Sophia Bailey had lost her job and so started selling heroin and crack cocaine to pay for her kids to continue their education at a top school back in her native Jamaica.
Gloucester Crown court heard that the 40-year-old was arrested following a raid on her home on January 10 where officers found 75 grams of crack cocaine hidden in a Cadbury's hot chocolate tin, along with 38.6 grams of heroin.
Electronic scales, cling film and latex gloves were also found.
She pleaded guilty to possessing heroin with intent to supply in January and admitted to also possessing crack cocaine.
Bailey, who allegedly absconded from the UK Border Agency in 2008, also pleaded guilty to removing the proceeds of crime, which amounted to £7,920, from the UK by transferring it to Jamaica between January 1, 2011 and January 10, 2013.
She also admitted to possession of £1,500, which she knew represented the proceeds of crime. Her lawyer, Lloyd Jenkins, defending, said her life had 'fallen into the doldrums' when she lost her job in December 2010.
He claimed she had been in the UK since 2006 and was the carer for her elderly uncle, now 86.
"She had turned to drug dealing because she wanted to continue to support her uncle and also her parents, who are in poor health" said Mr Jenkins.
"She also has two children, now aged 18 and 20, who had very expensive school fees."
Jailing her for three and a half years, Judge William Hart, said: "You are a Jamaican national and of previous good character. Quite why you chose at the age of 38 and with no previous convictions to get involved in this only you can know."
The judge also expressed that he 'fondly hoped' she would be deported on release.