August 26, 2016

Committed to the Community!

 Jail personnel, and in particular Lt. James Sheagren and Sgt. Juan Morales, have been busy recently helping out Habitat for Humanity on three separate projects, painting and installing a chalkboard at Big Pine Academy, doing work for St. Mary’s Star of the Sea church and clearing an obstructed intersection on Big Pine Key. Commitment to Community is one of our Values here at the Sheriff's Office!




Employee quarterly awards

Employees of the second quarter, 2016 were honored in August for their exemplary service. Left to right, Major Crimes Detective Manuel Cuervo, Explorer Stephen Normington, Records Supervisor Peggy Bryan, Detention Deputy Juan Cotto and Sheriff Rick Ramsay

Explorers start the school year

Explorer Post 906 (with adviser SRO Deputy
Derick Velez) at Marathon Middle and High School is ready to go this school year. They will be busy attending school games and community events. First up, they will be participating in an upcoming 9/11 event in Marathon; they will also be involved in relay for life this year. They thank every for their continued support.

Stolen basketball hoop returned

A young man has his basketball hoop back thanks to the diligent work of Deputy Caridad Calloway. The hoop was taken from in front of his home in Plantation Key recently; his mother called the Sheriff’s Office to report the theft and also posted a picture of the hoop on Facebook. They got information the hoop was at a home a few streets away. Deputy Calloway was dispatched to the theft report. The family gave her the information about where the hoop might be located. They said it they got the hoop back, they would not press charges.

Deputy Calloway located the hoop, spoke with the person who took it and it was returned to where it belonged.


Great job Deputy Calloway!!!!

August 25, 2016

Dog gets courtesy ride home

Deputy Aaron Coller with service dog "Spice" today. Spice's owner had a medical emergency and Spice couldn't ride with Fire/Rescue in the ambulance so Deputy Coller gave him a courtesy ride home to Grassy Key in his patrol car.

August 24, 2016

Birthday party in Key Colony Beach

We love birthdays! Recently, Andrew Culver of Key Colony Beach turned 3 years old and received a visit from Key Colony Beach Police Chief Kris DiGiovanni, Sgt. John Smith and Sheriff's Deputy William Daniels. A great time was had by all!

August 22, 2016

Deputies attend kids event

Deputies William Daniels, Matt O'Neill and Aaron Coller took part in a kid's event at HOB School in Key West this past weekend.

Key Largo clean up scheduled

Mark your calendars for this Key Largo clean up! Friday, September 9, 2016 beginning at 8:00 AM. Meet at Circle K mile Marker 102. (102511 Overseas Hwy, Key Largo). Please come out an help if you can.

Safety talk at NAS Boca Chica

Traffic Enforcement Deputy John McGee did a safety presentation to the "Sundowners" VFC111 at NAS Boca Chica last week. In return for his time and effort, he was honored with a framed, signed print and a coin from the group.

August 18, 2016

Corrections Deputy arrested

A Corrections deputy assigned to the Stock Island detention center was arrested today charged with making a deal with an inmate: cash in exchange for helping him to escape. He was also charged with providing the inmate with contraband in the jail.

50 year old Elizardo Ortueta was reportedly acquainted with the inmate he allegedly made a deal with,35 year old  Albert Vizcaino Gonzalez, prior to his employment with the Sheriff’s Office; Vizcaino is in jail, convicted on drug trafficking charges. He faces a lengthy prison sentence.

According to Vizcaino, Ortueta has on several occasions provided him with fitness related items and substances, including “D-Bal”, a suspected steroid; creatine supplements and a measuring tape, none of which are allowed in the detention center. All of those items were recovered in a search of Vizcaino’s jail cell.

Vizcaino told investigators from the Sheriff’s Office Special Investigations Unit Ortueta approached him and first asked to borrow $50,000 in exchange for continued preferential treatment at the jail. Ortueta reportedly told Vizcaino he was in debt with credit cards and also needed a new roof on his house. Then, at a later date, Ortueta allegedly approached Vizcaino with another offer. For $400,000 in cash he would help Vizcaino escape from custody on his way to prison.

Vizcaino and his attorney reported this offer to the Sheriff’s Office and investigators worked with Vizcaino to set up a controlled delivery of cash to Ortueta. The deal: $150,000 in cash in advance with the balance paid after Vizcaino’s release.

Today at 12:45 p.m., a confidential source met with Ortueta at the CVS Pharmacy parking lot on Big Pine Key. The source handed over cash and Ortueta was placed under arrest. He was charged with receiving unlawful compensation for official behavior, smuggling contraband into a corrections facility, use of a two way communications device to facilitate a felony and with not having a valid Florida driver’s license, although he does possess a valid North Carolina license.

Assisting with this investigation was the State Attorney’s Office,  the Office of Statewide Prosecution and Homeland Security Investigations.


Ortueta, who is terminated from his employment with the Sheriff’s Office as of this evening, worked for the Sheriff’s Office as a detention deputy from August of 2009 to August of 2015; he resigned and then returned to work for the Sheriff’s Office in February of 2016, working as a corrections deputy until his arrest today.

August 12, 2016

Miami man charged with stolen truck, boat and trailer

A Miami man was arrested Thursday charged with stealing a truck then using the truck to steal a boat and trailer.

The truck, a gold colored Ford F250, was stolen from Sands of the Keys, a business in Islamorada. The boat, a 2014 Sportsman with a Yamaha 150 horsepower engine on it, and the  and trailer, a 2014 Venture, were stolen from a residence in the San Pedro Trailer Park in Islamorada.

At 1:20 a.m., Deputy Gil Gonzalez attempted to stop the truck towing the vessel at the 110 mile marker northbound because the tag on the trailer was expired. Instead of stopping, the truck sped up. Sheriff’s dispatchers notified Florida City police about the fleeing truck and Deputy Gonzalez continued to follow it. Lt. Al Ramirez was in Florida City at the time of the incident. He responded to the north end of the 18 mile stretch in Florida City with a set of Stinger Spikes. Stinger Spikes are used to puncture the tires of fleeing vehicles, bringing them to a slow, safe stop.

Lt. Ramirez deployed the spikes in front of the fleeing truck, puncturing one of its front tires. The truck turned left onto Krome Avenue, then left onto 352nd Street. As it came to a stop, two men fled from the truck.

A search of the area was conducted with the help of Florida City police, Homestead police and Miami Dade police. The truck’s passenger was located. 25 year old Derman Rodriguez initially complained he was having trouble breathing because he had ingested multiple types of drugs. He was transported to the hospital so he could be checked out. He was subsequently charged with grand theft of a vehicle and grand theft of a vessel. He was booked into the Miami-Dade County Correctional facility on those charges.


Sheriff’s detectives are continuing to investigate in an effort to identify and locate the driver of the stolen truck. 

August 10, 2016

Cleaning up nearshore waters

Marine Deputy James Hager and Sgt. Glenn Test recently tagged this sunken vessel in Niles Channel offshore of Summerland Key for removal. They are now trying to identify the owner.

Dive death offshore of Islamorada

A Tampa man died Tuesday after a dive at Alligator Reef offshore of Islamorada.

41 year old Antonio Marco Ramirez was diving with family and friends at 1:30 p.m. in about 60 feet of water with his son. His son said his father became distressed and they quickly surfaced. Ramirez was pulled from the water barely breathing; he stopped breathing once he was on the boat and they began CPR, calling 911 for help. They drove the boat into Fiesta Key where they were met by paramedics. Ramirez was taken to Fishermen’s Hospital where he was pronounced dead.


An autopsy will be done to determine the cause of his death.

Man charged with sexual activity with a minor

A Key Colony Beach man is in jail charged with sexual activity with a minor.

26 year old Dominic Portelli is accused of having a sexual relationship with a young girl; it started in 2015 when the victim was 15, continuing until July of this year with the victim being 16 years of age.

The victim’s grandmother noticed changes in her behavior; she checked the girl’s cell phone, which is paid for and owned by the grandmother. On the cell phone she saw evidence the girl was having a relationship with an older man. She called the Sheriff’s Office to report the activity.


Major Crimes Detective Bob Dosh was assigned to investigate. After examining the cell phone, speaking with the grandmother and the victim, a warrant was obtained for the arrest of Portelli. On Tuesday, he was placed under arrest. He was charged with obscene communications – traveling to meet the victim after using a computer to lure her; obscene communication – using a computer to seduce or lure the victim; child cruelty – using the victim to engage in sexual activity and sexual assault by a person over 24 years of age with a victim aged 16 or 17.