, Loris found methamphetamine scattered in plastic bags and jars. Empty plastic baggies were found around the room, along with a scale.
Methamphetamine was also found in a cabinet underneath the bed, in a cup. The methamphetamine was deemed to be accessible to the children, as the cupboard was unlocked and underneath the bed.
The officer said there was more methamphetamine in a spare bedroom, where the officer then continued her search. She found methamphetamine in the makeup bag of Andrew’ purse, along with butane lighters and smoking paraphernalia. The spare bedroom was just as accessible for the children as her bedroom, she said.
The officer stated that the defendant admitted all the methamphetamine belonged to her, and that she was aware it was dangerous to possess the drugs around children, but noted to Loris, “When she used, she went into her room, shut the door and her children knew not to enter.”
As she was collecting the drugs, Loris recalled the defendant’s youngest child being very upset, stating that “we couldn’t take it because his mother needed it” or else she would die.”
Assistant Public Defender Raymond Thompson cross-examined Officer Loris, beginning with her surveillance of the defendant’s home. When asked if she saw any transactions taking place or any people entering and leaving the household during her surveillance, Loris said no, she only saw Andrew with her children.
Thompson then shifted to the events of April 29, 2020, highlighting that no sums of cash were found during Loris’ search of the house. He noted that if the defendant been selling the methamphetamine which, according to Officer Loris, could run for up to $120 an ounce, she would have sums of money around.
Thompson asked Loris to recall what the defendant said about how often she uses methamphetamine.
Loris responded saying that Andrew told her she smoked “when life gets stressful” but Loris did not know an exact number of times. Officer Loris then stated that Andrew said she was about to use methamphetamine, which was why the smoking pipe and bong were lying around.
Thompson noted that the cabinet underneath Andrew’ bed had a locking mechanism, and was simply open when Loris conducted her search—suggesting it was because, as the defendant told the officer, she was about to smoke the drugs.
Judge Donald J. Courier concluded that there was sufficient evidence to presume Andrew guilty of two drug felonies, and one child endangerment misdemeanor. Her trial date is set for Sept. 27.