February 27, 2010

Man charged with attempted murder

A Homestead man is in jail charged with attempting to kill a woman by running her over in the parking lot of the Cheeca Lodge in Islamorada.

Deputies and detectives were dispatched to the Cheeca Lodge at the 81.8 mile marker of the highway at 4:45 p.m. to reports of a vehicle accident. When they arrived, they found the incident involved a man hitting a woman with a Chevrolet Suburban, then trying to run her over.

According to witnesses, and the victim – a 30 year old woman from Homestead – 22 year old Rodney Germain hit her in the back with the vehicle and then tried to run her over.

She said they were arguing because she loaned him her vehicle that morning to look for a job. She said he didn’t look for a job and when he returned to Cheeca Lodge that afternoon, he gave her a pile of bills and told her she had to pay them. When she refused, he threatened to take her car and not return later to pick her up. She told him she was going to call the police and report her car stolen.

She turned her back on him and began walking away from the Suburban. That is when he ran her down from behind, knocking her into a hedge in the parking lot. The vehicle struck a palm tree and a handicapped parking sign, breaking both the tree and the sign in half. Witnesses said Germain went forward and backward several times and it looked like he was trying run the victim over. She said she looked up from the ground and all she could see was the bumper of the car and the two front tires. She was able to scramble out from underneath the front of the car and escape into the nearby spa at the resort.

Employees of the spa called 911 for help. The victim did not require medical assistance.

Germain was still on the scene when Detective Mark Coleman and Deputy David Minor arrived. He was taken into custody and charged with attempted murder. He was booked into jail.

February 25, 2010

Detectives arrest Key Largo man for killing another man

A man who lives on a boat off shore of Key Largo is under arrest today, charged with killing another man.

The suspect, 59 year old Gary Raith, told Detective Terry Smith he was visiting with the victim, 63 year old Thomas Haas on Wednesday afternoon at Haas’s house at 25 Eagle Drive. He said they watched some television and had a couple of drinks together. He said they then went outside on the dock together and were watching the fish. At first, he said nothing unusual happened and he left the area.

When questioned further, Raith admitted to arguing with Haas. He said they were outside on the dock when the argument began. He said they argued about some type of substance Haas supposedly put in the gas tank of a boat Raith used to go back and forth to his sailboat, anchored off shore.

Raith said during the argument, he hit Haas in the face and then pushed him in the water. He said he got his bag and his dog and left without checking to see how Raith was.

Haas’s wife told detectives she hadn’t came home from work on Wednesday and saw Raith walking away from the house with a bag and his dog. She stopped to talk with him briefly and then went home. In the house, she saw some items in disarray and couldn’t find her husband. By Thursday morning, when he still hadn’t appeared, she and two friends began looking for him. Haas’s body was found floating underneath the dock behind the property.

Raith was arrested and charged with murder (F.S. 782.042 – Murder without premeditation – a first degree felony) and he was booked into jail.

February 24, 2010

Video of armed robbery available for viewing

Marathon – On February 21st, the Tom Thumb convenience store at 2565 Overseas Highway in Marathon was robbed at gunpoint. IN the hopes that someone will be able to help identify the suspects, detectives are releasing a series of three videos from surveillance cameras which show the robbery taking place.

The clerk was at the store at 5 a.m. when two men with bandanas over their faces walked in. She said one held a handgun pointed at her, while the other one put a bag on the counter and said “give me the money and open the safe.” She gave them the cash from the register, but told them she did not have access to the safe.

The two men took the money and fled from the store. She said they were both young black males. One was wearing a black jacket, and had a black bandana over his face; the second one had a jacket with a design on it, blue jeans and a red bandana.

Detectives are investigating. Anyone with information about the case should call the Sheriff's Office. Callers who wish to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. A tipster whose information leads to an arrest is eligible for a cash reward. The Crime Stoppers hot line is 1-800-346-TIPS or e-tips can be made at tipsubmit.com.

The videos can be viewed at the link below. They are posted with the original story, scroll down the page to find them.


Teen charged with burning boat on Stock Island

Stock Island - A 17 year old Big Coppitt teen was arrested after burning a boat stored at a business on 5th Avenue, Stock Island Tuesday night.

Witnesses say they saw 17 year old Daniel Drago run from the 21 foot Natico Catamaran just before it exploded into flames at 10 p.m. The boat was on a trailer at Keys Marine Service and Salvage being repaired at the time. Drago reportedly jumped a fence and ran, falling down as the explosion occurred. He got up and jumped into a car parked nearby - a red two door older model Honda which witnesses say had a loud muffler.

Deputy Evan Calhoun heard a notice to be on the lookout for the car on his police radio as he was responding to the location of the fire. He began looking for the car and spotted it northbound on U.S. One. He pulled it over at the 9.5 mile marker and found five people inside, including Drago. Sgt. Tom Walker backed him up on the traffic stop.

During questioning, two of the men in the car said the car's driver got a cell phone car from Drago telling him it was an emergency and he needed to be picked up on 5th Street on Stock Island. Deputy Calhoun said he saw fresh burns on Drago's arm and hand. He was wearing a hooded sweatshirt and baggy jeans - the same clothing described on the person fleeing from the boat fire.

Drago was arrested and charged with arson, felony criminal mischief, burglary and trespassing and he was booked at the Monroe County Detention Center. The boat and it's 150 horsepower Mercury engine appear to be a total loss. The Fire Marshall's Office is investigating. More arrests may be pending in the case.

Man arrested for knife threats

Rock Harbor - A Rock Harbor man was arrested Tuesday for threatening a Comcast cable contractor with a knife.

The 30 year old victim told Deputy Derek Paul he was installing cable drops for Comcast Cable as a sub-contractor. He said he had parked his truck in front of a lot at 94825 Overseas Highway in Rock Harbor. The truck, he said, was parked there to protect his ladder as he worked on the cable lines. As he was working, he said 74 year old Roger Olds kept asking him to move his truck.

Finally, he said Olds got the Homeowner's Association manager, who also asked him to leave. He said he was preparing to leave, and retrieving his ladder when he saw Olds kneeling by one of his tires letting the air out of it. When he confronted Olds, he said Olds pulled a red-handled knife from his pocket and threatened him with it. The victim said he got into his truck, locked the doors and called 911 for help.

Deputy Paul arrived at 3:30 p.m. and took Olds into custody. In his pocket was a knife fitting the victim's description. Olds was charged with aggravated assault and he was taken to jail.

February 22, 2010

Sheriff’s Office continues successful recycling efforts

 Sheriff Bob Peryam’s efforts to make the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office “greener” are paying off.

In April of 2009, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office began emphasizing the need to recycle at its offices county-wide. The effort paid off in real dollars. During those eight months in 2009, the Sheriff’s Office recycled 19.4 tons of paper, cardboard, plastic and aluminum. The cost savings to the office was $3,800.00 in that period.

“We compared our waste disposal bills to make sure our recycling efforts weren’t costing more in taxpayer dollars. Being a government agency funded by tax dollars, we have to be cognizant of how our new programs are effecting our bottom line. We found that, since we are disposing of less waste due to our recycling efforts, we are saving taxpayer dollars,” said Sheriff Peryam. “It is a win-win program – we are doing our bit for the environment, and saving money.”

“We are currently in the process of planning for an energy audit of all of our facilities to see where else we can make improvements,” he said.

Other ways the office has “gone green”:
  • Purchased four hybrid vehicles which use electricity in addition to gasoline.
  • Using electric scooters at the Key West Airport
  • Going paperless: Offense and arrest reports, jail records, timekeeping and payroll, budgets, audits, arrest information, warrants are all digital
  • Old records are currently being scanned, after which they are shredded and recycled
  • Moving to on-line training which saves on travel time and gas. Less travel time to training means more time on patrol or on duty stations.
  • Video conferencing. Allows employees to meet without driving long distances to do so. Saves travel time, and gas. Less time spent traveling means more time at duty stations.
In the photo: : These three recycling containers from Waste Management were placed outside of the Sheriff’s headquarters bins to collect paper, cans and bottles and cardboard.

February 21, 2010

Hialeah man charged with DePaula Jewelry store burglary

Tavernier – A Hialeah man, arrested for possessing burglary tools after a traffic stop early today, was also charged with burglarizing a Tavernier jewelry store February 7th.

Suspects broke in to DePaula Jewelers by cutting a hole in the roof. Video surveillance footage from the jewelry store burglary showed equipment used which was similar to that found in the vehicle driven by 40 year old Alfredo Hernandez, including a plasma torch and a large six foot gas cylinder. A jacket worn by one of the jewelry store suspects, with a reflective stripe down the sleeve was also recovered from the vehicle he was driving.

The vehicle itself – a 2001 white two door Ford Explorer – was also captured on video from the burglary.

Hernandez claimed he was in the Keys Saturday night visiting with his ex-wife and daughter in Marathon. He admitted to being there around 11 p.m., at the same time another jewelry store in Marathon – Midas Touch – was broken into. Suspects also cut a hole in the roof of that store, but were interrupted in their efforts when the alarm went off, alerting the owner. Hernandez’ ex-wife and daughter deny seeing him at any point in time.

He was charged with possessing burglary tools and driving with his license suspended; he was also charged with burglary DePaula Jewelry and grand theft from that store. The investigations into the Midas Touch burglary attempt are continuing.

Fight on Duval Street carries over to the county

Stock Island – A fight on Duval Street continued on Stock Island as the victim’s sister tried to take him to the Emergency room for treatment.

The 23 year old victim, who lives in Key West, told deputies he was in a bar on Duval earlier in the night when 32 year old Gabriel Gonzalez tried to pick a fight with him. He said he left the bar, but was jumped by Gonzalez and several of his friends across the street, where they beat him and threw bottles at him. He said he called his sister to come get him and take him to the hospital for treatment of his injuries.

On the way to the hospital, at the south end of College Road, a car swerved and sideswiped his sister’s car. According to the sister, she pulled over and Gonzalez and his friends jumped out of the other car and chased her brother down. She said Gonzalez kicked and beat her brother. She called 911 for assistance.

When deputies arrived, they found the victim on the ground, bleeding. An ambulance was called and paramedics took him to the Emergency room for treatment of injuries to his face, head and arms. The suspects were still on the scene.

According to deputies, Gonzalez admitted to injuring the victim. He was placed under arrest, charged with aggravated battery and aggravated assault. He was booked into jail.

Burglary at Marathon jewelry store leads to arrest in of man in Tavernier

Marathon – A Marathon jewelry store was broken in a way similar to a break in to a Tavernier jewelry store earlier this month.

A Hialeah man is in custody after he was stopped in a vehicle at the 94 mile marker of the highway following the Marathon break in.

The owner of the Midas Touch jewelry store was notified her alarm had been set off at 11:15 p.m. Saturday. When she arrived to check the premises, she saw someone climbing out of the building through a hole cut in the ceiling. The alarm wires had been cut and the panel removed. She left the store and called 911 for help.

As she was waiting for deputies to arrive, she saw a blue car leaving the area. A notice to be on the lookout for that car was issued by Sheriff’s dispatchers.

Detective Sgt. David Carey was notified about the crime due to its similarity to a crime committed at DePaula Jewelers in Tavernier on February 7th. From his investigations of that crime, he knew the suspects sometimes use multiple vehicles, including a white Ford Explorer caught on video tape during the Tavernier crime. Sgt. Carey went on duty in order to participate in the search for the blue vehicle, as well as to keep an eye out for the suspect Ford Explorer from his case.

At 1 a.m., he spotted a Ford Explorer fitting the suspect description driving below the normal speed limit at the 94 mile marker of the highway. It’s turn signal was broken; he pulled it over to investigate further. Driving the vehicle was 40 year old Alfredo Hernandez of Hialeah, Florida. His driver’s license was suspended. When asked what he was doing in the Keys, he said he’d come to visit his ex-wife and daughter in Marathon. When they were contacted, they denied seeing him that night.

A search of the vehicle revealed an acetylene tank, a plasma cutter and acetylene torch; two pairs of gloves and a ski mask. Also found was a blue jacket with a reflective stripe on the sleeve. Detectives say a plasma cutter and torch were both known to have been used during the DePaula Jewelry store burglary. The suspect in the burglary, caught on video tape, was seen wearing a dark jacket with a reflective stripe on the sleeve.

Hernandez was placed under arrest. He was charged with possession of burglary tools and with driving with his license suspended. Investigations into his connection to the jewelry store burglaries is continuing.

Convenience store in Marathon robbed at gunpoint

Marathon – The clerk at the Tom Thumb convenience store in Marathon reported being robbed at gunpoint early today.

The clerk was at the store at the 48 mile marker of the highway at 5 a.m. when two men with bandanas over their faces walked in. She said one held a handgun pointed at her, while the other one put a bag on the counter and said “give me the money and open the safe.” She gave them the cash from the register, but told them she did not have access to the safe.

The two men took the money and fled from the store. She said they were both young black males. One was wearing a black jacket, black pants and had a black bandana over his face; the second one had a black and white jacket with a design on it, blue jeans and a red bandana.

Detectives are investigating. Anyone with information about the case should call the Sheriff's Office. Callers who wish to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. A tipster whose information leads to an arrest is eligible for a cash reward. The Crime Stoppers hot line is 1-800-346-TIPS or e-tips can be made at tipsubmit.com.

Fire on 82nd Street in Marathon

Marathon - A fire on 82nd Street in Marathon destroyed a mobile home Saturday night.

Firefighters and deputies responded to reports of a fire at 10:20 p.m. The offense report is not yet complete, so few details are available. No one was injured in the fire, although two dogs rescued from inside were taken to the veterinarian for medical treatment. The State Fire Marshall was notified and is reported to be investigating.

February 20, 2010

Two Marathon residents charged with drugs

Marathon – Officers responding to a tip about drug sales arrested two for possessing crack cocaine.

A tip was received that narcotics were being sold at 725 105th Street East in Marathon. Officers arrived to check it out at 9:45 p.m. Friday. When they knocked on the door a woman answered. The officers could smell the odor of marijuana from inside.

They explained why they were there and asked the woman for permission to search. She gave them permission. There were several people inside the residence. They were all patted down for officer safety. During the pat down search of 32 year old Jerome Leatherwood, officers found cocaine in a cigarette box and in a plastic Tylenol bottle. Leatherwood’s girlfriend, 18 year old Michelle Cameron, was also there. She told officers the drugs in the possession of Leatherwood were hers.

Both Leatherwood and Cameron were arrested and charged with possession of cocaine.

February 19, 2010

Highway Interdiction operation, Upper Keys

A Highway Interdiction operation in the upper Keys Thursday night resulted in two drug arrests.

Sheriff's detectives from the Special Investigations Division stopped 26 vehicles during the operation, which was conducted between the 106 and the 80 mile markers of Highway U.S. One. They issued seven citations, two of which were criminal in nature, and eight warnings for safety related violations. They conducted 10 K-9 vehicle searches and arrested two people found to be in possession of drugs.

Assisting in the operation were troopers from the Florida Highway Patrol K-9 Unit, Border Patrol Agents, HIDTA - Monroe County, the Department of Environmental Protection and U.S. Coast Guard Criminal Investigations.

During one of the stops, 31 year old Tanaris Walker of Marathon threw a bag from the vehicle which turned out to contain 12 crack cocaine rocks and a small amount of marijuana. Walker was charged with possession of crack cocaine and marijuana. During another traffic stop, detectives found eight crack cocaine rocks in the possession of 21 year old Tamara Williams of Marathon.

Walker was charged with possession of cocaine and marijuana and tampering with evidence. Williams was charged with possession of cocaine. Both were booked into jail.

February 18, 2010

Big Coppitt woman arrested for marijuana

Acting on a tip, Sheriff's detectives arrested a Big Coppitt woman who was in possession of a large amount of marijuana.

Based on a tip, detectives from the Special Investigations Division went to #30 Flipper Road Wednesday evening. As detectives pulled up, they saw 51 year old Valerie Lamberson pulling up to the home in a gold colored four door vehicle. When questioned, Lamberson admitted to having a small amount of marijuana in her home for personal use and gave detectives permission to search the home, and the vehicle.

As detectives began searching the vehicle, they saw Lamberson stuffing something under a back seat cushion of the car. She then rushed inside the house, with officers following. Under the seat of the car, detectives found a marijuana pipe and three hand-rolled marijuana cigarettes. Inside the house, as detectives walked in the bedroom, they saw Lamberson diving head first into the closet, over the top of a pile of items in front of the closet door. When they asked her what she was doing, she said she was trying to hide her "personal use" marijuana in the closet. At that point, she backed out of the closet and handed detectives a ziplock bag with 60 grams of marijuana inside, along with three packages of rolling papers. She was placed under arrest.

As she was being walked out to a patrol car for transport to jail, she leaned over and whispered to her boyfriend, who was also on the scene. Deputy Evan Calhoun, who was following her, overheard her say something about a bag. He questioned the boyfriend about what bag she was referring to and he said she told him to retrieve a bag with more marijuana inside from across the street. Detectives found a black nylon bag across the street containing 355 grams of marijuana.

Lamberson was charged with possession with intent to sell marijuana; possession of drug paraphernalia and tampering with evidence and she was booked into jail.

February 17, 2010

Greg Johnson promoted to sergeant

Deputy Greg Johnson recently became Sgt. Greg Johnson, and he received his sergeant's stripes from Sheriff Bob Peryam at a ceremony in Islamorada. Congratulations, Greg!

Employees of the Quarter honored for exceptional work

Employees of the fourth quarter of 2009 were recently honored at a ceremony in Marathon. Congratulations to, left to right, Kendra Albury, Explorer Michael Boyce, Detective Jason Madnick, Sgt. Todd Silvers and Sheriff Bob Peryam. Not pictured, Reserve Deputy Richard Stanger.

Teapot sale for Haiti

Sgt. Linda Simonet, who works at the Stock Island Detention Center, recently sold a portion of her teapot collection to raise money for Haitian relief. She raised more than $1,100.00 for the cause and plans to have another sale in a couple of weeks.

February 13, 2010

Deputies secure debris after wind damages Tavernier home

Wind damaged a home in the Hammer Point subdivision of Tavernier last night. May have been the result of a waterspout or small tornado. Back porch blew off and landed in the front yard. Deputies had to secure the debris to keep it from blowing around and doing more damage.

February 11, 2010

Marathon man arrested after lengthy investigation

Marathon - A Marathon man was booked into jail today on numerous drug related charges after undercover operatives purchased illegal substances from him on four different occasions.

Since December of 2009, operatives working for the Sheriff's Office Special Investigations Division purchased Percocet pills three times and arranged to purchase powdered cocaine once from 47 year old John Lee Hayes. Hayes sold 58 Percocet pills on three different occasions. He then agreed to sell 1.5 ounces of cocaine; he showed up at the meeting place without the drugs and said he needed the money first before he could pick up the cocaine. He was then arrested.

Hayes was charged with three counts of Drug Trafficking, with conspiracy to commit a felony, use of a two way communications device to facilitate a felony (he used a cell phone to facilitate all of the drug crimes) and with driving with his license suspended.

Drug Drop program: Environmentally friendly way to dispose of medications

In the photo: The Sheriff’s Office kicked off this new program at a recent meeting of the Harry Harris Homeowners Association. Here is Sheriff’s Captain Lou Caputo showing off the drug collection bin with Homeowners Association President Jerry Wilkinson.

Upper Keys - The upper Keys Sheriff's substation is starting a new, environmentally friendly program to allow people to dispose safely of no-longer-needed prescription drugs and other medications.

Captain Lou Caputo and Lt. Nancy Alvarez will allow citizens to drop off old medications at the Roth Substation on Plantation Key during business hours. They will then be burned by Detective Sgt. Bobby Randolph, who operates the Sheriff's Burn Unit and who holds a special license to burn narcotics.

"We will also pick up old medications, as time allows," said Lt. Nancy Alvarez. "All people have to do is call us and let us know where to pick them up," she said.

She cautioned people who are going to bring their medications in themselves to make sure and keep prescriptions in the prescription bottle to show proof the prescription is legitimately theirs. "Technically, it is illegal to carry prescription medications around without proof it is prescribed to you," she said. "We'd hate to have someone arrested on their way in to drop the stuff off," she added.

People who call to have medications picked up can do so with no questions asked. "Our goal here is to dispose of this stuff properly, not to catch people with illegal pills," she said.

Proper disposal of prescription and over the counter medications is important. Flushing them down the toilet or sink can introduce dangerous and environmentally damaging substances into the water system; throwing them away in the trash can also introduce them into the environment, and runs the risk of them winding up in the wrong hands.

If you are part of an organization, like a Crime Watch group or a Homeowners Association, and would like us to collect old medications at one of your meetings, call 305-853-3211 and ask for Lt. Alvarez or Captain Caputo.

February 9, 2010

Students discovered at beach party; 19 cited with alcohol related charges

Islamorada – Deputies responding to reports of a party on Port Antigua Beach Friday afternoon broke up a party and cited a large number of students with possessing alcohol.

When Deputy Winifred Higgins and Sgt. Roy Bogue arrived at 3 p.m., they found a large group of Coral Shores High School students on or near the private beach. The students told them they were there for “Senior Skip Day”. They had two boats pulled up to shore. There were various containers of alcohol on the boats, including beer, rum and vodka, and coolers of ice on the beach.

As the officers arrived, they saw the large group of kids gathered in the water around the two boats. As the kids realized police had arrived, the officers said they saw cups and cans go flying as the kids began trying to disperse. Several students attempted to flee the area but were later caught. A total of 12 students who were over 18 years of age received notices to appear in court for being minors consuming alcohol. Many of them were also charged with contributing to the delinquency of minors. Seven juveniles at the party received civil citations for consumption of alcohol by minors.

Parents were called to pick up their kids; adult boat owners responded to pick up their boats.

Charges pending against two men in Super bowl party fight

Sugarloaf Key - Two men who fought at a party after the Super bowl are now facing charges for the injuries they caused each other.

The fight occurred at 2 a.m. Monday at a home on Starfish Lane on Sugarloaf Key. 27 year old Y Le, who lived at the home where the party was taking place, was reportedly trying to get people to leave the party because it was late. Another man, Vinh Pham of Key West, said he was playing cards at the party when Le told him to leave and he became angry.

Witnesses told responding Deputy Chris Rhinhart the two men argued and then began to fight. At one point, Le attacked Pham with a beer bottle causing deep lacerations to his face. Pham punched Le, causing his jaw to become dislocated.

As the fight continued, Pham reportedly put Le in a choke hold; Le in turn grabbed Pham’s testicles, puncturing them with his fingers.

Le refused medical treatment. Pham was taken to Lower Keys Medical Center. Pham faces battery charges for dislocating Le’s jaw and injuring his face in the fight; Le faces aggravated battery charges for cutting Pham’s face and injuring his testicles. Pham received a total of 52 stitches for his injuries.

Detective Juan Llera is the investigating officer and will be arresting both men later today on the charges.

February 8, 2010

Visit the Animal Farm for Valentine’s Day

On Sunday, bring your Valentine to the Sheriff’s Office Animal Farm and make it a special day.

Everyone is invited to visit the Sheriff’s Animal Farm Sunday, February 14th between 1 and 3 p.m. The farm is a terrific family activity that is FREE OF CHARGE. Donations are, of course, greatly appreciated because they help keep the animal’s habitats in good repair and help pay for food and upkeep at the farm.

The farm is permitted and certified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and recently passed it’s yearly inspection with flying colors. USDA Regional Inspector Dr. Mary Moore told Farm Supervisor Jeanne Selander she enjoys coming to the farm because it is always in such excellent condition. She commented, in particular, on how impressed she was with the new alligator habitat at the farm.

The farm has about 250 animals of all kinds and is truly a wonderful place for children and adults alike. The farm is open second and fourth Sundays of every month. Groups may schedule special trips by contacting Farmer Selander at 305-293-7300. The farm is located underneath the Monroe County Detention Center, off of College Road on Stock Island.

Detectives investigate jewelry store burglary – again

Sheriff’s detectives are investigating a second burglary at DePaula Jewelers in Tavernier. The first took place at the end of December.

Sometime between Saturday night and Sunday morning, suspects cut through the roof of the business for the second time to gain entry. They again attempted to enter a safe inside, but were unsuccessful. They took a few pieces of jewelry from display cases inside.

The owner of the store, Jose DePaula, opened the store early Sunday morning and said he immediately noticed the new alarm system he’d installed was not working. He backed out and called the Sheriff’s Office immediately.

This crime is similar in many respects to the December break in, according to Detective Sgt. David Carey. Anyone with information about either crime should call the Sheriff’s Office immediately. Callers who wish to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. If a tip to Crime Stoppers 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 can be made on line at http://www.tipsubmit.com/.

February 4, 2010

Search warrant in Marathon results in several drug arrests

Marathon - Three people were arrested on drug charges after a search warrant was served in Marathon today.

The warrant was served at 9121 Overseas Highway, Apt A and resulted in the arrest of three people for trafficking in cocaine. The Sheriff's Office Special Investigations Division, and SWAT team executed the search at 6:00 a.m. Inside the residence the SWAT team located a crack cocaine lab. Detectives located 31 year old Anthony Ross, 33 year old Dywane John Hardge, 38 year old Monique Rene White, and her two children. During the search detectives located 31.87 grams of powder cocaine, 10.8 grams of crack cocaine, 32.2 grams of marijuana, 5 Morphine pills, 1 Glock 19 , and $473 dollars in drug proceeds. Several pieces of glassware used in the crack manufacturing process were also seized.

Ross, who is a convicted felon, admitted to selling crack cocaine and also claimed ownership of the crack cocaine and powder cocaine found in the residence. Ross also told detectives he purchased the Glock handgun. Hardge told detectives the marijuana in the residence was his. White was found to be in possession of 5 Morphine pills. Also located in the residence was a large flat screen television that was stolen from Indigo Reef Resort. The investigation into the location of this stolen property will be followed up by District 2 CIU.

Ross was charged with trafficking in cocaine, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and possession of drug paraphernalia and child endangerment. Hardge was charged with felony possession of marijuana. White was charged with possession of controlled substance and child endangerment. City of Marathon Deputies assisted in the search warrant. Deputy Ken Fricke and his K-9 Tracer were very helpful in locating the narcotics.

Department of Children and Families was notified, and will follow up on this investigation.

Sheriff's Office, Key West Police serve search warrant

Key West - The Sheriff's Special Investigations Division along with the Key West Police Narcotics Unit served a search warrant Wednesday afternoon, arresting one person after finding 21 grams of cocaine, and 44 grams of marijuana.

The warrant was served at 6:00 p.m. at 1916 Seidenberg in Key West. The search turned up 21 grams of cocaine and 44 grams of marijuana. Also seized at the home was $1,204.00 in cash, believed to be proceeds from drug sales.

The resident, Reimundo Antonio Huete, was placed under arrest. Huete was charged with, possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, and possession of marijuana with intent to distribute.

Others at the house included Huete's girlfriend, 19 year old Dalia Lopez, along with 20 year old Santos Torres, 32 year old Natividad Campos, and 33 year old Erlin Villa. They were all from Honduras, and all admitted to entering the United States illegally. They were also in possession of fake documents including social security cards. Border Patrol responded and took them all into custody for deportation back to Honduras. An INS hold was placed on Huete so he cannot bond out of jail. He will also be deported when his sentence is complete in the United States.

Assisting with service of the search warrant was a City of Key West K-9 team.

Deputies are trained as Honor Guard

The Sheriff's Office is frequently called upon to provide honor guard services for ceremonies of various sorts. In this picture, Deputies Tim Hunsberger and Jacek Szymanski attend Honor Guard training in Coconut Creek.

Airport Exercise tests skills

An exercise at the Marathon Airport went smoothly last week with many agencies involved, including the Sheriff’s Office.In the pictures, the Sheriff's Office Command post stands by; Monroe County's Trauma Star crew stages a transport for the exercise.

Seven pounds of pot seized, along with truck, boat and trailer

Deputy Chris Fraser pictured with seven pounds of marijuana seized on a case this week on Big Coppitt Key. Deputies and detectives worked with U.S. Customs and Border Protection arresting one man and seizing a truck, trailer and boat. See story, below.

SWAT team stands by as high risk prisoner arrives at KW Airport

The Sheriff's Office SWAT team stands by at the Key West airport as Michael Tanzi, a death row inmate, flies in to Key West for court hearings last week.

Cadets tour Plantation Key Jail

Lt. James Sheagren talks to Sheriff’s Cadets Kyle Nichol and Chrissy Raddatz during a tour of the Plantation Key jail. They learned about officer safety and booking procedures, among other things.

February 3, 2010

Homestead woman charged with stealing, pawning jewelry

Key Largo - A Homestead woman was charged Tuesday with stealing and pawning jewelry from a relative's house in Key Largo.

The jewelry theft was reported in December of 2009 and the case was assigned to Detective Patricia Garcia. The victim told the detective she suspected her husband's niece, who occasionally watched their house and dog for them. She said the thefts have been occurring for several months.

Working with Miami-Dade Police, Detective Garcia discovered that 32 year old Maria Rivera had pawned numerous items of jewelry at pawn shops in the Florida Keys and in Miami. A number of the jewelry items matched the description of jewelry stolen from the victim.

A warrant was obtained for Rivera's arrest and on Tuesday, she turned herself in to Detective Garcia at the Plantation Key Substation. She was charged with grand theft, dealing in stolen property and fraud and she was booked into jail.

Miami man caught with marijuana

Big Coppitt Key - U.S. Customs working together with the Sheriff's Office arrested a Miami man with 7 pounds of marijuana Tuesday evening.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection followed a suspicious truck towing a boat with several engines to #45 Boundary Lane on Big Coppitt Key. The truck, driven by 33 year old Yascel Garcia of Miami, stopped at that location at about 7:30 p.m. Garcia and another man unhooked the boat, then parked the truck next to it. Sheriff's Office road patrol deputies and Special Investigations Detectives responded as back up as officers approached Garcia.

They asked for Garcia's permission to search his vessel and his truck. In the rear of the truck, they found a large duffel bag with marijuana inside. Garcia told the officers it belonged to him. The marijuana weighed 7.2 pounds. Garcia was charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute. His truck and his boat were seized for possible forfeiture. Garcia was booked into jail.

February 1, 2010

Deputies arrest four at Key Largo party

Key Largo - Deputies, responding to reports of a party on Oleander Street in Key Largo arrested four people for various charges.

When they arrived at Oleander Street at 9:30 p.m. Friday, they found a group of people, including a large number of juveniles. When they pulled up, two men at the party began to walk away. When Deputy Michael Sielicki ordered them to stop, they continued to walk away. They were later found in a wooded area near by. The two turned out to be adults.. They were arrested after it was found that they'd provided alcohol to the juveniles. 26 year old Jarmoris Davis and 22 year old Eric Ping were both booked into jail for providing alcohol to minors and for resisting arrest.

Deputy Shiela Swindle responded as well. She made contact with 17 year old Annabelle Bricker and 19 year old John Wheeler. Bricker was driving a white van with Wheeler as a passenger. She said they were picking up alcohol to bring to the party. She also admitted to drinking alcohol, and to ingesting at least two canisters of Nitrous Oxide. In the van, Deputy Swindle found 78 canisters of Nitrous Oxide along with the paraphernalia used to ingest it. In a backpack belonging to Wheeler, the deputy found six bottles of beer.

Bricker and Wheeler were both arrested. Bricker was charged with ingesting dangerous chemicals, unlawful distribution of nitrous oxide and possession of drug paraphernalia. Wheeler was charged with being a minor in possession of alcohol.

Homestead man caught on stolen boat

Key Largo - A Homestead man was arrested Sunday after he was caught on board a boat he stole from a Key Largo residence.

The boat was reported stolen from a home on Hialeah Lane in Key Largo on January 15th. The owner of the 36 foot Sterling boat reported the theft after his boat mechanic discovered the boat was not docked at the home, where it belonged. The boat is valued at approximately $400,000.00, according to the owner.

According to agents from Customs and Border Protection, they apprehended 35 year old Wilfredo Deniz of Homestead about two miles offshore of Bahia Honda; he produced a letter he said was from the owner giving him permission to use the vessel. He said he was taking the boat to Cancun, Mexico for the owner. On board, agents said they found several illegal containers of fuel.

Deniz was charged with grand theft of the vessel and he was booked into jail.