FORT MYERS, Fla. Members of the Fort Myers Police Department and at least one Lee County Sheriff’s Office deputy are implicated in corruption allegations.
An audit released in February detailed findings and recommendations outlined by Freeh Group International Solutions, LLC., a Delaware-based risk management firm hired by the city to review the Fort Myers Police Department.
Newly released documents from the Freeh report titled “Appendix A” and “Appendix B” reference corruption, foul internal affairs investigations, a drug trafficking ring operating with near impunity and even killing witnesses, according to the News-Press.
A letter from Acting United States Attorney W. Stephen Muldrow confirmed an active investigation:
The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida in conjunction with federal law enforcement agencies are conducting an active and ongoing criminal investigation concerning the criminal intelligence information provided by those appendices.
To view the entire letter, click here.
The News-Press obtained the documents Thursday evening after a long battle of nearly eight months with the Department of Justice.
“I think this is the beginning of another phase of restoring transparency and trust to our citizens and I support that,” Fort Myers Councilman Johnny W. Streets, Jr. said.
Although the documents are heavily redacted, key phrases explain the corruption within the FMPD and LCSO:
“Reported that … officers leaked information,” Appendix A says. “A potential witness … was murdered … officer … leaked information.”
“During this period of time … directed … to murder … was subsequently murdered,” Appendix B states between blacked-out phrases.
Appendix B also refers to at least one LCSO deputy.
“It was reported that … sell narcotics under the protection of a deputy … ” Appendix B says. “Reported that the deputy allowed… to use an LCSO vehicle to transport the narcotics.”
The following paragraph in Appendix B again suggests an arranged murder.
“Reported … that … was being protected by a supervisor within FMPD,” Appendix B says. “Ordered a hit … Victor Johnson … hired … by … to kill … Johnson … was murdered.”
Fort Myers Mayor Randall Henderson believes these new documents highlight the importance of the Department of Justice’s investigation into the department.
“The Freeh report was critical of law enforcement’s ability to get through prosecution and do things correctly and we don’t want to violate that,” Henderson said.
While the FMPD declined to comment, LCSO issued the following statement in response to the documents:
At this time, we have no knowledge or reason to believe that any deputy is under investigation for anything related to the matters encompassed by the Freeh Report.
It is unclear when the investigation will be over.
“Don’t rush to judge, let the justice system play out. I hope justice is done, But if it’s not, we need to speak up,” Streets said.