The devoted wife of a drug dealing ‘trophy’ husband was fired from her teaching job after Florida police found the pair were operating an international drug ring from their home.
Now former Lake Worth Middle School special education teacher, Nicole Benjoino, 48, was sentenced Tuesday to 2½ years in federal prison for assisting her fugitive bodybuilding beau, Emerson Benjoino, in the illicit activities from their Wellington residence.
Nicole pleaded guilty last year to possessing illegal drugs with intent to distribute.
Emerson fled back to Brazil following his arrest last June on state charges. He was declared a fugitive from justice as the country does not extradite their citizens, the Sun Sentinel reports.
Investigation revealed Nicole became involved in the ring with her ‘controlling’ husband, who she was ‘obsessed’ with, her defense attorney, Donnie Murrell said in a court statement.
Mugshots of Emerson Benjoino and his wife Nicole Benjoino are shown. The couple ran a drug ring from their Wellington, Florida home
Nicole’s attorney said Emerson seduced Nicole into the illegal activity. She was ‘obsessed’ with Emerson, who the attorney said was ‘controlling’
Nicole was sentenced Tuesday to 2½ years in federal prison Tuesday. Emerson was declared a fugitive from justice in the ongoing federal case
‘She literally became obsessed with him and he seduced her into this conspiracy,’ the attorney said.
Nicole, a former obese woman who lost half her body weight after her first divorce, was willing to do anything for her husband – even if it meant spending time behind bars.
‘To this day, more than 14 years after they met and after years of marital turmoil, Nicole still gushes when describing him,’ Murrell said.
The pair wed back in 2009, and Nicole discovered Emerson had been using steroids and selling them to his pals, the Sentinel reports.
Nicole’s was fired from her job at Lake Worth Middle School in Florida after the drug bust
Nicole is pictured with her children on Facebook back in March 2016
Emerson, a former bus boy, got hooked on the easy money and started selling harder substances.
Nicole’s attorney said the illegal activity was something she participated in to remain with her ‘trophy husband’
Last June, police found 16½ liters of the party drug GBL, or gamma-Butyrolactone, along with 24,000 generic Xanax pills, which were imported from China and sold.
Police also found guns inside the home as well as ‘407,000 in cash and $130,000 interest.’
‘He exploited those things to keep her close to him and bend her to his will,’ Murrell added.
Her buff, Brazilian beau kept the drugs locked in a secret safe that could only be opened with his fingerprint.
‘Nicole Benjoino did not just wake up one day and decide to become part of a drug conspiracy,’ the attorney wrote.
‘Little by little, she was sucked into Emerson’s schemes and became a part of his conspiracy.’
Just in September, Nicole’s $14,000 wedding ring was stolen at The Mall at Wellington Green
‘The illegal activity was something she participated in to remain with her ‘trophy husband.’
Shockingly, in September, Nicole’s $14,000 wedding ring was stolen at The Mall at Wellington Green, according to WPTV.
She had been getting her rings cleaned at the time, when the jeweler suggested she remove her band while washing her hands in the future.
Immediately after the cleaning, Nicole went to a nearby Bath & Body Works where she sampled some soaps, the newspaper reports.
That’s when she removed her ring – something Nicole said she never did before – when she forgot to put it back on and strolled out of the scent shop empty handed.
‘By the time I realized they weren’t on my hands, they were gone,’ Nicole said, sadly.