May 31, 2010

Three charged with burglary

Three men from the Miami area are in custody today, charged with burglary of a Key Largo home.

Deputies responded to an alarm call on Ellen Drive in Key Largo at 1:15 a.m. As they were approaching the house, they noticed a white Jeep Cherokee leaving the area with three men inside. One of the deputies got the car’s tag number, then they continued on to the house with the alarm going off.

Once at the house, they found evidence of a break in. Several surveillance cameras in the back of the house had been tampered with and a window had been forced open with some kind of pry bar. No one was home at the residence. A notice to be on the lookout for the vehicle seen leaving the area was issued over police radios.

Deputy Tony Conde stopped the Jeep Cherokee a short distance away. Inside the car, deputies found a number of items which could have been used to break into the house, including two pairs of gloves and a pry bar. A small amount of marijuana was also found in the vehicle.

All three men in the vehicle were questioned separately and all three gave different stores about why they were in the area. 31 year old Joel Garcia, 25 year old Litho Rivas and 29 year old Juan Tavarez were all arrested. Tavarez was charged with burglary and possession of marijuana; Rivas and Garcia were charged with burglary and possession of burglary tools. All three were booked into jail.

May 28, 2010

Deputy attends community event

Traffic Deputy Andrew Leird recently made an appearance at an event at Key Largo Community Park. Here he is showing off his patrol motorcycle to a child at the event.

New detective in the lower Keys

Deputy David Brummer recently became Detective David Brummer, assigned to the lower Keys Criminal Investigative Unit. In the photo, Lt. Gene Thompson hands him his new detective badge while his new supervisor, Det. Sgt. Bobby Randolph looks on.

Marathon man charged with aggravated battery, burglary

Marathon - A Marathon man was arrested Thursday for breaking in to his ex-girlfriend's apartment and attacking her and the man she was with.

According to reports by Deputy Thomas Hill, 32 year old Eli Peak showed up at his ex-girlfriend's Marathon apartment on May13th at 10 a.m. He reportedly kicked in the door and found his ex-girlfriend in bed with a man. He attacked both of them, hitting the male victim repeatedly. He then allegedly threw a coffee table at them, knocking a mirror off the ceiling which fell and hit them as well.

Peak fled the apartment as they called the Sheriff's Office to report the attack.

A warrant was issued for Peak who was arrested on Thursday. He was charged with two counts each of aggravated battery and criminal mischief and with burglary with battery on the occupant. He was booked into jail.

Traffic stop turns into auto theft arrest

Tavernier - A traffic stop on a driver wearing no seat belt turned into a felony arrest for grand theft auto Thursday.

Deputy Andrew Leird was on patrol on his traffic enforcement motorcycle at 3 p.m. when he pulled next to a silver colored Dodge Neon and noticed the driver wasn't wearing a seat belt. He pulled behind the car and activated his lights and siren, pulling it over at the 91.2 mile marker of the Highway. The driver, 26 year old Paul Kuehn of Virginia, admitted to not having a valid driver's license and couldn't produce registration or proof of insurance for the car.

As Deputy Leird sat on his motorcycle waiting for a computer check on the vehicle and on Kuehn to return, he looked up and saw Kuehn exit the car and begin walking rapidly away. The deputy ordered him to stop and Kuehn broke into a run. Deputy Leird gave chase and finally caught Kuehn a short distance away, taking him into custody. IN the meantime, Deputy Larry O'Neill had arrived as back up on the traffic stop. He finished checking the vehicle, finding out it had been reported stolen in Virginia. The tag on the vehicle had been taken from a trailer in Marathon.

Kuehn was charged with grand theft auto, driving with a suspended license, resisting arrest and he was taken to jail.

May 27, 2010

Key Largo man charged with holding child against his will

Islamorada - A Key Largo man has been charged with holding a small child against his will at a marina in Islamorada in April.

According to detectives, 20 year old James Guyer approached the 8 year old boy on April 30th at an Islamorada marina. Guyer was at the marina riding along with a fuel delivery driver. Guyer asked the boy if he wanted to play a game. The boy said "no", but Guyer took him by the hand and led him to some chairs on the beach. He again asked the boy if he wanted to play a game, describing a game he reportedly called "truth or false". He told the boy, using childish language, that the game involved the boy's genitals. The boy told him the game sounded "gross" and he didn't want to play and tried to get away, but Guyer was standing over him leaning on the arms of the chair the boy was sitting in.

The boy was finally able to duck under Guyer's arms and flee the area. He later told his father about the encounter. He told his father that Guyer had touched him on the knee and the shoulder while he was talking to him. His father reported the case to Sheriff's Sgt. Roy Bogue.

Detective Deborah Ryan, with the Sheriff's Crimes Against Women and Children's Unit investigated the case. A warrant was issued for Guyer's arrest. On Wednesday, he was charged with battery and false imprisonment and he was booked into jail.

Another arrest in boat arson case

Stock Island - An 18 year old Big Coppitt man is the latest arrest in connection with a boat arson which took place on Stock Island February 23rd.

According to Detective Donald Catala, Arthur Davis drove the vehicle used to buy gasoline for the fire, then drive to the location of the boat, where the suspect Daniel Drago used the gasoline to burn it. Davis waited in the car nearby, then drove Drago from the fire scene northbound toward Big Coppitt. The car was stopped by Deputy Evan Calhoun just minutes later. Drago was arrested at the scene of the traffic stop.

Detective Catala's investigations of the case led him to obtain an arrest warrant for Davis, who turned himself in at the jail Tuesday where he was booked on arson charges.

May 25, 2010

Man arrested for vehicle burglary is additionally charged

Stock Island - A man arrested on May 19th for a vehicle burglary is now facing an additional vehicle burglary charge.

19 year old Lazaro Herrera was arrested May 19th for burglarizing a van at a Stock Island business. He was caught on a surveillance video committing the crime. There was another vehicle burglary on May 14th which took place on 7th Avenue, Stock Island. The victim said he parked his car outside his house for just a minute to run inside. He looked out at the car and saw the door open and a man inside the car. When he ran out, the man - later identified as Herrera - fled on his bicycle.


The case was assigned to Detective Donald Catala. In a photo line-up, the victim identified Herrera as the man he saw burglarizing his car. Detective Catala obtained a warrant for burglary and served Herrera with it Monday in the jail.

Jewelry store owner arrested

Tavernier - The owner of a Tavernier jewelry store has been arrested for dealing in stolen property.

Detective Sgt. David Carey arrested 51 year old Jose DePaula Monday. DePaula is accused of purchasing over $30,000 worth of jewelry stolen from a Key Largo home. He bought the jewelry from the accused burglar in the case, 49 year old Alfredo Chao for just $2,000.00.

Chao told detectives he sold the jewelry to DePaula shortly after his arrest on Friday. DePaula admitted to purchasing it from Chao, telling Det. Sgt. Carey he thought something was odd about the sale. He said he knew Chao and was just trying to help out the man's family.

DePaula turned the jewelry over to investigators to be returned to the victim. He was booked into jail.

May 24, 2010

Update on murder on Big Pine Key

Big Pine Key – An 18 year old Big Pine Key man was shot to death Saturday. An autopsy by the Monroe County Medical Examiner confirmed 18 year old Frank Randleman Jr. died of gunshot wounds. Homicide Detective Mark Coleman says the killing is not believed to be random in nature, and could possibly be drug related.

Sheriff’s dispatchers received a 911 call of shots fired at 4 a.m. Saturday. Deputies responded to the Seahorse Campground, Lot #5, to Randleman’s grandmother’s house where they found him dead. Detectives are following up on numerous leads, but are not willing to make any comments about the specifics of those leads, or about any possible suspects they might have.

Anyone with information about this case should call the Sheriff's Office immediately at 305-289-2410. Callers who wish to remain anonymous should call Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. Callers whose information leads to an arrest would be eligible for a substantial cash reward. The Crime Stoppers hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS. Tips can also be made on line at www.tipsubmit.com.

Tavernier man charged with burglary, grand theft

Tavernier - A Tavernier man has been arrested, charged with stealing a large amount of jewelry from a Key Largo home.

The burglary took place April 30th on Seaside Avenue in Key Largo. The victim came home at 4 p.m. and found her front door open. When she walked in, she found jewelry scattered on the floor, and a large amount of expensive jewelry missing from the house. Her husband reported leaving the house at about 1:30 that afternoon. He said when he left, he saw a suspicious man walking toward his house. Subsequent investigation identified 49 year old Alfredo Chao as the man seen in the vicinity. He worked on a landscaping crew that had worked at the victim's house several times. His employer came forward May 21st to suggest him as a possible suspect after he caught Chao coming out of his mother's house. Chao had stolen jewelry from his mother's house and agreed to return it if the crime wasn't reported.

When Sgt. Lee Cowart confronted Chao at his Tavernier home, he admitted to burglarizing the Seaside Avenue house. Detective Jason Madnick responded to the scene. Chao directed the investigator to a planter where he'd hidden a couple of rings he stole from the house. Chao told Detective Madnick after stealing the jewelry, he took a large amount of it into DePaula Jewelers in Tavernier and sold it for $2,000.00 which he subsequently spent on lotto tickets, cigarettes and soda. Further investigation revealed he'd worked painting an Islamorada jewelry store on May 18th and 19th. The jewelry store owner said several pieces of jewelry went missing while Chao was there, including a silver treasure coin. Chao admitted taking it and the coin was recovered from his home where he'd hidden it in the bathroom.

Chao was arrested and charged with burglary, grand theft and dealing in stolen property. Investigations into this case and into Chao's activities are continuing.

Detectives say they believe Alfredo Chao (photo attached) may have sold some of the stolen jewelry to people on the street. Anyone who has any information about the stolen jewelry, or who thinks they may have purchased some of it should call the Sheriff’s Office immediately. Callers who wish to give information and remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. If a call leads to further charges, or additional arrests, the caller could be eligible for a cash reward. The Crime Stoppers hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS. Tips can be made on line at www.tipsubmit.com.

Arrest made in February boat arson

Lower Keys - A Big Coppitt Key man is under arrest, accused of paying someone to burn a boat in February.

According to investigations by Detective Donald Catala, 39 year old David Kelley told a son and several of his son's friends he'd pay them $100.00 to set a boat on fire. The boat was at Keys Marine Services on Stock Island. In 2009, Kelley was arrested after he was caught shooting an assault rifle into a building on Rockland Key. In the building was the boat, which sustained damage from the bullets. Kelley agreed to pay for the damage and the owner took the boat to Keys Marine Services for those repairs.

On the day the final payment for repairs was due, the owner called Kelley and told him he had three days to drop off the payment. That same night, the boat was torched. Witnesses said they saw a young man run from the area and jump into a car. A short time later, Deputy Evan Calhoun stopped the fleeing car and arrested 17 year old Daniel Drago for setting fire to the boat. He'd thrown gasoline in the boat. When it didn't light immediately, he climbed up on the boat and threw a piece of burning paper into the gasoline. There was an explosion which threw him a distance away and burned his arm

Subsequent investigation revealed Kelley reportedly offered payment to a group of teens that included Drago. Kelley showed them where the boat was and allegedly told the teens not to set the fire until he was back at his place of business, so he would have an alibi backed up by video surveillance cameras. When he was at work Kelley called them, telling them to go ahead.

After the car was stopped, Kelley showed up on the scene. Drago told investigators Kelley told him at the traffic stop he would give him $500.00 to keep his mouth shut.

The boat, valued at approximately $30,000.00, was a total loss. On Friday, Kelley was arrested and charged with being a principle in the second degree to arson and he was booked into jail. More arrests are expected in the case.

May 21, 2010

Lt. Corey Bryan and Deputy Mike Sharp talked with kids at the Ocean Reef Academy about Crime Scene processing recently.
SWAT Team member Deputy David Lariz talked with kids at Poinciana School this week at the school’s career / truck day.

Police Memorial Day Ceremony, Friday at Bayview Park in Key West.

Local law enforcement agencies remembered fallen officers at a ceremony held in Key West last Friday. Officers, family members and the public gathered at Bayview Park to hold a ceremony commemorating officers killed in the line of duty in Monroe County, and elsewhere.

Cleaning up Islamorada with the help of Monroe County Inmates

For two weekends in a row, the Sheriff’s Office Bureau of Corrections teamed up with Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection to perform clean up operations in the Islamorada area. In the pictures, Sheriff's Office Lt. James Sheagren and DEP Officer Mike McKay are pictured with a team of inmate workers and some of the debris and garbage removed from park properties.

Detectives conduct Highway Interdiction Operation, Warrants Sweep

Key Largo - Detectives with the Sheriff's Special Investigations Division, working with Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Florida Highway Patrol conducted a Highway Interdiction Operation in the Key Largo area Wednesday evening.

During a two hour period, 14 vehicles were stopped and searched by police K-9 teams. During that time, 14 warnings were issued for traffic and safety violations. Detectives issued three notices to appear in court for possession of marijuana and an FHP trooper arrested one person for possessing 64 grams of marijuana. It was during this operation that detectives and officers from ICE caught two men from the Miami area stealing a boat from a Key Largo boat yard. (see press release issued May 20th).

After the Highway Interdiction, detectives conducted a drug operation and warrants sweep. At the start of this operation, two detectives were conducting surveillance in the parking lot of Coconut's Bar in Key Largo. They saw a man get into a 2003 Jaguar in the parking lot. As they watched, he pulled out a plastic bag with white powder inside and began to snort the white powder up his nose. The detectives approached the car, arresting 34 year old Vincent Salzano for possession of cocaine and possession of drug paraphernalia because they found a digital scale in the car as well.

The warrant sweep on Wednesday evening netted four people on drug charges. The warrants were a result of a drug investigation centering on drug sales in the area of Hibiscus Park in Key Largo. They arrested:

• 27 year old Dennis Cooper of Key Largo for sale of marijuana within 1,000 feet of a park
• 43 year old Kenneth Crawford for sale of marijuana and cocaine within 1,000 feet of a park
• 29 year old Steven Walters of Key Largo for sale of narcotics and theft
• 16 year old Darrel Baker for sale of marijuana and cocaine within 1,000 feet of a park

On Thursday, detectives continued their warrants sweep, arresting six more people on drug charges. Including:

• 50 year old Thomas Alfonso of Key West for three counts sale of cocaine within 1,000 feet of a park
• 33 year old Karl Bullock of Big Pine Key for possession with intent to sell narcotics
• 50 year old Terry Burgest of Marathon for sale of marijuana
• 51 year old Freddie Hayes of Stock Island for two counts sale of cocaine within 1,000 feet of a park
• 18 year old Ledarius Saunders of Key Largo for sale of marijuana within 1,000 feet of a park
• 30 year old Joel Stahley of Key West for two counts sale of heroin within 1,000 feet of a school

Key Largo teen charged with burglary, criminal mischief

Key Largo - A Key Largo teen was arrested Thursday after he was caught with a cooler and bottles of alcohol he stole from a home on Blackwater Lane.

The victim called the Sheriff's Office to report his cooler and 15 bottles of various types of alcohol missing from the screened in porch of his house. He said he left the house for about ten minutes at 11 a.m. and when he returned he noticed the items were gone.

Several witnesses in the neighborhood told Deputy Robert Dosh they saw a young man with blond hair walking down the street pulling a blue and white cooler a short time before. One witness said a young man named "Chris" had tried to recruit him in efforts to obtain liquor for a high school party planned for that same day.

The victim called the Sheriff's Office again, a short time later. He said he was driving around and found his cooler in Taylor Creek Village, being pulled along the road by two young men. One of them turned out to be 19 year old Christopher March of Key Largo. Upon questioning, he admitted to taking the cooler and the bottles of alcohol from the house on Blackwater Lane. He also told Deputy Dosh he tried to break in to another house on Pompano Avenue, but was unsuccessful. Investigations revealed signs of an attempted break in confirming that story.

March was arrested and charged with burglary, theft and criminal mischief. He was booked into jail.

Man charged with knife robbery

Marathon - Deputies responded to reports of a robbery at the 53.5 mile marker of the highway; after investigating the report, they arrested a Marathon man for robbing another man at knife point.

The 46 year old victim said he received a call from a friend at 4:30 a.m. She told him she needed to borrow money from him. He said he went to her house to take her the money and was robbed at knife point. He said a man later identified as 34 year old Enrique Valdes of Marathon pulled a knife and threatened to stab him if he didn't hand over all of his money. The victim told Deputy David Stubblefield Valdes identified himself as police during the robbery, and threatened to call immigration on him.

The victim said at one point, Valdes jabbed the knife at him and he had to jump back to avoid being stabbed. The victim fled, jumping into his vehicle and leaving the scene. As he fled, he said Valdes chased him hitting his vehicle repeatedly with a large stick. His car sustained considerable damage. After escaping, he called the Sheriff's Office for help.

The victim gave a detailed description of his attacker. Deputies Leon Bourcier and Joel Slough found Valdes a short time later. The victim identified him as his attacker. Valdes was charged with robbery with a weapon, aggravated assault, tampering with a victim and criminal mischief and he was booked into jail.

May 20, 2010

Naples man arrested for stealing laptop

Stock Island - A Naples man was arrested on Stock Island Wednesday after he was caught on a surveillance tape stealing a laptop from a vehicle.

Deputies David Fernandez and David Lariz responded to a Front Street business at 3:30 p.m. The owner of Carbone's Electric, Tom Carbone wanted to report a van parked in his parking lot had been burglarized. He said he has surveillance cameras in his parking lot and captured footage of the man who entered the van and took a laptop from inside. Deputies viewed the video and got a description of the suspect. A couple of hours later, Carbone called the deputies back because he said he saw the suspect again. He said this time he spoke with him. He said the suspect gave his name as Jose Herrera, then rode off on his bicycle toward 4th Avenue. Deputy Lariz found the suspect - later identified as 19 year old Lazaro Herrera - on Maloney Avenue. He was positively identified as the man shown in the video stealing the computer. He also had an outstanding warrant for violation of probation.

He was arrested and charged with burglary, theft and VOP. He was booked into jail. Detectives are still investigating in an effort to recover the stolen laptop computer.

Two charged with stealing boat

Key Largo - Two men from the Miami area were arrested yesterday as they tried to leave the Keys northbound pulling a stolen boat and trailer.

Detectives and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers just happened to be in the area when the theft occurred. Detective Sgt. Al Ramirez saw a Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck pulling a 24.5 foot Edgewater boat as he was on a traffic stop at just north of Mocean Power Sports in Key Largo. He noticed the boat's down riggers were still in the up position, and had flags tied to the tops of them. Knowing that in most cases, a legitimate boat owner would not pull a vessel in this condition, he radioed ahead to officers north of his position. Officers from ICE, who were at the 106 mile marker, pulled the truck over.

31 year old Dagoberto Hernandez of Hialeah and 24 year old Osmel Hernandez Morffi of Miami were in the truck. They refused to make any statements about why they had the boat and trailer. The owner of Mocean Power Sports was contacted. He confirmed the boat and trailer were from his business. Investigations revealed a lock which secured the gate of the property had been removed and the vessel and trailer had been taken from the fenced yard of the business. A pair of bolt cutters were found in the men's truck.

Hernandez and Morffi were both charged with burglary, grand theft, possession of burglary tools and criminal mischief. They were booked into jail.

May 13, 2010

Two men charged with separate cases of rooster baiting / fighting, third wanted on a warrant

Two men were arrested today, charged with separate cases of baiting or fighting roosters. A third man is wanted on an outstanding warrant on the same charge.

At a drug related search warrant served earlier today on Stock Island, in addition to drugs, detectives found approximately 50 chickens at 5531 5th Avenue on Stock Island. Witnesses at the scene said the birds belonged to 20 year old Ricardo Delrio, who was at the scene and was already facing drug charges from the search warrant.

What appeared to be a cock fighting ring was located on the property, along with spurs, spur covers and medications commonly used in cock fighting. A number of roosters among the birds had been mutilated in a way commonly used in fighting roosters – their wattles and combs were cut and breast and leg feathers plucked.

Detective Manuel Cuervo obtained warrants for his arrest on the cock fighting charges. Delrio was charged with cruelty to animals, fighting or baiting animals, possessing equipment used to fight or bait animals and leasing or operating property used to fight or bait animals.

In a separate investigation, 39 year old Jorge Blanco of Rockland Key was charged today with 71 counts of cruelty to animals, with possessing roosters to fight or bait and with owning or leasing property used to fight or bait the birds.

The charges stem from a large number of fighting roosters found on his property Monday by SPCA / Animal Control officers. When they found the birds, they called in Sheriff’s investigators. Detective Manuel Cuervo had warrants issued for Blanco’s arrest. He was booked on the charges today.

A third man, 28 year old Robert Llompart of Stock Island, is currently wanted for cruelty to animals and possessing animals to fight or bait. The charges stem from an animal cruelty complaint from April 28th. When Deputy John McGee arrived on the property with Animal Control officers, there were a number of roosters in cages. They had been visibly mutilated in a way common to cock fighting. In addition, the birds were malnourished, injured as if they’d recently been in a fight and were dehydrated, caged with no water, food or shade.

Investigations by Detective Juan Llera showed the birds belonged to Llompart. A warrant was issued for his arrest. He is currently wanted on that warrant.

All the birds in all three cases were seized by the SPCA.

Search Warrant served on Stock Island – results in drug arrests

Stock Island - Detectives from the Sheriff's Special Investigations Division served a search warrant today on Stock Island, arresting three people on drug charges.

The warrant was served at 7:30 a.m. at 5531 5th Ave on Stock Island. Inside the house, detectives found 20 year old Ricardo Miguel Delrio, 18 year old Roberto Walter Struckus, 45 year old Estrella M Machado Cordova, along with a woman and her two infant children, all Stock Island residents.

Detectives also found 30.9 grams of powder cocaine, 2 large crack cocaine cookies, Marijuana, and $2,048.00 in drug proceeds. Also found next to the residence were approximately 20 chickens that appeared to have been used for fighting. ASPCA responded and took all the chickens.

Delrio was charged with trafficking in cocaine, 3 sale of cocaine warrants and possession of drug paraphernalia; Struckus was charged with sale of cocaine; Cordova was charged with possession of marijuana less than 20 grams.

DCF was notified due to the condition of the residence and all the drugs found near the infants.

All three people were booked into jail. The Special Investigations K-9 Deja located all the narcotics in the residence.

Missing Broward couple found in Marathon

Marathon – Sheriff’s deputies found an elderly couple reported missing from Broward County in the early morning hours today.

A Silver Alert had been issued for the pair when Deputy Martin Malone saw a maroon colored Toyota traveling southbound very slowly and erratically on U.S. One at the 55 mile marker. He stopped the car and, when he ran the tag, the Silver Alert was revealed.

He found the elderly couple in the car. They appeared to be disoriented and confused and didn’t know where they were. An ambulance responded and checked them for injuries. They were reportedly in good health. Their son was notified and said he’d be on his way to pick them up.

In the meantime, Deputy Malone and Key Colony Beach Officer J.C. Smith got the couple something to eat and found them a motel room so they could rest until their son arrived.

Deputy charged with felony crimes

Islamorada – A sheriff’s deputy who allegedly hit his girlfriend and held her against her will for hours has been arrested.

According to the 24 year old victim, she and 32 year old Edgar Pineiro were at the Ocean View Lounge in Islamorada around noon Wednesday when he began yelling at her. They got into his truck to return to his Islamorada home and she said he hit her in the face. She said they got back to his house and he choked her, hit her again and pushed her into a bedroom. She said he took her keys and her phone and made her stay in the bedroom until 6 p.m., when he finally let her leave the house.

The victim called the Sheriff’s Office to report the incident. Deputy Don Dalton responded. He documented bruises on the victim’s neck and a cut on her lip. He also found blood evidence on the center console of Pineiro’s truck. Pineiro was arrested and charged with battery, false imprisonment and tampering with a witness and he was booked into jail.

May 12, 2010

Highway Interdiction Operation

On Monday and Tuesday, Detectives from the Special Investigations Division conducted a 2 day routine highway interdiction operation in the upper keys from mm 106 to mm 93. Participating in the operation were Road Patrol deputies, troopers from the Florida Highway Patrol K-9 Unit, Monroe County HIDTA ,and Immigration Customs Enforcement officers.

During the interdiction, officers stopped 70 vehicles, issued 29 citations, 19 warnings, performed 24 K-9 vehicle searches, and made six arrests on drug related charges, including trafficking in Oxycodone, possession of Xanax and 4 notices to appear in court that were drug related. Several grams of marijuana were also seized.

During the operation, a vehicle driven by 28 year old Maxine Harkness of Arizona was stopped after officers saw that the passenger in the vehicle was not wearing a seatbelt. When officers pulled behind the vehicle to stop it, Harkness slammed on her brakes, almost causing the police vehicle to rear end her car.

A police K-9 alerted on the vehicle. Under the front passenger seat, a pill bottle with 31 Oxycodone pills inside was found. The pills were packaged in three separate plastic bags, as if meant for sale.

The passenger, 27 year old Pedro Kuder of Key Largo, was placed under arrest for trafficking in a controlled substance. Harkness gave permission for detectives to search her purse. In the purse, they found Xanax. She was charged with possession of a controlled substance. They were both taken to jail.

May 11, 2010

New look for the Sheriff's Office

Many people may have noticed the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office has a new look: all-green uniforms. Most Sheriff’s Offices around the state wear green uniform shirts and pants, with patches designating what county they work for. Up until recently, Monroe County was different, wearing white uniform shirts instead. Many deputies expressed concern that these white shirts made them too visible at night, exposing them as a target for the “bad guys”. Due to these concerns, and to bring the agency more in line with other agencies in the state, Sheriff Peryam decided to change to all green uniforms. The uniform change was funded with money forfeited from criminal cases, and did not use any taxpayer funds.

Officers on duty during the day are being allowed to choose to wear white or green shirts; the color white in clothing is cooler, and some are choosing to stay with that color on day-shift. Everyone else – on nights, in Corrections facilities and law enforcement certified administrative staff – will be wearing green uniforms.
In the photo: Employees of the first quarter of 2010 were recently honored at a ceremony in Marathon. Left to right, Explorer Eugene Rihl, Detective Sgt. Dave Carey, Detention Sgt. Mark Lindback, Sheriff’s Aide Val Marinello, Reserve Rose Crum, Colonel Rick Ramsay.

Click here for details of the awards.

Sheriff's Office teams up for Clean Up

On Saturday, MCSO Bureau of Corrections teamed up with Florida's Department of Environmental Protection and Pennecamp Park to conduct a clean up operation on park property in Key Largo. MCSO Lt. James Sheagren, DEP Officer Mike McKay and Park Ranger Ricardo Lujambio are pictured with a team of inmate workers and a fraction of the debris and garbage that was removed from park property.

May 10, 2010

Big Pine Key Kid's Fishing Tournament

The Kids Fishing Tournament held on Big Pine Key recently was a great success. According to Lt. Gene Thompson, 77 kids attended and had a terrific time. Thanks go out to Border Patrol, the SWAT team, the Bomb Squad, Traffic Enforcement and to the many volunteers who turned out. A special thanks to Deputy Linda Kohout w...ho retrieved many of the donations for the event as well as coordinating efforts with Holly at the Barometer newspaper.

Deputy makes two drug arrests in as many days

Stock Island - A deputy on patrol over the weekend made drug arrests on Third Avenue, Stock Island on Sunday and on Monday in the early morning hours.
Deputy Danielle Malone was on patrol Sunday at 1:20 a.m. on Third Avenue when she spotted the dome light on in a car underneath a house. When she investigated further, she found 28 year old Samuel Pizarro sitting in the front seat. He initially said his girlfriend lived in the house and let him use the car to go get cigarettes. When the deputy confronted him with the fact the car was registered to a 78 year old woman, and told Pizarro she was going to knock on the door of the house and talk with his "girlfriend", he changed his story saying his girlfriend was in the hospital.

A search of Pizarro's pockets turned up powdered cocaine and nine Morphine tablets along with a syringe and $279.00 in cash. Pizarro was arrested. On the way to jail, Pizarro told Deputy Malone he was going to "kill a cop" and told her she needed to "pray for yourself". He was charged with possessing a controlled substance, possessing cocaine and possessing drug paraphernalia.

Early today (Monday), Deputy Malone was on patrol on Third Avenue at 2:30 a.m. when she saw two mopeds at the intersection of Second Terrace. One of them ran the stop sign, and the other had a broken turn signal so she pulled them over. 37 year old Stephen Palka was acting nervously, and opened the seat of the moped and was rummaging around. The deputy saw a "slim jim" device used to open car doors and asked him what he had it for. He said he works for a tow company and used it to open car doors when called upon to do so.

Both Palka and the other driver gave consent for the deputy to search their pockets. In Palka's pocket, she found seven crack cocaine rocks packaged individually in small plastic bags. He was arrested. In the moped, in addition to the slim jim, the deputy found a lock picking set. Both items were seized.

Palka was charged with possession of cocaine and he was taken to jail. Assisting in the two cases were Deputies Caridad Bellon and Evan Calhoun.

Security Guard charged with stealing from resort he works for

Islamorada - A security guard for Cheeca Lodge was arrested Saturday after his ex-girlfriend reported he'd been stealing thousands of dollars worth of property from the resort for several months.

She initially reported the crimes to the security manager at the resort and he called the Sheriff's Office. She said her ex-boyfriend, 27 year old Tony Campo, had taken so many things from the resort that he'd "practically decorated his apartment" with them. When detectives went to Campo's apartment at the 88.9 mile marker of the highway, they indeed found a large amount of property which, over several months, had been reported stolen from the Cheeca Lodge, including furniture, rugs, television sets, electronics equipment, paintings, clothing and tools. In addition, they found two paddle boards stolen from Bay and Reef, a water sports company that operates at the resort. The boards had been reported stolen in February.

Detectives estimate that the value of the stolen items is over $50,000.00. When questioned about where the items came from, Campo admitted taking them from the report. He was placed under arrest and charged with two counts of grand theft. More charges are expected this week. He was booked into jail.

May 7, 2010

Couple charged with dealing drugs to undercover operative

Key West - A Stock Island couple were arrested Thursday afternoon after they sold 100 Roxicodone pills to an undercover operative.

As detectives with the Sheriff's Special Investigations Division observed from a distance, the operative spoke with 47 year old Milagros Menendez, arranging to meet in a parking lot on North Roosevelt Boulevard to make the transaction. At the meeting time, Menendez instructed the operative to meet her husband to pick up the drugs.

Money was exchanged for the pills and detectives moved in. They arrested both Menendez and her husband, 59 year old Ernesto Grimon Hernandez. They were both charged with trafficking in a controlled substance. She was further charged with two outstanding warrants for sale of a controlled substance for drug deals she made previous to this case. Both were booked into jail.

May 6, 2010

Search warrant on Stock Island results in 4 drug arrests

Stock Island - Sheriff's Special Investigations Detectives served a search warrant at 6 a.m. today on Stock Island.

The residence where the warrant was served was #10 7th Avenue. In the back yard of the residence, members of the Sheriff's Office Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team found 21 year old Antwan Anglin and 24 year old Marvin Wilcox, both were in the process of smoking a marijuana cigarette. As the team approached, they saw Anglin stuffing what turned out to be a plastic bag of marijuana down into the couch he was sitting on. Anglin also had $452.00 in cash in his possession.

Inside, detectives found 26 year old Dexter Shelton sleeping on a couch with crack cocaine on the windowsill beside him. 28 year old Brandi Allen was sleeping in a bedroom with a small child; there were two more small children in other bedrooms. Allen had two arrest warrants for her for sale of cocaine within 1000 feet of a public park. She'd sold the illegal substances at an earlier date to an undercover operative. She was arrested. Cocaine was found in two purses she said belonged to her, so she faces more charges as a result. More cash - $855.00 - was found in a pair of shoes which no one claimed ownership of.


Anglin and Wilcox were charged with possession of marijuana, Allen and Shelton were charged with possession of crack cocaine. A Sheriff's Office K-9 team assisted in locating the rugs. The children were turned over to family members and the Department of Children and Families was notified of the children's presence in the home, and will follow up on this investigation.

Man charged with two armed robberies

Key Largo - A Key Largo man is in custody this morning, charged with armed robbery of two convenience stores overnight. Sheriff's deputies arrested 22 year old Justin Donehoo at 2:45 p.m. after he fled the scene of the second armed robbery in a green Ford Explorer.

Donehoo, a Key Largo resident, is accused of robbing the Tom Thumb store at the 104.7 mile marker of the highway at 1:45 a.m. at gunpoint. The clerk called to report the robbery and said a man with curly blonde hair, wearing blue jeans and a gray T-shirt fled from the store. As deputies began searching the area around the store and began interviewing the clerk a second call came in. The Tom Thumb convenience store at the 102.6 mile marker of the highway had just been robbed. The suspect's description was similar to the previous robbery.

As deputies interviewed the clerks, they obtained a possible vehicle description: a dark colored sport utility vehicle. A notice to be on the lookout for such a vehicle, possibly driven by a young blond man armed with a handgun, was put out on police radios. As some officers sped to surrounding convenience stores to make sure they were secure, other deputies began looking for a similar vehicle.

Deputy Michael Sielicki was at the 99 mile marker when he spotted a dark colored SUV pulling out from Ocean Drive southbound on U.S. One. The vehicle spun it's tires as it pulled out. When the deputy pulled behind it, the vehicle abruptly turned onto Laguna Avenue. Deputy Sielicki stopped the vehicle and found Donehoo behind the wheel; he matched the suspect description and a black colored handgun was on the passenger side floor board.

The victims were able to identify Donehoo as the man who robbed both stores. Surveillance tapes confirmed the identification. As Donehoo was handcuffed and put into the back of a patrol car he spit repeatedly at Deputy Sielicki.

Deputy Darnell Durham transported Donehoo. On the way to jail, Donehoo began yelling racial epithets at him, then began banging his head against the vehicle's partition. The deputy warned him to stop or he would be Tased. Donehoo continued to bang his head, so Deputy Durham stopped the car and deployed his Taser to keep Donehoo from hurting himself further. Donehoo was then quietly transported the rest of the way to the jail.

Once at the jail, Donehoo was charged with two counts of armed robbery, two counts of battery on a law enforcement officer and resisting arrest. Donehoo was booked into jail, issued an inmate uniform and placed into a single person cell at the facility. Just minutes after being placed in the cell, as Detention Deputy Marcus Lott did a routine check of his cell they found he had removed his uniform pants and had tied them around his neck and around the bunk bed in the cell. Deputy Lott rushed into cell and immediately untied the pants and lowered him to the ground. He appeared to be unconscious and not breathing. Immediately after being lowered to the ground Donehoo took a breath and began breathing normally.

Donehoo was transported to Mariner's Hospital to be checked for any injury that needed treating. He was released from the hospital a short time later. He was transported to the Key West jail, a more secure facility fully staffed by a medical unit where he could be placed on suicide watch to prevent further such attempts.

May 5, 2010

A special new addition, just in time for Mother’s Day!

Our pair of sloths at the Sheriff’s Animal Farm has become a threesome, just in time for Mother’s Day!

On March 21st, Maggie gave birth to a new baby. The proud parents, two-toed sloths named Maggie and Moe, joined the farm in early 2009 and are obviously happy to be here.

Since Farmer Jeanne and Farm Veterinarian Doug Mader have not yet been able to tell if it is a girl or a boy, the new addition has been given the androgynous moniker “Syd”. For the young, and young at heart, you might recognize the name as that of the sloth in the movie “Ice Age”. Syd spends most of his/her time clinging to Mom as she climbs around upside down in her habitat at the farm.

Everyone is invited to welcome the new addition, and to celebrate Mother’s Day with all the animals at the Animal Farm on Sunday, May 9th from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m. It is a terrific family activity that is free of charge. Of course, the farm welcomes cash donations to support the animals and to maintain their habitats.


The farm is located just off of College Road, on Stock Island, at the Sheriff’s Office Headquarters complex. Groups may schedule special tours at the farm by calling Farmer Jeanne Selander at 305-293-7300.

Child Abduction Response Team Exercise

Sheriff's Office and many other agencies participated in a Child Abduction Response Team exercise today in the upper Keys. The CART team is trained to immediately begin investigating when a child is kidnapped. The exercise simulated an abduction, detectives investigated and the victims were found alive by search and rescue dogs in Harry Harris Park.

Special thanks to the many agencies who participated in the exercise - too many to name here - and to Papa's Javas and Centennial Bank for providing food and refreshments for the exercise today.