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Press Release

Wauchula Man Sentenced To 14 Years In Federal Prison For Methamphetamine Trafficking

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Florida

Tampa, Florida – U.S. District Judge Charlene Edwards Honeywell has sentenced Richard Aldo Melendez (36, Wauchula) to 14 years in federal prison for his role in a methamphetamine trafficking ring. Melendez entered a guilty plea on August 28, 2023.

According to court documents, Melendez conspired with Ellen Jean Bivens (25, Zolfo Springs) and Abdon Rivera, Jr. (33, Lake Wales) to distribute methamphetamine in the Middle District of Florida. In late 2022, Melendez sold methamphetamine to undercover agents with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Then, in January 2023, troopers from the Florida Highway Patrol, in coordination with DEA, stopped Melendez and Bivens as they were returning from a trip to Texas. A search of their vehicle yielded nearly 15 kilograms of methamphetamine.

Bivens was previously sentenced to 37 months in federal prison. Rivera has pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing.

This case was investigated by Drug Enforcement Administration, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and the Florida Highway Patrol. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney David P. Sullivan.

Updated April 18, 2024

Drug Trafficking