September 28, 2016

Dead woman identified

Detectives say they have determined the identity of the woman found dead Monday on Munson Island, offshore of Little Torch Key.

Detective Manny Cuervo says the woman is 24 year old Patricia De La Pena Perez of Bejucal, Cuba. She was identified from a photo obtained from family members in the Miami area. The Sheriff’s Office has received many calls from people attempting to find out if their family or friends were on board the boat which is reported to have sunk south of the Marquesas last week.

“We are working with federal authorities on this case; we have identified the woman found on Munson Island but we are all still working to identify the man found on a Ramrod Key beach and the three bodies recovered from Upper Keys waters,” said Sheriff Rick Ramsay. “We feel great sympathy for those who are missing someone. This event is very difficult for everyone involved.”

The U.S. Coast Guard late Tuesday announced they’d suspended their  search for survivors. Sheriff Ramsay says he encourages everyone out on the water to keep an eye out for anything unusual. “We would like to be able to bring closure to more families, but the fact is that many of those lost in this tragic accident may never be recovered.”

Roommate charged with stealing, pawning stolen items

A Big Pine Key woman was charged with stealing a large amount of jewelry and other property from her roommate and using her debit card without her permission while the roommate was in the hospital.

The crimes took place in September of 2015. The victim was in the hospital for a period of time; while she was there, here roommate 31 year old Belen Araque took a total of $29,000 worth of items from her home including jewelry, rods and reels, clothing, custom made knives, a camera and a computer tablet. She pawned many of the items at two local pawn shops.

The victim told Detective Diane Mimosa she left her phone with Araque when she went to the hospital and her identification and card were stored in the phone’s case. She said when she got out of the hospital, in addition to all the stolen items, she discovered a number of cash transactions on her debit card as well.

Detective Mimosa searched the pawn shop computer database and found the locations where Araque pawned the victim’s property; she also followed up with the banks and ATM locations where the debit card was used while the victim was in the hospital and photos from some of those transactions were identified by the victim as depicting Araque.

A warrant was issued for Araque for grand theft, 9 counts of dealing in stolen property and fraudulent use of a credit card. While Detective Mimosa was investigating the case, Araque was arrested in North Carolina for unrelated charges. She was returned to Monroe County today to face her charges here.

September 27, 2016

Marine violations

On Sunday Lower Keys Marine Deputy James Hager charged three people with lobster violations.

 While on boat patrol near the Seven Mile Bridge bayside, Deputy Hager conducted a vessel stop. An inspection of the boat revealed nine obster, seven of which were undersized. 53 year old Juan Nunez Medina of Hialeah was charged with possession of undersize lobster and possession of over the limit lobster.

On a separate case, Deputy Hager was checking on two divers without a dive flag near North Pine Channel bridge on the bayside. An inspection of their catch revealed 10 lobster, eight of which were undersize.  44 year old Taek Lee of Coral Springs  and 59 year old Jaytee Lee of Illinois were both charged with possession of undersize lobster & harvesting lobster in the water without a measuring device.

Update on death investigations

The Sheriff’s Office is working together with other state and federal agencies to investigate a number of recent deaths believed to be related to a Cuban migrant vessel which reportedly sank while on its way from Cuba to the United States last week.

All agencies involved now believe the five people found dead since Saturday and the three Cuban migrants found alive on Big Pine Key were most likely all from that same lost vessel. The Coast Guard is still reportedly out on the water searching for any possible survivors from that boat.

Sheriff’s Major Crimes Detective Manny Cuervo says there is no foul play suspected in any of the deaths. The main concern of all the agencies involved is to make sure a thorough search is made for anyone who might still be alive, and to identify those who died and notify their families of their deaths.

To recap: three people – two men and a woman – were found dead in the water approximately 23 miles offshore of Islamorada on Saturday. A man was subsequently found dead on a Ramrod Key beach later in the day on Saturday. Three men made it to shore on Big Pine Key and were taken into custody by Customs and Border Protection on Sunday evening and a woman’s body was recovered offshore of Little Torch Key on Munson Island on Monday. Detectives and investigators have been working with the three survivors in an attempt to determine what happened, and in an attempt to identify those who died and those who were on board the vessel that reportedly sank.

Convicted felon charged with purchasing gun

On Monday, Special Investigation Detectives received information regarding a convicted felon who wanted to purchase a firearm; the information received was that Pulido wanted to use the weapon to rob an armored Wells Fargo truck and subsequently flee with the money to Cuba.

57 year old Jose Pulido of Stock Island purchased a Glock-23, .40 caliber handgun from an undercover operative from the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, for $300.00. The transaction took place at the CVS pharmacy parking lot on Stock Island Monday evening. Pulido did inform the undercover operative he intended to use the firearm to commit an armed robbery. Pulido also had several active warrants for unrelated charges.

Pulido was arrested and charged with possession of a firearm by a Florida convicted felon, conspiracy to commit a first-degree felony (armed robbery), and unlawful use of a two-way device. Pulido was transported to the Key West Jail.

Pulido has felony convictions for sexual battery on a victim under 16 years of age, aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer and fleeing and eluding police. His warrants were all related to sexual offender registration violations.

Search warrant served in Marathon

Marathon - A search warrant was served Monday evening in a Marathon residence.  Detectives from the Special Investigations Unit, along with Agents for the Drug Enforcement Administration served the warrant at 568 82nd Street (Ocean), in Marathon.  Inside the residence Detectives found 31 year old Alana Williams. 

The search of the residence turned up trafficking amount of cocaine – approximately thirty one grams – as well as drug paraphernalia and over five hundred and forty dollars of possible drug proceeds.  Williams was charged with possession of cocaine with the intend to sell, possession of drug paraphernalia and tampering with evidence.  The tampering charge was due to Williams attempting to flush some of the drugs down the toilet as detectives were entering the residence.

Williams was booked into the Marathon jail.

K-Mart Safety Day

This group of dedicated public servants took part in K-Mart Safety day in Marathon this week, talking to kids and their families about safety and crime prevention! Attending from the Sheriff's Office: Deputies Matthew Pitcher, Greg Korzen, Rosary Ponce, Shaun Lones, Josh Baer and Sgt. Spenser Bryan.

September 26, 2016

Sheriff’s detectives investigate another recovered body

Sheriff’s detectives from the Major Crimes Unit responded to Little Palm Island this morning after the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission reported finding the dead body of a woman in that area.

Little Palm Island is offshore of the Little Torch Key area, near the 28 mile marker of U.S. One. It is also close to the Ramrod Key location where a man’s body was found on a beach Saturday evening. Three Cuban migrants who were found alive on Big Pine Key Sunday night reportedly said they were on board a boat traveling from Cuba which sunk enroute. It is unknown if these two dead people are connected with that migrant group. It is also unknown if three people found dead offshore of Islamorada Saturday were in any way connected.

Detectives with the Major Crimes Unit are investigating each of the deaths in an attempt to  discover the identity of those who died and the circumstances of their death. They say there were no obvious signs of foul play. The Medical Examiner’s Office is also working on the case. Anyone who has any information is asked to call the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.

September 25, 2016

Unknown man found dead on Ramrod Key beach

The body of an unidentified man was found on a beach on Ramrod Key Saturday evening.

Detectives say there was no obvious signs of trauma on the man’s body which was found lying, on the remote strip of beach by the owner of the Ramrod Key property and some friends. The dead man had two bottles of water and a small amount of food near him when he was found.

The previous evening – Friday at 6 p.m. – deputies had responded to the area after the U.S. Coast Guard reported seeing a man on the beach in the same area waving as if to get their attention. Deputies responded to the area to look for him but were unable to find him.

The time of the Coast Guard report was also reportedly close to the time a group of migrants were found by the Coast Guard, having landed near Little Palm Island offshore of Little Torch Key, according to detectives.

It is unknown if the dead man was a Cuban migrant or if there is some other explanation for him having been found on a remote strip of beach with no vehicle nearby. The body has been turned over to the Medical Examiner’s Office and detectives with the Sheriff’s Office Major Crimes Unit will be investigating and will be attempting to identify the dead man.

Cleaning up on Laurel Avenue, Stock Island

The Sheriff's Office and Monroe County Public Works out working hard on Laurel Avenue, Stock Island. The area has large amounts of litter, debris, abandoned boats and other trash; there is so much to cleanup that this won't be the last time you see us all out there cleaning up. Thanks to Marine Deputy James Hager for the photos and for organizing the cleanup of this area.

Stolen truck recovered; Homestead man arrested

A stolen F350 truck has been recovered and a Homestead man was arrested for fleeing from deputies in it early on Saturday.

Deputies in the Upper Keys are on particular alert when it comes to large pickup trucks because a number of them have been stolen within the past few months. When Deputy Matthew O’Neill spotted a white F350 truck at 6 a.m. northbound on U.S. One at the 97 mile marker of the highway, he asked dispatchers to check the truck’s tag through their computers. The tag turned out to belong to a different vehicle, so he turned on his lights and siren to pull the truck over.

Instead of stopping, the truck fled. It made numerous dangerous high speed maneuvers in an attempt to avoid being apprehended, once almost hitting the deputies vehicle and a second vehicle, braking suddenly, running stop signs and then driving through a parking lot. The driver finally lost control of the truck, crashing into a boulder and some bushes on 2nd Avenue. The driver jumped out and ran from the truck and was seen by witnesses running into the Denny’s Restaurant nearby. He was apprehended without incident inside the restaurant. He was identified as 36 year old Oyantay Perez of Homestead.

A further check on the truck revealed it had been stolen on September 11th from a residential parking spot on Angler’s Way in Islamorada.

Perez was arrested. He was charged with grand theft of a motor vehicle, fleeing an deluding police and resisting arrest. He was booked into jail.

September 24, 2016

Sheriff’s Office assists with investigation of bodies found offshore

The Sheriff’s Office is assisting federal authorities in the investigation of three people found deceased offshore of the Upper Florida Keys today.

Sheriff’s detectives and the Monroe County Medical Examiner responded with the U.S. Coast Guard and Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to a location 23 miles east of Islamorada today after a fisherman reported finding the body of a male floating in the water. A raft was located in the vicinity of the body and, a short time later, two more deceased people were located – a male and a female.

As of now, the deceased people have not been identified; their bodies have been turned over to the Medical Examiner’s Office for an autopsy to determine the cause of their deaths and to attempt to determine their identities.

The Sheriff’s Office will be assisting federal authorities in the investigation since the location of the bodies was in international waters.

September 23, 2016

Warning: Trucks being stolen in the Upper Keys

Detectives say they are investigating the theft of a large number of trucks since April from Upper Keys residents.

The trucks – at least eight of them -  are a variety of makes and models including Ford F250 and F350 trucks, a Chevrolet Silverado, two box trucks and a Dodge Dakota. taken from the Upper Keys area between Islamorada and Key Largo. There has been an escalation in the number stolen this month with three taken so far and three more attempted truck thefts.  In the cases of the recent attempted theft cases, the suspect(s) forced open the doors by breaking the door locks and attempted to start the trucks using some kind of tool, possibly a screwdriver or something similar.

Anyone who has a truck, particularly one of the larger ones equipped for towing, should be aware of these thefts; one possible way to avoid having your truck stolen is to park in a secure area, or to park another vehicle in front of it, blocking anyone from taking it.

Detectives say they believe the stolen trucks may have been used to subsequently steal trailered boats either here or in other jurisdictions. In one instance in August, a stolen truck from Islamorada was used to steal a trailered boat; the vehicles were stopped utilizing Stinger Spikes in Florida City and a Miami man was arrested in that case.

Truck thefts like these are actually taking place all over South Florida. The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office is working with other law enforcement agencies in adjacent counties to investigate these crimes.

Anyone with information about the theft of trucks in Monroe County or elsewhere 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 or via a text message to 274637 using the keyword TIP136.

Thanks for the appreciation!

Thank you to Chloe and Mrs. Pazo's third grade class at Poinciana Elementary School in Key West for writing us this very nice letter. It is always nice to hear from people who appreciate what police officers do to keep the community safe!

Tavernier man faces drug charges

The Sheriff’s Special Investigations Unit served a search warrant at a Tavernier residence Thursday, arresting one man on drug charges.

The warrant was served at 2:45 p.m. at 582 Beach Road. As detectives served the warrant, they saw 37 year old Francisco Guevara getting out of a blue F150 truck. Guevara ran toward the back of the property, but he was apprehended.

During the search of the truck and the residence, detectives found crack cocaine, synthetic marijuana, sometimes called “Spice”, several different controlled substances including alprazolam and Oxycodone, heroin, a handgun, ammunition and multiple items of drug paraphernalia. Guevara was charged with resisting arrest, possession of heroin, cocaine and controlled substances without a prescription and possession of drug paraphernalia. He was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

September 22, 2016

Cleanup scheduled Monday for Laurel Avenue, Stock Island. Come on out and help!

Cleanup scheduled in Marathon. Mark your calendar and come on out to help!

Detectives looking for missing woman

A 50 year old woman from Key West has been reported missing by family members. Detectives say they are attempting to locate her.

50 year old Robin Ford was reported missing by her sister on September 10th. Her sister said the last anyone heard from her was on August 27th. Ford was last known to be living on Wisteria Island, in Key West Harbor. She reportedly failed to show up for a court appearance on the 30th of August. The court appearance was regarding a misdemeanor DUI arrest of Ford in March of this year. A warrant was subsequently issued for her arrest for failure to appear in court.

Ford is described as a white female, 50 years old, five foot five inches tall with brown hair and blue eyes.

Detective Manny Cuervo is talking to friends and acquaintances of Ford in an attempt to find her. Anyone who has any information is asked to call Detective Cuervo at 305-293-7475.