PD: Grandmother gave cocaine to granddaughter in custody plot

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

GILBERT, Ariz. -- A grandmother was arrested Wednesday for allegedly giving her 9-year-old granddaughter cocaine as part of a plot to get custody of the child, according to police.

SanJuanita Carabajal, 58, is accused of child abuse.

Carabajal, who has limited custody of the child, allegedly gave drugs to the girl with the intent of getting the child’s father arrested. That would allow Carbajal to get full custody of her granddaughter.

On Monday, officials from Pioneer Elementary School contacted police when they became suspicious that a student was in possession of illegal drugs.

A field test by a school resource officer indicated the substance was cocaine.

In an interview from the jail on Thursday Carabajal said she did not give drugs to her granddaughter.

"I did not give her any drugs," said Carabajal. "I don't have access to drugs. I've never been around drugs. I wouldn't even know where to begin to find drugs."

"Honestly, I'm feeling like I've been set up so that I would not be here in the area and spend more time with her," said Carabajal referring to her granddaughter and the fact that she lives in Texas.

Investigators determined Carabajal gave several small packets of drugs to her granddaughter with specific instructions on where to place them in the father’s vehicle. The child was then supposed to show one packet of cocaine to her teacher say it came from her father.

Carabajal was booked into the Maricopa County Jail on one count of child abuse for placing a minor in significant danger by giving her narcotics.

"She does need to have a relationship with both parents and myself," said Carabajal. "She had lived with me and been raised by husband and myself all her life I don't think it's right for a child to be plucked from everything she's always known like she's some puppy that can just be reestablished somewhere else where she knows no one." 

Raw video: Grandmother denies giving cocaine to granddaughter