A former Ashland Police Department officer who recently joined a department in Florida and another man have been indicted on federal pill-trafficking charges.
A U.S. District Court grand jury sitting in Lexington last week returned a true bill charging Melvin Charles Schoch Jr., also known as JR Schoch, 29, of Bradenton, Fla., and Ellis Pittman, 34, of Ashland, with conspiracy to distribute oxycodone and attempting to possess oxycodone with intent to distribute.
The indictment alleges the two conspired together, and with others, to distribute oxycodone in Boyd County between November 2009 and April 5 of this year, and attempted to possess oxycodone for purposes of distribution between May and August 2010.
Both men could be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison and fined up to $1 million if they are convicted.
No other details of the case were available in the court file and a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Lexington said he could not provide additional information.
Court records do state the case is related to the federal prosecution of Ashley Dawn Schoch. Ashley Schoch and her co-defendant, Phillip J. Spurlock, were charged in April with conspiracy to distribute oxycodone, distribution of oxycodone and aiding and abetting in the distribution of the drug. Both pleaded guilty on Friday.
APD Maj. Todd Kelley on Monday said JR Schoch was no longer with the department. He said he wasn’t sure when he left. He also said also had no information on the federal case, although he said it was his understanding Schoch was arrested recently in Florida by the U.S. Marshals Service.
Schoch was sworn in as an officer with the Brandenton Police Department on Oct. 24, according to article in the online edition of the Brandenton Herald newspaper.
Pittman was arrested Oct. 3 by the APD and U.S. Marshals Service at residence on Bath Avenue. Two others were also arrested at the home on unrelated charges stemming from the discovery of an indoor-marijuana growing operation. The APD said at the time that Pittman was wanted in Arizona on felony assault charges.
An arraignment date for Schoch and Pittman had not been set as of Monday.
A grand jury indictment is a formal accusation of a crime and does not establish guilt.
KENNETH HART can be reached at email@example.com or (606) 326-2654.