A former Lee County Sheriff’s Office deputy is under investigation, charged with briefing members of a large-scale drug trafficking organization who were arrested in May.
Deputy First Class Jasmine Lee, who has since resigned, is charged with unlawful conduct, imparting criminal information, association with criminals and conduct unbecoming an officer, according to an investigation report into the internal affairs of the sheriff’s office.
âSheriff (Carmine) Marcelo demands that every member of the agency maintain the highest level of standards, and he will take swift and decisive action to ensure that each member’s conduct is above reproach,â the captain said. public affairs of the office of Lee County Sheriff Anita Iriarte.
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On May 12, the Lee County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Unit concluded a months-long investigation into a drug trafficking organization, which resulted in multiple arrests, the seizure of several kilograms of narcotics and over $ 2 million in foreign exchange and assets.
While examining the cell phones of suspected members of the anti-drug organization, text messages between Lee and Melissa Cossio, suspected of being one of the organization’s members, were discovered.
“The messages revealed that Lee had ongoing communication with the member and potential knowledge of illegal activities carried out by the drug trafficking organization,” the report said.
Between 2014 and 2016, the Narcotics Unit received several anonymous reports indicating that Lee was potentially associated with major drug traffickers throughout Lee County, but specific names and details were not specified in the reports. Given the limited information, no follow-up investigation has been conducted into the tips, according to the report.
For the past eight years, Gabriel Cossio has been identified by the Narcotics Unit as the head of the drug trafficking organization. Melissa Cossio is his wife and also a member of the anti-drug organization, the report says.
“The Cossios have associated themselves with drug trafficking, money laundering and violent crime,” the report said.
The Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Unit conducted several operations to identify additional members and criminal activity.
Gabriel and Melissa Cossio were arrested along with other members of the anti-drug organization. When reviewing the text messages, Lee’s home phone number was among the frequent contacts on Melissa Cossio’s phone.
They share more than 3,000 messages and photographs from 2017. It became clear that the two were close friends and associates on a regular basis, the report said.
Messages from 2017 stated that Lee had provided Cossio with confidential or sensitive information about members of the pharmaceutical organization.
In July, Lee was interviewed by the Internal Affairs Unit, where she said she had known the Cassio family since she was 6 and had gone to high school with several of them.
Lee claimed she had become very close to Melissa Cossio, but never knew she was involved in the narcotics business and only knew the male members involved, the report said.
After being questioned, Lee said she now realizes that the information she gave Cossio was sensitive and could have hampered the investigation, but she did not see him at the time, a- she told investigators.
She agreed her actions were unethical and now realizes she should have told her supervisor, the report says.
The internal affairs unit forwarded the summary of facts gathered during Lee’s investigation to the board of directors of the review committee for the findings of the recommendations, the report said.