70-year-old wife of ‘American Gangster’ caught selling cocaine

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) - The wife of a 1970s heroin dealer who inspired the movie "American Gangster" has been arrested...

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SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — The wife of a 1970s heroin dealer who inspired the movie “American Gangster” has been arrested after officials said she tried to sell 2 kilograms (4 pounds) of cocaine at a hotel in Puerto Rico.

Julianna Farrait, 70, appeared Thursday in court and did not say anything except to request that the judge speak to her in Spanish. A judge will decide whether to grant her bail at an upcoming hearing.

Farrait had not yet been assigned an attorney from the public defender’s office. She is charged with conspiracy to violate narcotics law, and has not yet entered a plea.

Farrait is married to Frank Lucas, the infamous Harlem heroin dealer who was arrested in January 1975 at his New Jersey home, where police seized more than half a million dollars. Lucas was convicted that year and sentenced to 40 years in prison. He was released in 1991.

Farrait served five years in that case.

Lucas was played by actor Denzel Washington in the 2007 film by Ridley Scott. Farrait was played by Puerto Rican actress Lymari Nadal, who is married to actor Edward James Olmos.

In a recorded conversation on May 11, Farrait allegedly told an informant she had two kilograms (4 pounds) of cocaine in Puerto Rico and that another suspect had an additional eight kilograms (18 pounds) for buyers, according to the complaint.

On May 19, Farrait allegedly met with an informant at a hotel room in the Isla Verde and unveiled the drugs. Agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration then entered the room and arrested her, the complaint stated.

Federal agents in New York had been following Farrait since February 2009 with help from an informant, according to the complaint.

In a May 2008 interview with local newspaper Primera Hora, Farrait was quoted as saying that she was always attracted to danger.

She told the newspaper that she left Puerto Rico in 1969 for New York, where she met Lucas at a nightclub. She said she did not find out about his drug deals until a year later, and that she left him one time after fighting about it.

Farrait also said she missed taking trips and having diamonds and a Mercedes Benz.

“Those who say that money is not important are lying,” she was quoted as saying. “People say that money does not buy happiness. It doesn’t?”

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.