Former deputy accused of impersonating DEA agent

FOX 35 News at 5 p.m.

- Attorney General Pam Bondi on Wednesday announced that a former Seminole County sheriff's deputy, Don Wheeler, worked with another man, Michael Maine, to impersonate a Drug Enforcement Administration agent. They did so, investigators said, in an effort to stop Maine's wife from continuing divorce proceedings.

Allegedly, the two created counterfeit DEA credentials to pass Wheeler off as a federal agent. According to court documents, Wheeler also called associates of Maine's wife claiming she was involved in drug trafficking and that the DEA had an active criminal investigation into her involvement.  Both face charges including: extortion; conspiracy to commit extortion; unlawful use of a two-way communications device; and falsely personating an officer.

We looked into Wheeler's history with Seminole County.  Records given to us by the Sheriff's Office state Wheeler was put on paid administrative suspension in 2005. During an administrative investigation , Wheeler was found to be in violation of two counts: conduct unbecoming and improper vehicle operation. Maine faces an additional forgery charge.

According to the Sheriff's Office, Wheeler got into a car accident while attending a workshop in Georgia.  Wheeler was a passenger in the vehicle but was intoxicated and allowed another officer from a different agency to drive his unmarked vehicle. Then in 2008, a fellow deputy found Wheeler asleep at his work station. A termination letter states Wheeler missed an emergency call for service and lied to a superior about being asleep.

The DEA led the criminal investigation. Attorney General Pam Bondi's Office will prosecute the defendants. If found guilty on all charges, Wheeler and Maine men face more than 30 years in prison.

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