July 29, 2016

DNA leads to sexual battery arrest

A Stock Island man is in jail charged with sexually battering a woman in December.

52 year old Raul Morejon was arrested Thursday on sexual battery charges. He is accused of sexually battering a 22 year old girl at a Stock Island residence in the early morning hours of December 30th.

Morejon’s ex-wife was at the residence when the incident took place. She and the victim had been out drinking at a local bar prior to the rape taking place. She said was sleeping and awoke when Morejon  grabbed her by the hair and dragged her toward a bedroom demanding she “see what he had done.”

She said the victim was not conscious, but she said his comments and the condition she saw the victim in led her to believe a sexual battery may have taken place. She called 911 for assistance.

The victim later told detectives she remembered at one point waking up and finding a man on top of her with his face close to hers. She said he was wearing blue shorts.

At the time of the sexual battery report, Morejon was taken into custody for violation of a domestic violence injunction. When he was arrested, he was wearing blue shorts.

Major Crimes Detective Lissette Quintero was assigned to investigate the case. DNA collected during the investigation was sent to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for analysis. On July 8th, results from FDLE were received and the DNA was identified as coming from Morejon.

On Thursday, Morejon was arrested and charged with sexual battery. Bond on the warrant for sexual battery is set at $200,000. At the time of his arrest, cocaine was found in his wallet. He was additionally charged with possessing cocaine.

Found property list for August

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.

July 27, 2016

Marine violations

In the photo, Deputy Hager measures a lobster that is obviously short of the required size.

Lower Keys Marine Deputy James Hager was patrolling  during the two day sport lobster season today when he saw three men harvesting lobster near the north end of Spanish Harbor Bridge on the bay side. Upon inspecting their catch, he observed several violations.

Maksim Parshin of Miami, Alexey Ivanenko of Hollywood and Valeriy Gerber of Sunny Isles beach were all cited for possession of undersize lobster, possession of speared lobster and harvesting lobster without a measuring device.

This is just one of a number of marine violations deputies found both on land and on the water during the course of the day.

Little Torch man dies diving for lobster

A 60 year old Little Torch Key man died today while scuba diving for lobster offshore of Cudjoe Key.

At 10:30 a.m., off the gulf side of Cudjoe Key, William Simko was diving in 10 to 12 feet of water for lobster when he reportedly became distressed. He called for help. His son was on board their vessel with four others. They heard him calling for help, jumped into the water and brought him back to the boat.

They began to perform CPR on Simko while calling for assistance on their VHF radio. A Navy helicopter heard the call for assistance and responded. They picked up Simko and flew him to Lower Keys Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Major Crimes Detective Manny Cuervo has been assigned to investigate the case. An autopsy will be performed to determine the cause of his death.

Bondsman charged with open carry of firearm

A bondsman was arrested Tuesday for openly carrying a firearm.

On July 8th, the Sheriff’s Office responded to the Circle K store at the 92.7 mile marker of the highway. The clerk told Deputy Paul Rocha she was concerned about a man who had come in the store wearing two badges she said looked like police badges and with a gun in a holster on his hip and another tucked in the back of his pants. She became more alarmed after he said “in light of recent events if you have any problems or anyone resists just shoot them.”

Deputy Rocha reviewed surveillance footage from the store and saw the man on the video. He was wearing a black polo shirt, jeans, had the guns and the badges as described by the clerk. The man was also wearing handcuffs and a Taser.

Deputy Rocha was able to identify the man as 44 year old Vernon Jones, of Miami, a bondsman who operates in the Florida Keys.

A warrant was obtained for his arrest. On Tuesday he was booked into jail on charges of open carrying of a firearm.

Key Largo man arrested for drugs

Following citizen complaints of suspected drug activity a Key Largo man was arrested Tuesday on drug charges.

Sheriff’s detectives from the Special Investigations Unit received citizen complaints about possible drug activity on Lakeview Drive in Key Largo. The person making the complaint specifically spoke about a man operating a motorcycle on the street frequently in a reckless manner.

 On Tuesday, at 5 p.m., detectives were in that area when they spotted 35 year old Kristian Demblans, who lives on Lakeview Drive, operating a motorcycle on the street. The detectives knew Demblans had a suspended driver’s license and had no motorcycle endorsement on his license. They pulled him over and placed him into custody for the violations.

A search of Demblans and the motorcycle turned up crack cocaine, heroin, marijuana and drug paraphernalia along with a large amount of cash. Demblans was additionally charged with possession of all of those illegal substances. He was booked into jail.

July 26, 2016

Arrest for prescription fraud

A Key Largo woman was arrested Monday, charged with forging prescriptions for Percocet.

On July 15th, Deputy James Jenkins responded to Mariner’s Hospital to speak with a doctor there who was concerned that someone had forged two prescriptions for Percocet and that his signature was forged on the prescription forms.

He told Deputy Jenkins there were a number of irregularities about the prescriptions. He said they were written using his name, but utilizing a Mariner’s Hospital prescription pad. He said he only writes prescriptions on his personal prescription pad, not the hospital’s. He also said the prescriptions were written for 30 pills the first time and 40 pills the second time. He said he never writes prescriptions for that many pills.

The doctor said he was contacted by a pharmacist at the CVS Pharmacy about it because she was suspicious about the prescriptions. The pharmacist sent him copies of the prescriptions and he verified the signature was not his actual signature and the DEA # used was not his correct number.

The prescriptions were written on February 13th and April 13th to 30 year old Key Largo resident Heather Born, who at the time worked as a nurse at Mariner’s Hospital. The doctor said he has never seen Born as a patient, nor did he write the two prescriptions to her for Percocet.

A warrant was issued for Born and on Monday she was arrested and charged with two counts forgery to obtain a controlled prescription, two counts possession of a controlled substance without a prescription and two counts of theft.

Lobster-Palooza Bahia Honda State Park

Anyone with questions about the two day sport lobster season, or about boating safety and fishing regulations can stop by Lobster Palooza today at Bahia Honda State Park between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Sheriff's deputies and Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will be there to help! Here is Deputy James Hager showing someone how to measure a lobster properly.

July 25, 2016

Reminder: lock up your fishing and diving equipment

A theft of fishing equipment was prevented Sunday when an alert witness confronted the suspect, causing him to flee.

Deputies Jon Riggs and Shawn Steele responded to the Big Pine Fishing Lodge at 6:30 a.m. to a report of someone trying to steal fishing poles. When they arrived they talked with a witness who said he saw a man walking near the docks, out of the camping area, carrying a large number of fishing poles. He said the man was attempting to put the fishing poles into a vehicle and they wouldn’t fit. He said he confronted the man, who then got into the vehicle and fled. A second vehicle fled the area as well. The two vehicles appeared to be traveling together.

The deputies found the fishing poles the suspect was trying to steal in a pile on a picnic table. They found the victim, who was staying in one of the camping lots. He identified the poles as his.

A notice to be on the lookout was issued for the vehicles that fled the area, but they were not located. They were a dark colored Ford Explorer and an unknown type silver car.

Sheriff Rick Ramsay would like to take this opportunity to remind everyone to lock up their fishing and diving equipment and electronics. This week is the two day sport lobster season and there are many people in the Florida Keys visiting with lots of boats and boating equipment. Along with all the visitors are thieves here to prey on them. Don’t leave your equipment on the boat overnight or on the dock to dry. Don’t leave it outside your house either – people drive around neighborhoods at night just looking for items to steal. 

Three cited for conservation violations

On Friday at 4:15 a.m. Deputy Seth Hopp spotted a Toyota Highlander northbound at 20th Street with a taillight and tag light out. He pulled the car over at 63rd Street. He asked the driver, 42 year old Juan Ortiz of Miami, for permission to search a cooler in the rear of the vehicle. Inside, he found 25 mangrove snapper. The bag limit for the snapper is five per person and there were three people in the car, so the allowable limit for all three people is 15 fish. Ortiz took responsibility for the cooler and, thus, for the fish inside. He was cited for having 10 fish over the limit. He received verbal warnings for the vehicle equipment violations.

Also on Friday, at 6:10 p.m., Deputy Wilfredo Guerra spotted a man at the 60 mile marker of the highway on the bayside wearing a mask, snorkel and fins without a dive flag. He stopped to check the man out and saw him spear a lobster and put it in his dive bag. The man was identified as Alexander Sanguinety of Cape Coral, Florida. Sanguinety received citations for possession of spiny lobster out of season and possession of speared spiny lobster.

Deputy Joshua Baer responded to Banana Bay Resort in Marathon Saturday shortly after midnight to a report of two men catching lobster in the marina. When he arrived, a witness said he and his girlfriend saw two men taking lobster from the water and putting them in a white mesh bag. He said one man stayed on the dock and located the lobster with a flashlight while the other man was in the water retrieving the lobster and putting them into the bag. The witness confronted the two men, who threw the bag off the dock into some bushes and began to walk away. The two men were still in the area when the deputy arrived and were identified by Deputy Baer as 33 year old Yasser Benavides-Cabreras and 41 year old Yunior Benavides. Both men are from Miami. Both men denied taking any lobster from the water, but Yasser’s shorts and the lower part of his back were wet.

Deputy Baer found the bag with three dead lobster inside where the witness said it was. Of the three lobster, two were undersized; two more lobster were found near the bag, barely alive. Yasser was issued two citations, one for three counts of possession of spiny lobster out of season and one for two counts possession of undersized spiny lobster.

Thank you for the support!

We love our citizens! Over the past few days we have seen many more people showing support for law enforcement in Monroe County. Someone delivered a bouquet of candy to the Cudjoe Substation and two young men stopped by to deliver two loaves of homemade Mango bread; at the Roth Building, they were treated to a delivery of pastries along with a wonderful thank you card; and in Marathon, some thoughtful person (or persons) put hearts on all of the patrol cars in the parking lot of the substation. And today, Kylie Turso stopped by the headquarters building to deliver cookies, brownies and a thank you card to Sheriff Rick Ramsay.

Deputies throughout the Keys are reporting many, many people just walking up to shake a hand and say thanks. It is really nice to know that we have the support of the citizens we serve. Thank you!

Two charged with drug sales

A Marathon man and a Stock Island man were arrested Friday on outstanding warrants related to drug sales. The warrants were issued as part of an ongoing investigation by Sheriff’s Special Investigations detectives into drug sales in the Florida Keys.

29 year old Austin Nichols of Marathon was arrested Friday for three counts sale of heroin and one count sale of cocaine. Nichols sold the illegal substances to an undercover operative on three occasions outside a Marathon residence.

46 year old William Roberts was arrested Friday for cocaine trafficking, sale of cocaine and two counts use of a two way communications device to facilitate a felony. He sold 1.5 ounces of cocaine in January to an undercover operative in a parking lot on MacDonald Avenue, Stock Island. He subsequently sold a crack cocaine cookie in February to an undercover operative at a store on Emma Street in Key West.

Both men were booked into jail. 

Key Largo man charged with fraudulent credit card use

A Key Largo man was arrested Sunday, charged with fraudulently using someone else’s credit card to purchase items from several stores in the Upper Keys.

The credit cards were stolen during a vehicle burglary reported to the Sheriff’s Office on March 20th.  The vehicle was parked on Jewfish Avenue in Key Largo when someone entered it and took a wallet from inside.

That same day, the credit cards in the wallet were used several times, at World Wide Sportsman in Islamorada, at Diver’s Direct in Key Largo and at West Marine in Key Largo.

Detective Barney Sajdak was assigned to investigate the cases. When he went to World Wide Sportsman, he found out the person who’d used the fraudulent credit cards had also used a Rewards Card in the name of Omar Pupo, 41 years old of Key Largo.

He went to Diver’s Direct and West Marine. At both businesses, clerks at the stores were able to identify Pupo from a photo lineup as the man that used the fraudulent credit cards in their stores.

Detective Sajdak obtained warrants for Pupo for the fraudulent purchases. On Saturday, he was arrested. He was charged with three counts of grand theft, one count of theft, four counts fraudulent use of a credit card and nine counts of obtaining property by fraud. He was booked into jail.

Marathon man arrested Saturday for stealing truck

A Marathon man was arrested Saturday after he stole his girlfriend’s truck.

The owner of the 2006 GMC truck called the Sheriff’s Office on Saturday to report her truck stolen. She said she knew her boyfriend, 46 year old Roger Green, stole the truck because she saw him driving it.

She said she and her sister went out on Saturday evening; she said Green found her in a local bar and asked to borrow the truck. She said she refused because she knew his license was suspended. She said when she got to her 107th Street home later that night, the truck was gone from her house. She discovered money missing from the house as well. The money was kept in a large 5 gallon plastic water bottle, which had been taken from inside the house.

She said she drove around town and spotted him driving the truck. She tried to follow him but lost him. She called the Sheriff’s Office and Deputy William Daniels responded. While the deputy was at her house taking a report, the victim reviewed surveillance video. Green was on the video walking out of her house carrying something; the video shows him leaving the house driving the truck.

While Deputy Daniels was still with the victim, Deputy Orlando Alvarez spotted the truck northbound at the 49 mile marker of the highway at 11 p.m. He pulled it over. Green was driving. A check on his name revealed his license was suspended. A large plastic jar of cash was in the back seat of the truck.

Green was arrested. He was charged with driving with license suspended, grand theft and grand theft of a vehicle. He was booked into jail.

July 22, 2016

Convicted felon faces drug, weapons charges

A traffic stop in Marathon just after midnight resulted in the arrest of the driver for a large amount of cocaine. The man, a convicted felon, was driving a car with a headlight out when Deputies Vincent Torres and Garrett Brag stopped him just after midnight at U.S. One and 33rd Street. The car was driven by Sugarloaf resident 53 year old Francisco Gonzalez Abrante.

Abrante was smoking a cigarette when he was stopped, and Deputy Bragg, who was on the passenger side of the car, saw him trying to hide something which turned out to be a bottle of tequila. A check on his name through computers revealed past felony convictions for attempted homicide and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.

Abrante granted permission for the deputies to search his vehicle. In the vehicle, they found an open pack of cigarettes with a plastic bag inside; the bag contained cocaine residue. In the trunk, deputies found a laundry basket with clothes in it. Hidden in the clothes they found a loaded .38 caliber revolver and a large plastic bag with a white powder inside which tested positive for cocaine. The bag of cocaine weighted 112 grams.

Abrante was arrested. He faces charges of possession of a weapon by a convicted felon, trafficking in cocaine, possession of cocaine, committing a first degree felony with a weapon and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Two Marathon men arrested for selling heroin

Two Marathon men were arrested Thursday for selling illegal narcotics.

25 year old John Kornetti was arrested and charged with two outstanding warrants for selling heroin. He is accused of selling the illegal substance to an undercover operative twice, once in April and once in May.

41 year old Adam Blankenship was arrested and charged with two outstanding warrants for selling cocaine. He is accused of selling the illegal substance to an undercover operative twice in April. At the time he sold the cocaine, he was in a vehicle driven by 30 year old Allison Peryam, who was also arrested Thursday and charged with being a principal to Blankenship’s crimes.

July 21, 2016

Caregiver for elderly man steals his money

A woman who cares for elderly people who need assistance was arrested today and charged with stealing money from a 95 year old Tavernier man.

52 year old Nancy Bevis was previously arrested on July 2nd for two similar cases involving theft from two elderly women. In this newest case, Bevis wrote unauthorized checks and altered checks to larger amounts than they were originally written for. She stole over $2,000 from the victim before the crimes were discovered by Wells Fargo Bank in Key Largo.

The bank called the victim and his daughter to notify them about their suspicions on July 18th. After checking records, the bank and the victim called the Sheriff’s Office on July 20th to document the theft.

Bevis was arrested; she was charged with four counts of grand theft and she was booked into jail.

Marathon man charged with cocaine, heroin sales

A Marathon man, originally arrested in April on multiple drug related charges, was further charged today with outstanding warrants for sale of cocaine and heroin.

42 year old Shayon Bryant, nicknamed “Tall”, is accused of selling the illegal substances on three occasions in April – cocaine once and heroin twice.

He has been in jail since April 20th when he was arrested during a search warrant. His original charges included child neglect, trafficking in heroin, possession of cocaine, sale of cocaine, possession of a controlled substance, tampering with evidence, possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

National Night Out – Mark your calendars and have some fun!

On Tuesday, August 2nd, the Sheriff's Office will sponsor National Night Out events in the Upper, Middle and Lower Keys. All of the events will feature food, refreshments, and a great chance to meet your neighbors, members of the Sheriff’s Office from a wide variety of divisions, departments and special teams and many others who are involved in the field of public safety here in the Florida Keys.

The goal of National Night Out is to bring the community together to discuss how we can all make our neighborhoods cleaner, safer and more secure. The Sheriff's Office will have crime prevention information to share at the event. Community members will learn how to heighten their crime and drug prevention awareness.

The Sheriff’s Office hopes to generate support for, and participation in, local anti-crime programs and strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships. Everyone participating will send a message to criminals letting them know that Monroe County neighborhoods are organized and fighting back against crime.

“This yearly event is an important one for our agency. We get the opportunity to meet the people we are charged with serving and protecting in a less formal, more fun setting,” said Sheriff Rick Ramsay. “I hope everyone will take this opportunity to meet their neighbors, learn about crime prevention and meet the deputies who are out there patrolling our community and keeping it safe,” he said.

The Key Largo event will be Tuesday, August 2nd from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at Key Largo Community Park. Captain Don Fanelli and Lieutenant Al Ramirez want to invite the entire community to attend their free event. Members of the Sheriff’s Office will be on hand, along with others from the public safety community including Florida Highway Patrol, Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Key Largo and Tavernier Fire and EMS; there will be food donated and prepared by Smoking Eddy’s BBQ, refreshments, a local band will play music and everyone will have lots of fun.

The Islamorada National Night Out event will be held at Founder’s Park in Islamorada Tuesday, August 2nd at 5:30 p.m. Captain Corey Bryan and Lt. David Carey invite everyone to join them and have some fun. Visit with members of the Sheriff’s Office, Islamorada Fire/Rescue and other public safety and community groups. There will be free food – hot dogs, hamburgers and chicken - and refreshments.
The Marathon event will be held on Tuesday, August 2nd from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Stanley Switlik School. Captain Gene Thompson and Lt. Derek Paul invite everyone to join them and have some fun. There will be free food and refreshments, live music and residents will be able to visit many law enforcement, public safety and community groups at the event.

The Stock Island event will be at Sheriffs Headquarters Building, 5525 College Road on Stock Island, Tuesday, August 2nd  from 5 – 7 p.m. Captain Don Hiller and Lieutenant Donnie Catala want to welcome the Lower Keys community to come on out for a great time. There will be free food and refreshments and a wide variety of law enforcement and other public safety agencies will be on hand to talk with community members. The Sheriff’s Office Animal Farm will be open to the public during this event!

Two day sport lobster season is next week

The Sheriff’s Office would like to remind everyone the two day sport lobster season is coming up next week. Anyone who plans to participate catching lobster in Monroe County during the two day season on July 27th and 28th should make sure to familiarize themselves with both state law and with local ordinances in the Florida Keys.

Additionally, Sheriff Rick Ramsay would like to remind everyone who lives here and who is visiting: marine thefts are a real problem in the Florida Keys and thieves may see the two day sport season as an opportunity to target people who aren’t being careful with their valuables. Make sure you remove electronics, fishing and diving gear from your boat when you aren’t on it and store this valuable equipment somewhere secure.

During the two day sport season, the Sheriff’s Office will have extra patrols at boat ramps, bridges and on the water. Anyone caught with illegal lobster will be charged accordingly. All Sheriff’s Office boats will be on patrol, and deputies will also be operating a number of Wave Runners donated to the Sheriff’s Office by Riva South Motorsports. Riva South donates the Wave Runners  each year to be used for law enforcement purposes such as this, as well as for regular patrols of hard to reach shoreline areas and residential canals.

Remember: You must have a recreational saltwater fishing license and a spiny lobster permit to recreationally harvest spiny lobsters unless you are exempt from recreational license requirements. Information about these licenses and permits is available online at MyFWC.com/License. Attached is a detailed brochure with information about the various rules that apply in different areas of the Keys. Make sure to review the rules for the area in which you will be harvesting lobster. Rules and laws vary depending on where you are in the  Florida Keys.

Before, during and just after the two day sport season there will be more boats and trailers on the roadways, and more traffic in general. Sheriff Ramsay wants to remind everyone to drive carefully. Pay attention to those around you, be patient and don’t pass in no passing zones. Drinking and driving is, of course, illegal; drunk boating is also illegal and our officers will be watching for this dangerous behavior on the water as well as on the roadways of the county.

“We enjoy all the visitors here in the Keys during the two day sport season,” said Sheriff Ramsay. “But we want to make sure everyone is aware of the law, and is behaving in a responsible, and safe, manner.”

Planned Road Closure, Key Largo

Tomorrow, July 22nd, there will be a temporary road closure at the 103 mile marker between midnight and 4 a.m. on. An FDOT contractor will be placing beams across Adams Cut for the planned pedestrian bridge. The southbound lanes of the highway will be closed at 20 minute intervals and reopened in between to allow traffic to proceed. The waterway itself will be completely closed during the entire time period.

July 20, 2016

Attempted murder suspect returned to Monroe County to face charges

A Big Coppitt Key man wanted for attempted murder was arrested in Miami-Dade County July 18th. He was returned to Monroe County today to face the charges against him.

26 year old Yordan Alvarez is accused of striking the victim in the neck with a broken bottle on February 7th of this year. The incident took place at 316 Avenue D on Big Coppitt Key. The victim – 39 year old Oleimys Abal Clemente – was airlifted to Jackson Memorial’s Ryder Trauma Center for the injury, a cut to his side of his neck which was judged by medical personnel to be life threatening. He has since recovered from his injuries.

The victim told detectives he was visiting his sister’s house when Alvarez attacked him. He hit the victim on the head with a bottle, breaking it and causing a laceration on the victim’s forehead. He then slashed the victim on the throat with the bottle. Alvarez’ cousin, Amaury Alvarez was also on the scene when the attack occurred. While the victim’s throat was being slashed with the bottle, Amaury struck him in the face. The victim later told detectives he believed the punch to the face deflected the bottle and kept the cut from being more serious than it was. Amaury was arrested March 19th in Hernando County, Florida on an outstanding warrant for battery in connection with the case.

The victim’s sister told detectives she walked outside just in time to see her brother on the ground and the two men running away from the scene. She was able to identify the two men whom she said she knows well because at the time of the attack, they were both living on the same property as her.

Yordan Alvarez is in the Monroe County jail. Bond on the attempted murder warrant is set at $50,000.

Law Enforcement support

 Wonderful gestures of support from Monroe County citizens who wanted us to know they appreciate our local law enforcement agency! Thanks to everyone for letting us know!

Sexual Predator notification

As required by Florida law, the Sheriff’s Office is making a public notification of two sexual predators that are living in Monroe County.

Miguel Lloren, 46 years old.  He has registered his address as 109 Giardino Drive in Islamorada. Lloren was convicted in 1996 of two counts lewd and lascivious acts on a child.

Miguel Soto, 38 years old. He has registered his address as 321 Mahogany Drive in Key Largo. Soto was convicted in 1997 of three counts sexual battery.