The wife of the drug lord immortalised in the film American Gangster has been locked up for five years for plotting to sell cocaine. Former beauty queen Julianna Farrait-Rodriguez, 65, is married to Frank Lucas, who made millions peddling heroin in New York City in the 1960s.
She was sentenced to five years in a New York court on Tuesday for trying to sell cocaine to a government informant in Puerto Rico in May 2010.
The judge in the Manhattan federal court ignored Farrait-Rodriguez’s pleas for a lenient sentence so she could take care of her ill husband.
Farrait-Rodriguez appeared disheveled as she told the judge: ‘I am ashamed that at my age I am standing in front of you.’
She added, as reported in the New York Post: ‘My husband is 81 years old and I would like to spend what time he has with him.’
Judge Laura Taylor Swain said: ‘I see that you want to make choices that are better for yourself and your family.’
She urged Farrait-Rodriguez ‘to have a vision of a lawful, happy life’.
Farrait-Rodriguez who inspired the character Eva in the 2007 Oscar-nominated Denzel Washington film American Gangster.
Washington played Lucas, the organised crime boss who married the Puerto Rican beauty queen after meeting her in a nightclub.
Lucas’s drug-dealing operation collapsed in 1975 after he was arrested at his home and sentenced to 40 years in prison. He was released in 1991.
Farrait-Rodriguez was also handed down a five-year prison sentence at the time. The couple lived separately after he left prison but reportedly reconciled in 2006.
She was arrested in May 2010 after trying to sell cocaine to an informant in a hotel room in Isla Verde Carolina, Puerto Rico.
In a recorded conversation, Farrait allegedly said she had two kilograms of cocaine and that another suspect had an extra eight kilograms for buyers.
Agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration entered the room and arrested her, according to the criminal complaint.
‘Like in the movie American Gangster, Frank Lucas was known to have made millions of dollars peddling heroin throughout the streets of New York City,’ said DEA Special Agent in Charge John Gilbride at the time.
‘His wife has taken up his role by trying to sell two kilograms of cocaine in Puerto Rico with the goal of sending them to be sold on the New York City streets.’
Farrait-Rodriguez once told a newspaper she was attracted to danger. She added that she missed trips and owning diamonds and luxury cars.
‘Those who say that money is not important are lying,’ she said. ‘People say that money does not buy happiness. It doesn’t?’