The neighbor called the Sheriff’s Office at 2 p.m. to report seeing the three men picking coconuts. He saw them move a pump jack, and then, when they drove away, he noticed the pump jack was gone. He described them as three Hispanic men, and told dispatchers they were traveling in a large van with an unusual small window in the rear.
A couple of hours later, the van, a 1999 Dodge Ram2500, was spotted at Dion’s Quick Mart on 63rd Street in Marathon. Deputy Joshua Brady and Sgt. Ken Fricke responded and asked the men if they’d taken anything besides coconuts during the course of the day. They denied taking anything and gave the deputy permission to search the van.
In the back of the van, Deputy Brady found a large number of coconuts. Sgt. Fricke estimated 4,000 coconuts were in the van weighing several tons. Underneath the coconuts, he found two milk crates. In the milk crates he found two roosters, with combs, waddles and spurs cut off, as if they’d been prepared for fighting. There was no food, and no water in the van for the birds.
The jack was not found, however due to the eyewitness account of what happened, the three men were arrested. The were positively identified by the witness as them men he saw at his neighbor’s house earlier in the day.
56 year old Martin DeDelgado, 58 year old Angel Aportela and 56 year old Adalberto Martin, all of Miami, were charged with grand theft and possession of an animal to use for fighting or baiting. Aportela was also charged with an outstanding warrant out of Miami-Dade County for three counts of Sexual Battery. All three were booked into jail.