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      Jury: Ex-Lee County sheriff guilty in drug case

      Former Lee County Sheriff E.J. Melvin has been found guilty of dozens of federal charges as part of a wide-ranging drug and racketeering case.

      The jury of four men and eight women deliberated 15 hours before finding Melvin guilty Tuesday of more than 30 charges.

      Melvin resigned in May after he and 11 others were charged with conspiring to deal drugs.

      During his two-week trial, prosecutors played taped conversations they said showed Melvin conspiring to extort money from drug dealers in exchange for protection from investigation.

      U.S. District Judge Cameron Currie ordered Melvin's bond to be revoked and he was taken into custody by U.S. Marshals. He will be held until sentencing, which is scheduled for January.

      Melvin faces up to life in prison.

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