MAY 22 (FT MYERS, Fla.) –U.S. District Judge John E. Steele sentenced Epifanio H. Benitez (61, Fort Myers) yesterday to life in federal prison for selling heroin within 1,000 feet of Lee Middle School. The court also sentenced Benitez to a concurrent term of 15 years in prison for three counts of selling heroin, and one count of possessing ammunition as a convicted felon. Based on his multiple prior drug convictions, Benitez was sentenced as an armed career criminal. Benitez pleaded guilty on March 4, 2013.
According to court documents, between May and November 2011, Benitez was involved in seven drug transactions in which he sold heroin to undercover detectives from the Fort Myers Police Department and the Lee County Sheriff's Office. Benitez sold the heroin within 1,000 feet of Lee Middle School during four of the transactions.
A subsequent search warrant was executed at Benitez’s residence, culminating in his arrest. Among the items seized during the execution of the search warrant were forty-six rounds of .40 S&W ammunition found in Benitez’s bedroom. As a previously convicted felon, Benitez is prohibited from possessing a firearm or ammunition under federal law.