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Teacher by Day, Drug Dealer by Night: The Double Life of a Palm Beach County Teacher

palm beach teacher dealing drugs at night

She did it for love. When a teacher in Palm Beach County was busted for assisting her young, bodybuilder husband with importing illegal substances from China, including a generic form of Xanax and the party drug known as GBL, she said she did it solely to keep him interested.

 

Her defense attorney, Donnie Murrell, told the judge: “She literally became obsessed with him and he seduced her into this conspiracy.

 

“To this day, more than 14 years after they met and after years of marital turmoil, [she] still gushes when describing him.”

 

Murrell described the former special education teacher and grandmother as a victim of steroid-using bodybuilder who was 10 years her junior and described as controlling and manipulative. The attorney said that the former teacher had weighed 300 pounds at the time of her divorce from her first husband, and body image and low self-esteem had long been a vulnerable point for him to prey upon, though she weighs about half that much now, according to court records.

 

Said Murrell: “He exploited those things to keep her close to him and bend her to his will.”

 

It appears that despite the fact that the teacher was merely an assistant in the drug trafficking scheme, she alone will be bearing the brunt of the charges. Her husband fled the country to his native Brazil – a country that does not extradite its citizens to the United States – and lives there with their 10-year-old daughter, leaving her to go through 2.5 years in federal prison on her own.

 

In court paperwork, her attorney wrote: “[She] did not just wake up one day and decide to become part of a drug conspiracy … Little by little, she was sucked into [her husband’s] schemes and became a part of his conspiracy … The illegal activity was something she participated in to remain with her ‘trophy husband.’”

 

The judge seemed to agree. In the context of her life and all the good she did for the children she served in her 25-year career, her choices regarding her husband’s drug business seemed like an “aberration,” except for the fact that she engaged in that “aberration” for years. To make amends for her choices, in addition to the prison sentence, she agreed to also give up the more than $400,000 that was found in the home she shared with her husband, the equity in the house, and the house itself in a plea agreement.

 

He exploited those things to keep her close to him and bend her to his will.

Women, Love, and Drug Charges

 

The former teacher will not be completely alone as she heads to prison. Many of the women that she will be with behind bars will also be there due to choosing to support a boyfriend or husband in drug sales or drug trafficking. Many do so because that is how their significant other makes his money, and rather than lose him, they help him and, in many cases, go to jail in his place to protect him.

 

Unfortunately, in most cases, the men in question do not offer the same loyalty in return. Women who are trapped behind bars often hear very little from the men they gave up everything to protect and/or find that he has moved onto someone else.

 

It is a heartbreaking and sobering scenario that is repeated over and over across age groups and racial lines. For so many women, love is the driving force behind their drug-related offenses and, in many cases, their drug use.

 

Moving On

 

In prison, women often have time to step back and take an objective look at their choices. It is not easy to realize that what you thought was love was actually something harmful and dangerous, but with clarity comes power and the motivation to start making choices that will allow for moving forward healthfully.

 

Though few prisons offer the kind of drug treatment that will sustain someone for the long-term, it is recommended that women who struggled with a drug problem prior to incarceration connect with treatment services upon their release. Even if they have already gone through the detox process and stayed sober for all or most of their sentence, it is important to gain an understanding of addiction that will support the ability to build a new life that has nothing to do with drugs or the men who sell them.