By Jamie Davis and Virginia Terry

Jennifer Weeks, a Rockbridge County, Va., native and mother of two, says she needed a new refrigerator and stove for her home, but she didn’t have anyone to turn to when she couldn’t afford the $80 she needed for the appliances.

“I asked my mother to borrow the money for that, cause I didn’t have the funds,” the 33-year-old woman says. “We weren’t doing too good financially.”

Her sister, she says, was living in Richmond with her fiancé and two-year-old daughter and wasn’t in a position to help. When her mother could not loan her the money, Weeks says she reached out to her mother’s landlord, a family friend.

The landlord responded with a proposition for Weeks. He wanted crack cocaine for a friend and told Weeks that if she could secure drugs for him that she could make money off the sale, Weeks says.

“I needed the money,” she says. “I clearly wasn’t thinking.”

Weeks says she contacted a friend on Facebook to get the crack the landlord wanted. She learned later that the Aug. 1 deal was orchestrated by a local police drug task force.

“I thought I’d be able to get the money to get the stuff and move in and life will go on,” she says. “I was wrong.”

In October, Weeks pleaded guilty to selling crack cocaine. She is being held in the Rockbridge Regional Jail, awaiting a Feb. 1 sentencing hearing.

Weeks says she is certain she will spend significant time in jail because she was already on probation for a 2009 credit card fraud conviction when she was arrested on the drug charges.

Craig Smith says he tries to provide his fiancé, Jennifer Weeks, with encouragement while she is locked up on drug charges.

While she serves her sentence, Weeks’s children are staying with her mother, brother, and fiancé, Craig Smith.

Weeks says her relations with her extended family have been strained because her fiancé is African American and she has biracial children. She says Smith has been her biggest supporter. They’ve been together for 11 years.

“Ever since I’ve been with my fiancé, I have felt I can turn to him,” she says.

Smith was out of work at the time of Weeks’s arrest, and she says she knows she disappointed him. “He’s not for (this) kind of stuff,” she says.

“But I still support her regardless of what she’s done or is going through,” Smith says.

The hardest part about being locked up, Weeks says, is being away from her children. “I hope I’ll be home to see my daughter graduate … that’s my main goal, to get back home with my kids.”

Weeks had her son, Jamaal, when she was 16 and she dropped out of Rockbridge County High School the following year. Her daughter, Alexis, was born in 2000 after a sexual assault. Her son’s father is also serving time for drug charges in another state.

Pamela Weeks says she is doing her best to help her daughter’s children cope without their mother.

“I know what they’re going through,” she says. “I always give them a kiss and hug them and tell them I love them and that I’m here for them.”

Weeks says she knows she’s made a mistake, but she looks forward to being a mother to her children again.

“I have to learn from that mistake,” she says,  “and become a better mother, better woman, and a better person.”