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Sheriff’s Office: Large cocaine enterprise blown open

By Staff | Apr 25, 2015

A large scale cocaine distribution ring stemming from Puerto Rico to Lee County has been shut down, Lee County Sheriff’s Office officials said Friday.

More than 11 pounds of cocaine, with an estimated street value of $250,000, was seized and two men were arrested, the agency said in a release.

“A routine K9 sniff by interdiction dogs identified a shipment of drugs destined for Cape Coral and Lehigh Acres,” a release issued by the agency states. “U.S. Postal Inspectors were able to secure search warrants for the parcels and a coordinated operation involving the U.S. Postal Service, Lee County Sheriff’s Office and Department of Homeland Security led to the identification of a potential suspect.”

Joint search warrants were served at two residences, one at 623 S.W. 23rd Terrace, Cape Coral and the other at 2804 20th Street SW, Lehigh Acres.

In addition to the powder cocaine, a handgun was seized at the Cape Coral residence as was evidence of drug packaging, weighing and distribution, officials said, adding nearly $14,500 in drug proceeds was also seized for forfeiture.

The investigation revealed that Francisco Manuel Velez Melendez, 38, of 623 SW 23rd Terrace, Cape Coral, was importing the cocaine from Puerto Rico for distribution throughout Lee County, the release states. Invetigators say Alfredo Perez, 38, of 2804 SW 40th Street, Lehigh Acres, was assisting Melendez in receiving cocaine from Puerto Rico at the Lehigh Acres address.

Melendez is charged with trafficking in cocaine over 200 grams; possession of a pirearm by a convicted felon and Possession of drug paraphernalia.

Perez is charged with trafficking in cocaine over 500 grams.

Source: Lee County Sheriff’s Office