Grandmother arrested in alleged custody battle drug plot - New York News

Grandmother arrested in alleged custody battle drug plot

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SanJuanita "Janie" Carbajal SanJuanita "Janie" Carbajal
PHOENIX -

Police say this grandmother sent her 9-year-old granddaughter to school with a baggie of cocaine and told her to say it was her dad's so she could gain full-time custody of the child.

Gilbert police say 58-year-old SanJuanita "Janie" Carbajal was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of child abuse.

Authorities say this summer, Carbajal lost full custody of her granddaughter, who she's raised for 9 years.

Police believe she gave the child several packets containing 4 grams of cocaine and told her to plant them in her father's vehicle.

Carbajal also allegedly told her granddaughter to tell people about the drugs at her elementary school and show one of the baggies to a teacher.

Authorities used a test kit to determine the substance was cocaine.

Police say her intent was to get the girl's father in trouble so he could lose custody.

During questioning, the 9-year-old eventually broke down and told police about her grandmother's plot.

We talked to Carbajal's sister over the phone. She says Carbajal came to the valley from Dallas to visit her granddaughter this week.

"Where would she get the drugs? Janie don't know anybody over there," said Maria Longoria. "We're never done nothing like that, we were brought up right... How can you not see a kid you raised for 9 years? When you raise them for 9 years it's practically your daughter."

We were told Carbajal's daughter is also back in Texas, fighting for custody of the 9-year-old.


In a jailhouse interview with FOX 10, Janie Carbajal said the accusations were outrageous.

"I would not do that."

But Gilbert Police say the 9-year-old told them her grandma gave her the drugs and hatched the plot to frame her dad.

"I feel like there was some intimidation from the father and some coercion that may have made her say things that she would not have said otherwise."

"When we got custody [my granddaughter's dad] said I am happy with you, 100 percent behind you all, fully support you guys raising her. I am in no position to take custody of her."

But earlier this year, her father fought and won custody -- Carbajal admits she wasn't happy about that -- but thought moving to Arizona from Texas to be closer to her granddaughter would help her relationship with the girl's father.

"I thought maybe eventually dad and I could come to terms and he would agree to me babysitting her or at least go to school functions or eat lunch with her."

But the relationship has been strained, and she thinks that is what led to the allegations.

"Now with this I feel like it's just, I've lost all chances of seeing her, just by looking at my paperwork it says I'm not supposed to even have contact with children and that hurts me a lot because I love her."

And even though it was her granddaughter's interview that landed her behind bars, she says she holds no ill will -- and has a message for her.

"I love you, you know how much Mima loves you. I understand why you said what you said."

Carbajal is facing a child abuse count.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press modified.

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