Florida man claims involvement in cartel, extorted more than $80,000 from wife to fuel drug habit: police


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A Melbourne, Florida A man has been arrested after allegedly extorting more than $80,000 from his wife by falsely claiming to be part of a drug ring to fuel his cocaine addiction.

Eric Paul Johnson, 29, charged grand theft Property valued at $100,000 or more, organized fraud to obtain property valued at $50,000 or more, racketeering and unlawful use of a two-way communications device – all felonies.

Court records say Johnson’s wife came home from get off work in December 2023 and saw multiple messages from an unknown phone number. In the messages, the person asked for different amounts of money.

Johnson allegedly told his wife they were being blackmailed and that a man named “Troy” would help them.

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Eric Paul Johnson allegedly told his wife he was involved in a drug ring and extorted more than $80,000 from her to fuel his cocaine addiction. (Brevard County Sheriff’s Office)

The person who sent the message told Johnson’s wife that if she didn’t send money to the CashApp account, her husband would be hurt or killed.

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For example, one of the messages read in part: “…$500 for my family now or something is going to happen.”

In another message, the person wrote: “500 now or buenas noches,” which is Spanish for good night.

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Melbourne Florida Police Badge

Melbourne police have arrested Eric Johnson on suspicion of extorting more than $80,000 from his wife. (Melbourne Police Department)

Johnson was missing when the message was sent, but this was not the first time he had gone missing and been held for ransom.

Just two months before Johnson’s wife reported him missing, he began disappearing frequently because he allegedly owed money to the cartel.

Once she paid the ransom to the alleged cartel, Johnson would return home.

Johnson’s wife’s car was his when he disappeared last December. She told police she believed he returned home the day of the kidnapping, noting she saw an outfit he had previously worn in the bedroom, court documents state.

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Police find Johnson It comes a day after he was reported missing after being spotted driving Route 192 in Melbourne.

Police said in court documents that Johnson admitted he was the one who sent the text messages to his wife from an unknown number, adding that he had a cocaine problem.

Although Johnson said he never sold the drugs, he admitted he was a personal user, court documents said.

When investigators searched his phone, they allegedly discovered “sexy text messages” sent to a woman on the day his wife reported him missing.

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Court documents say Johnson met his wife in May 2020 and he disclosed to her that he smoked cocaine and marijuana but also worked for drug cartels.

He also allegedly told her he was dealing “a large amount of cocaine that was eventually intercepted, resulting in a loss of $60,000.”

Johnson’s wife helped him pay off the alleged debt.

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Two years before the couple married, Johnson allegedly stole $9,000 from his wife by withdrawing money from ATMs across Melbourne.

Johnson allegedly received $18,120 from his wife between May 2020 and December 2023, and received a total of $124,549 from her and other sources.

Johnson pleaded not guilty to the charges on Friday.



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By Ali Raza

I am a dedicated and skilled News Content Writer with a passion for delivering accurate and engaging stories to a diverse audience. With a solid background in journalism and a keen eye for detail, I bring a commitment to excellence and a deep understanding of the evolving media landscape.

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