October 23, 2016

Sheriff’s deputy, FWC officers recover stolen boat

A boat, stolen from a storage area at Coconut Cay Resort in Marathon, was recovered during a cooperative effort by the Sheriff’s Office and Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers.

The boat – a 25 foot 1997 Sea  Cat catamaran named Kon Tiki - was stolen between the evening of October 7th and the morning of October 8th. It has been stored on a trailer at the storage area prior to the arrival of Hurricane Matthew. The boat had two 150 HP Suzuki engines on it. On the morning of October 8th, Deputy Joshua Baer responded to the boat ramp on Harbor Drive in Marathon after receiving reports a boat trailer had been left in the water at the boat ramp. He found the trailer in the water. The trailer was the one the stolen vessel had been stored on.

Witnesses in the area of the boat ramp said they saw a small pickup truck towing the vessel and putting it in the water. They said they noticed it because the truck was too small to tow such a big boat.

On October 21st, Deputy Wilfredo Guerra, FWC Officer Olly Adams and FWC pilot Daniel Willman conducted a search from the water and the air for any signs of the boat. Pilot Willman spotted the boat from the air offshore of the 57 mile marker, hidden deep in a mangrove area. Deputy Guerra and Officer Adams used Sheriff’s Office wave runners to reach the area where the boat was hidden. They towed the vessel out of the mangroves.

Sheriff’s Detective Rosa DiGiovanni has been assigned to investigation the theft.

Anyone with information about this crime should contact the Sheriff's Office. Callers who wish to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. If a Crime Stoppers tip leads to an arrest, the caller would be eligible for a cash reward. The Crime Stoppers hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS. Tips may be made anonymously on line at www.tipsubmit.com or via a text message to 274637 using the keyword TIP136.

Key Largo man charged with aggravated battery, false imprisonment

A Key Largo man was arrested Saturday and charged with punching his girlfriend, taking away her phone so she could not call for help and holding her in their apartment, not allowing her to leave.

Deputy Deanna Torres responded to 212 Atlantic Avenue in Key Largo at 11 a.m. to a report of a domestic dispute. When she and other deputies arrived, no one would answer the door. About 45 minutes later, Sheriff’s dispatchers received another call. The caller said she would meet deputies at the Speedway gas station at the 99 mm.

When she met with deputies, the 23 year old victim had blood on her face, hands and legs.  She said her boyfriend, 36 year old Laurence Rafford punched her in the face. She said the dispute started when she read him a verse from Psalms in the Bible. She said he punched her because he does not believe in God.

After he punched her, she said she used her phone to call 911. She said he grabbed the phone from her and smashed it on the floor. He then told her to go into the bathroom to clean up all the blood she had on her. She said while she was in the bathroom she heard deputies knocking on the door. She said he would not let her out of the bathroom to answer the door.

She said after deputies left, she asked him to let her out of the bathroom to get a glass of water. When he let her out, she grabbed her purse and broken phone, ran out of the apartment and went to the gas station to meet with deputies.

After interviewing the victim, deputies went to the apartment. Rafford’s vehicle was outside, but no one answered the door. The victim was taken to the hospital by her mother to be treated for her injuries. After she was discharged from the hospital, she took deputies to the apartment and let them inside. Rafford was there and was taken into custody.

Rafford was charged with aggravated domestic battery, tampering with a witness, victim or informant and with false imprisonment. He was booked into jail.

Duck Key man charged with battery, false imprisonment

A Duck Key man was arrested Saturday night, charged with injuring his girlfriend, taking her phone away from her after she called 911 and holding her against her will at his home.

Deputy Daniel Hill and other deputies responded to a home on North Bahama Drive on Duck Key at 9 p.m. to a 911 hang up call. When they arrived, they saw a man and woman at the stairs to the residence. It appeared they were arguing.

The 45 year old woman had injuries to her knees and injuries and swelling to her face. She said she and her boyfriend, 49 year old Jeffrey Floyd were arguing in the driveway of the house and he would not let her leave. She said he was trying to take her cell phone away from her. She said after he would not let her leave, she dialed 911 on the phone, but he grabbed her and she fell to the ground hitting her face on the driveway. He then grabbed the phone and threw it toward the side of the house.

Floyd was arrested. He was charged with battery, tampering with a witness, victim or informant and with false imprisonment. He was booked into jail.

Inmate death, Stock Island Detention Center

An inmate at the Stock Island Detention Center died in the early morning hours today.

25 year old Christopher Cox, who was being held on federal firearms charges, was pronounced dead at Lower Keys Hospital at 5:08 a.m.

Cox was housed in a single person cell with no roommate. At 4:10 a.m. this morning, Corrections deputies performing a routine check of inmates found Cox hanging from the neck  in his cell.

They immediately began performing CPR on Cox and called for an ambulance. Cox was transported to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Cox was arrested Wednesday morning after a long standoff with deputies in Marathon.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement will be the investigating agency in this case. 

October 21, 2016

Marathon Trick-or-Treating: safety is key

If you plan to trick-or treat in the popular area behind the airport in Marathon, here are a few safety rules you will be asked to follow.

Parking will be prohibited on the shoulder of the road and on the bike path which runs parallel with the fence line along Aviation Boulevard. Everyone will be asked to park in the designated parking area on airport property.

Those arriving in the area on Halloween evening/night will enter through the airport gate on Aviation Boulevard. Sheriff’s deputies will be located throughout the area to give directions and a deputy will be there directing traffic into the parking area itself.

Two county school buses will be used to shuttle all trick-or-treaters and other visitors from the parking area to the neighborhood where the Halloween event is taking place. Shuttles will run from 6 to 10:30 p.m. Those who choose to walk instead may do so on the bike path.

Traffic through the neighborhood will be limited to those who live in the area and who are able to produce identification showing their place of residence in that area.

Safety is a primary concern for both the Sheriff’s Office and the city of Marathon. Please follow these guidelines and help keep the event safe for everyone involved.

Breast Cancer Awareness

In the photo, Sheriff Rick Ramsay and Chief Donie Lee are pictured with Deputy Michelle Lee and Lt. Areaka Jewell. They came together today to show off their pink badges in recognition of October being National Breast Cancer Awareness month.

October 19, 2016

Employee awards ceremony

We will be holding our quarterly Employee Awards ceremony on Friday, November 4th at 2 p.m. at the Marathon Government Center. The public is welcome. Here is the information about who is receiving awards......

Barricaded suspect taken safely into custody

As of 10:45 a.m., 25 year old Christopher Cox was taken into custody. Officers were able to approach the house and detain him after he put down his gun and approached the front door; at that point, he was far enough away from his weapon to make the move a safe one for all involved.

Cox is wanted in Dickson, Tennessee for a felony charge of violation of a court order with an underlying charge of theft. He was in the Keys with his girlfriend, 23 year old Jaclyn Wall, and her 6 year old son. The child’s father reportedly has full custody of the child. The father is on his way to the Florida Keys to pick up his son, who will be cared for by the Department of Children and Families until he arrives.

“I am happy to report we were able to take the suspect into custody without injury to him, any member of the public or to our officers,” said Sheriff Rick Ramsay.

The Sheriff’s Office received assistance during this incident from the Florida Highway Patrol, Customs and Border Protection, Key Colony Beach Police and the Key West Police Department.

Sheriff says Trauma Star shows fiscal success

The Sheriff’s Trauma Star program has had a successful year, with money collected in the past fiscal year exceeding the costs of the program by $200,000.

This number takes into consideration the money spent to fund both the Sheriff’s Office Aviation Unit and Monroe County Fire Rescue costs of operation.

“We are very happy to be able to tell taxpayers in Monroe County that Trauma Star is paying for itself and then some,” said Sheriff Rick Ramsay. “The excess money collected, over and above our costs, will be returned to the County to offset other costs of other government operations.”

The Trauma Star program is essential to a county that has no trauma center for people who need treatment for life threatening illnesses and injuries. Monroe County residents are flown on the trauma helicopter at no cost to them, over and above what their insurance pays for the flight.

In the fiscal year lasting from October of 2015 to September of 2016, Trauma Star flew 471 people to mainland trauma hospitals, 86 more than the previous year.  The Monroe County program that is jointly run by the Sheriff’s Office, which houses, flies and maintains the aircraft and Monroe County Fire Rescue, which provides the medical personnel.

The helicopter currently being used is a 1982 Sikorsky S-76 which was purchased used in 2006; the county recently purchased a second newer Sikorsky helicopter which should be authorized to fly patients next week.

“We look forward to continuing our life saving service,” said Sheriff Ramsay. “is a wonderful bonus to be able to say that Trauma Star pays for itself and that we are able to return a significant amount of excess to the County’s coffers, benefiting the taxpayers of Monroe County in the process.”

Wanted man, armed, refusing to come out of Marathon house

A man wanted in Tennessee for interference with child custody has armed himself and is barricaded inside a Marathon home.

There is no one in the house with 25 year old Chris Cox and no other members of the public are endangered by the ongoing situation. Sheriff’s deputies first responded to the home at 898 50th Street, gulf side in Marathon at 6:45 p.m. on Tuesday evening. Cox barricaded himself inside the house when they arrived and refused to come out. He has a handgun and at several times during the course of the incident he has held the gun to his head, threatening to shoot himself.

Hostage negotiators responded to the scene and have been in contact with Cox on and off through the night. Initially, some people living close to the house were evacuated to a safer location, but they have since been allowed to return to their homes and are being kept safe.

The ultimate goal: get Cox to come out of the house peacefully, with no injuries to him or to anyone else.

October 18, 2016

Animal Farm open Sunday

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Animal Farm is open to the public this Sunday, October 23rd from 1 – 3 p.m. Please join us and visit with the animals. The farm is free of charge; donations are welcome.

The Sheriff’s Office Animal Farm has over 150 animals, most of which were abandoned, abused or otherwise surrendered by their owners. The animals at the farm include farm animals like pigs, goats, a steer, horses, a donkey, turkeys and rabbits. The farm also has a number of more exotic animals including a lemur, kinkajous, sloths, a family of Patagonian cavies, alpacas, an Emu, pythons, a bearded dragon, prairie dogs, a skunk and a chameleon.

The farm is a wonderful place where kids and adults alike can get up close and personal with many animals they would not normally encounter here in the Florida Keys. It is located underneath the Monroe County Detention Center, at 5501 College Road on Stock Island. It is open on second and fourth Sundays from 1 – 3 p.m.

Found / abandoned property listing - October

Here is a list list of found or abandoned property. The Sheriff's Office has exhausted all other avenues for finding the owners, so thank you to all of you for taking a look at this current list to see if you know who these items might belong to. If you know, please contact one of our Property offices and refer to the Offense # associated with the item.

Become an employee with the Sheriff's Office!

The Monroe County Sheriff's Office is currently accepting applications for the position of Detention Deputy - Trainee. To fill out a preliminary application on-line, visit our web site athttp://www.keysso.net/admin_divs/hrd/hrd.htm

Man faces false imprisonment, sexual battery charges

A Marathon man has been charged with holding a woman against her will and attempting sexual acts with her against her will.

The incident took place in a fire pump room of the Walgreen’s pharmacy in Marathon on September 27th. The 17 year old victim told Major Crimes Detective Robert Dosh she was working with the suspect, 47 year old Liukel Fernandez.

She said he asked her to help him get some shelves from the fire pump room. She said once they were inside, he closed and locked the door. She said he would not let her leave the room. She said he unzipped his pants and forcibly placed her hand on his penis. He then ordered her to put his penis in her mouth. She told Detective Dosh she was afraid he was going to rape her so she pushed him and managed to escape from the room.

According to Detective Dosh’ investigation, the suspect had been suspended from his job previously for making sexual statements to other employees and to the victim. According to Detective Dosh, the suspect made previous comments to employees which indicated he knew where there were cameras in the store, and that he knew there were no cameras in the pump room, where he attacked the victim.

Fernandez was arrested today and charged with attempted sexual battery, battery and false imprisonment. He was booked into jail. His bond was set at $250,000.

Man arrested for false bomb threat

A homeless Key West man was arrested Monday, charged with making a false bomb threat at the CVS store on Stock Island.

The incident took place on September 22nd. 55 year old Daniel Hernandez entered the CVS store and took a two liter bottle of soda from isle 21. He walked to the checkout line and purchased the soda from a store employee. He then told the employee he’d placed a bomb on isle 21. He left the store and employees of the store called the Sheriff’s Office to report the incident. Deputies checked the store for explosives and none were found.

Video footage showed the suspect at the cash register and copies of still photos were disseminated to deputies working in the community so they could attempt to identify him. Employees of the store reported the suspect returned to the store on October 5th and on the 9th; they took more pictures of him during those encounters. On October 15th, he was located and positively identified as the man who made the threats.

A warrant was obtained for his arrest. He was picked up on Stock Island by Deputy Joshua Gordon and he was booked into jail for falsely reporting a bomb.

Picking up trash on Stock Island

Deputies James Hager and Lazaro Valdez, along with some helpful stock island citizens, removed this couch, a door, and garbage from the mangroves near 9th Ave/ 5th St. on Stock Island. Special thanks to Marty with Public works for his assistance with the removal.

If you have large items of trash, like appliances or furniture, alll you have to do is call Waste Management for a pickup - proper disposal is simple. You don't have to dispose of trash in this illegal fashion.

Cuban migrants land in Key Colony Beach

13 Cuban migrants arrived in Key Colony Beach yesterday aboard this boat. They were all in good health and were turned over to Customs and Border Protection.

October 17, 2016

Woman charged with stolen motorcycle, fleeing police

An 18 year old Homestead woman was arrested Friday after she fled from a Sheriff’s deputy on a stolen motorcycle.

Deputy Wilfredo Guerra was southbound in his marked patrol truck in Marathon at 6:10 p.m. Friday when the incident took place. He saw two motorcycles approach him from behind at a high rate of speed and pass him at the 50 mile marker of the highway. There were two people on each motorcycle; one of the motorcycles did not have a license tag.

Deputy Guerra turned on his lights and siren to stop the motorcycles, but instead of stopping, they sped up and fled from him. He followed for a short distance, but broke off the pursuit due to the danger involved.

Deputy Guerra radioed a description of the motorcycles to any officers south of his location. A detective spotted them a short time later. He was driving an unmarked police vehicle. He followed the motorcycle and saw it turn off the highway at the south end of the Bahia Honda Bridge. He followed it into the parking area and, after the motorcycle parked and the driver and passenger got off of the motorcycle, he approached and confronted them identifying himself as a law enforcement officer.

Deputy Guerra responded to that area and identified the motorcycle as one that had fled from him. The driver was 18 year old Taimy Diaz Cruz of Homestead. A check on the motorcycle revealed it had been reported stolen from Broward County.

Cruz was charged with grand theft auto, fleeing and eluding police and operating a motorcycle without a motorcycle endorsement on her driver’s license. She was booked into jail. The female passenger was not charged with any crimes.

Girl thanks police officers

 Captain Penny Phelps volunteered at the Stand Up Paddle Board Races for Special Olympics at Higgs Beach this weekend. While she was there, an 8-year old girl, MacKenzie Cronin, walked up to her and gave her a 3" x 5" card that said, "Thank you #yourlife matters Stay safe." Mackenzie's mom explained that Mackenzie wanted police officers to know how important they were. Mackenzie has already distributed over 100 cards to police officers.

Eating with deputies

Deputies Garrett Test, Daniel Hill and Caridad Calloway were having dinner at the Bayside Grill when Christopher walked up and decided to join them. As they all ate together, Christopher taught them about tornadoes and the fall of Pompeii.....making new friends is the best!

October 14, 2016

Job opening: Communications Supervisor

We have a job opening for a Communications Supervisor. For more information, visit our Jobs/Employment web page athttp://www.keysso.net/admin_divs/hrd/hrd.htm and click on the job link.

Cleaning up in Marathon

The Middle Keys has been working hard this week, cleaning up various areas in Marathon. Today, phase two of cleaning up the area around 20th Street took place. Thanks to all who helped out with this cleanup. Phase three will be weed eating, mowing and putting up signs for no trespassing and no dumping.

Arrest for mailing drugs to jail

A Duck Key woman was arrested Thursday for mailing drugs to the Monroe County Detention Center.

55 year old Nadine Carroll mailed an envelope containing Buprenorphine to the Stock Island Detention Center in September. The envelope was addressed to her daughter, Shannon Carroll, who was arrested September 15th and is still in jail on charges of driving with a suspended license and possession of cocaine.

The envelope was intercepted by a detention deputy at the facility who noticed a chemical smell from the envelope, and saw an unknown substance on the envelope once he opened it.

Tests revealed the substance to be Buprenorphine, a synthetic opioid.

A warrant was obtained by detectives with the Sheriff’s Special Operations Unit and Nadine Carroll was arrested for smuggling contraband into a detention facility. She and her daughter are now both in jail on drug related charges.

Two more drug arrests

35 year old Darius Whitehead of Key Largo, AKA “Dub”, was arrested Thursday and charged with an outstanding warrant for sale of cocaine and two outstanding warrants for sale of marijuana. He sold the illegal substances to undercover operatives in March and in May of this year on Hibiscus Lane in Key Largo.

42 year old Andrew Johnson of Homestead was arrested Thursday and charged with an outstanding warrant for sale of cocaine. Johnson sold an undercover operative cocaine in August on Hibiscus Lane in Key Largo.

The sales took place during drug operations set up by the Sheriff’s Special Investigations Unit.

October 13, 2016

Six drug related arrests Wednesday

Detectives with the Special Operations Unit spotted 28 year old Taylor Gue of Rock Harbor southbound at the 95 mile marker at 6:30 p.m. They pulled her over because they had an outstanding warrant for her arrest. She was taken into custody on the warrant, which was for failure to comply with pretrial services requirements; the original charges she was arrested for were possession of amphetamines, cocaine, drug paraphernalia and introduction of contraband to a detention facility. In the car she was driving, detectives located 3.7 grams of crack cocaine and a metal pipe with cocaine residue inside. She now faces further charges of possession of cocaine and drug paraphernalia.

Wednesday evening, detectives went to a home at 95165 Overseas Highway in Tavernier to serve outstanding warrants on 38 year old David Cooper of Key Largo. When they arrived at 7 p.m., they found him outside. They identified themselves as law enforcement and he fled inside the house. Detectives made entry to the house and placed him under arrest. The warrants were for two counts sale of cocaine and use of a two way communications device to facilitate a felony. Once inside the house, detectives found marijuana and drug paraphernalia. Cooper was additionally charged with resisting arrest, possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. Inside the house with him was 38 year old Anthony Price of Key Largo. He was found to be in possession of drug paraphernalia so he was also arrested and taken to jail.

Detectives from the Special Operations Unit went to 74 Hibiscus Lane in Key Largo at 9:50 p.m. Wednesday and located 47 year old Johnny Nash, who was wanted on an outstanding warrant. He was taken into custody and charged with the warrant, which was for sale of cocaine. When he was arrested, he had a folded piece of paper with marijuana inside. He was further charged with possession of marijuana.

At 3:15 p.m., Sgt. Jason Madnick pulled over a grey Dodge Durango which was northbound at the 100 mile marker of the highway after he saw the driver was not wearing a seatbelt. The driver, identified as 39 year old Loranzo Scott of Key Largo, has a suspended driver’s license. He was arrested for driving without a valid license. A K-9 team responded to the scene and alerted on the vehicle, indicating the presence of drugs inside. Crack cocaine was found on the floor boards of the vehicle. More cocaine was found in one of Scott’s shoes. A computer search revealed Scott has been designated by the courts as a habitual traffic offender. He was taken to jail for driving with a suspended license and possession of cocaine.

34 year old Dennis Cooper was arrested on an outstanding warrant for sale of cocaine Wednesday. The warrant stems from an incident in September where Cooper was involved in selling cocaine to an undercover operative on Hibiscus Lane in Key Largo.

Corrections academy bake sale

Here at the Sheriff's Office, we start them early with the ideal of Community Service. Here are the members of Corrections Academy #51 holding a bake sale at our headquarters building this morning to raise money for the MARC House.