Raw video: Grandmother denies giving cocaine to granddaughter

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
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 Carbajal, 58, is accused of child abuse.

Carbajal, 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.

"It's been like a nightmare," Carbajal told 3TV during a jailhouse interview Thursday night. 

"I could not believe what was going on, what was happening, the allegations..so absurd," she said of her arrest.

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 Carbajal said she did not give drugs to her granddaughter.

"I did not give her any drugs," said Carbajal. "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 Carbajal referring to her granddaughter and the fact that she lives in Texas.

Investigators determined Carbajal 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.

Carbajal 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 Carbajal. "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." 

According to initial police documents, the child changed her story several times during questioning.  However in a followup report, police say the child "admitted receiving the baggies of durgs from her Grandmother," during an interview.
Carbajal told 3TV she's worried for her granddaughter and scared for herself.

"I don't know how I'm going to get my name cleared.  I need to get my name cleared because none of this is true."