Federal prosecutors have added a long list of charges to the original case against of former Lee County Sheriff E.J. Melvin. The U.S. Attorney’s Office today released a 47-count Second Superseding Indictment with various violations of federal law.
The 45-page superseding indictment outlines the details of Melvin’s alleged activities and charges including the following offenses:
1. Operating the affairs of the Lee County Sheriff’s department through a pattern of racketeering, a violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1962(c) (commonly called the RICO statute);
2. Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of powder cocaine and 50 grams or more of crack cocaine;
3. Twenty counts of extorting kickbacks from drug dealers, persons charged with offenses, and persons seeking benefits from the Lee County Sheriff’s Department in return for protection and/or preferential treatment;
4. Converting more than $5,000 in funds designated for victim assistance and services;
5. Three counts of money laundering;
6. Three counts of making false statements to federal and state law enforcement agents; and
7. Seventeen counts of using a telephone to facilitate drug trafficking.
Federal wire taps uncovered a complicated and high-powered drug operation, with Melvin allegedly being heavily involved–including extortion of money from dealers and overseeing drug deliveries.