PORTLAND – A Missouri man who is accused of driving from his home state to Maine with a vehicle loaded with weapons to track down his estranged wife was charged Wednesday in U.S. District Court with interstate stalking.
Benjamin Lee, 52, had threatened to kill his estranged wife and her family members, telling her, “you can’t hide,” according to an FBI affidavit.
Lee was arrested on Sept. 7 in Limerick, where his estranged wife and her new partner were living. He has been in state custody since his arrest, and made his first appearance in federal court Wednesday.
Lee was charged with two counts of interstate stalking, one count naming his estranged wife as the victim and the other naming her partner.
He was ordered held pending a detention hearing Monday before U.S. Magistrate Judge John Rich III.
Lee’s estranged wife contacted police on the morning of Sept. 7 to report that Lee had threatened her and that she was concerned he was coming to Maine from Missouri.
That night, she called 911 multiple times to report that she had seen Lee drive past her house in a white Cadillac and that he might have a gun, according to the FBI affidavit.
Shortly after the 911 calls, Maine State Police and the York County Sheriff’s Office stopped Lee. In a search of the Cadillac, they found “five firearms (and over 200 rounds of assorted ammunition matching the caliber of the firearms), a machete, a bayonet, a folding knife, handcuffs, duct tape, packing tape, rubber gloves, camouflage face paint, a map of Maine with Limerick circled in pen, a roll of plastic trash bags, and a roll of plastic sheeting,” the affidavit says.
Lee admitted to driving past his estranged wife’s home, taking a picture of it and researching the layout, and claimed he was familiar with the blueprints of the house, according to the affidavit.
The affidavit seeking the criminal complaint against Lee contains emails he reportedly sent to his estranged wife in May containing many threats.
The FBI also interviewed one of Lee’s longtime friends, who said Lee had previously threatened to track her down and kill her, the affidavit says.
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