September 28, 2012

Crime Stoppers tip leads to last handgun

A Crime stoppers tip led Sheriff’s detectives this afternoon to the location of the last missing firearm, stolen from a Sheriff’s patrol vehicle this week.

A caller to the Crime Stoppers hot line directed detectives to the house where Kalvin Cowger lives on West Sandy Circle, Big Pine Key. Cowger’s mother gave detectives consent to search for the .45 Caliber Glock handgun and it was located there and recovered.

More charges are pending in the case, but now all the equipment stolen from the patrol vehicle has been recovered.

“We want to thank Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys for their help with this case. Their commitment to the safety of the community is clear and their partnership with our agency, and other law enforcement agencies is a true asset,” said Colonel Rick Ramsay. “I also want to thank all of the deputies and detectives who literally worked night and day to make sure we recovered all the stolen guns and equipment.”

Second man charged in connection with stolen firearms

A second person has been arrested and faces charges connected to the firearms stolen from a Sheriff’s Office patrol car earlier this week. One of the two missing handguns has been recovered. Crime Stoppers is offering a substantial reward for information leading to recovery of the second handgun.

On Thursday, Detective David Brummer received a phone call from a man who said he had a .40 caliber Glock handgun he bought from 26 year old Anthony Ostrander. He said he’d just heard on the radio about the patrol car burglary where a similar weapon was stolen and was concerned the gun he bought might be one of the stolen handguns. He met with Detective Brummer and handed over the weapon, which did turn out to be one stolen from the patrol vehicle.

The man told Detective Brummer he received a call on Tuesday from Ostrander. He said Ostrander told him he had two guns to sell. He met with Ostrander and Kalvin Cowger in the parking lot of Winn Dixie on Big Pine Key. Ostrander was driving a white Toyota pickup truck. He said the two men showed him a .40 caliber and a .45 caliber Glock. He said he bought the .40 caliber for $300.00.

This morning, based on the man’s information, Detective Brummer obtained a warrant for Ostrander’s arrest for dealing in stolen property. He stopped Ostrander in his white Toyota truck near the 7 mile marker of the highway. Ostrander has a suspended driver’s license and had attached a tag to the vehicle which was not assigned to it. Inside the truck he had a pipe like those commonly used to smoke marijuana.

Ostrander was arrested. He was charged with dealing in stolen property, driving with his license suspended, attaching a tag not assigned and possession of drug paraphernalia.

“Our detectives have gone all out to solve this case and get the stolen weapons and equipment off the street,” said Colonel Rick Ramsay. “Their hard work has resulted in two arrests and the recovery of almost all the items stolen. Our thanks go out to Crime Stoppers for assisting with the case and to the community, particularly those people who came forward with information. Working together, we got this done quickly,” he said.

One weapon from the vehicle burglary – the .45 caliber Glock - has still not been recovered and both Ostrander and Cowger continue to deny knowing where it is. Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys is offering a $500.00 reward to anyone who calls in information which leads to the recovery of the weapon. Callers who wish to remain anonymous can call the Crime Stoppers hot line number at 1-800-346-TIPS. Tips may also be submitted anonymously on line at

September 27, 2012

Search warrant on Big Pine Key

Big Pine Key -  The Sheriff's Special Weapons and Tactics Team, Special Investigations detectives, and the Drug Enforcement Administration executed a search warrant on Big Pine Key today at 6:30 A.M.

The warrant was served at 31235 Avenue E, on Big Pine Key. Inside the residence detectives located 20 year old Kyle M. Martinez and three other people. A search of the residence revealed 45 crack cocaine rocks 27.6 grams of powder cocaine, 3.5 grams of marijuana, 21 unknown pills and several bongs and scales with drug residue..

Martinez was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. Other charges are still pending

September 26, 2012

Suspect in custody for patrol car burglary

A Big Pine Key teen is in custody, charged with burglarizing a Sheriff’s Office patrol car and stealing guns, ammunition and tactical gear.

The M4 rifle and equipment were recovered overnight after a witness called in a Crime Stoppers tip, reporting that 17 year old Kalvin Cowger showed her the bag with the stolen items inside. Cowger told her he was going to trade it for drugs. He later told the witness he traded the rifle and bag to a Big Pine Key man for pills.

Detective David Brummer went to the Big Pine man’s house and asked him if he had the stolen items. The man was cooperative and allowed the detective to search his house. Inside, Detective Brummer located the M4 rifle and the SWAT gear bag. The man confirmed he received the items from Cowger, but said he didn’t know the items were stolen.

Another witness came forward today. He said he saw Cowger on September 24th at about 5 p.m. He said Cowger offered to sell him two handguns. He said he refused to buy the guns. The two handguns have still not been recovered.

Detective Brummer later set up an interview with Cowger, who denied knowing anything about the burglary or the stolen items. Cowger was arrested. He was charged with possession of stolen property and theft. More charges and more arrests may be pending.

Detectives are still investigating. The two handguns – a .40 caliber Glock and a .45 caliber Glock – are still missing. Anyone who knows where the guns are should call the Sheriff’s Office immediately at 305-289-2351.

The witness who came forward with information which led to the arrest of 17 year old Kalvin Cowger for stealing guns and equipment from the Sheriff’s Office patrol car will be receiving $1,000.00 from Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys.

“Our thanks go out to Crime Stoppers, for offering this reward and to the woman who came forward with information in this case. She should be commended for her actions,” said Sheriff Bob Peryam. “Her information helped to get this equipment off the streets and helped us find the suspect. We appreciate her assistance, and her concern for the safety of the people who live here.”

Equipment recovered from burglarized patrol car

An automatic rifle, ammunition and Special Weapons and Tactics gear stolen from a Sheriff’s Office marked patrol car were recovered overnight during the course of an active investigation into the vehicle burglary.

The Sheriff’s Office received information overnight which led to the recovery of the  M4 rifle, the ammunition stolen from the car and the SWAT tactical gear. Two handguns – a Glock .40 caliber and a Glock .45 caliber – are still missing. Detectives are continuing their investigation today, working to identify a suspect and recover the other weapons.

“We are optimistic that we will make an arrest in this case and recover the other weapons,” said Sheriff Bob Peryam. “We have committed all available resources to making sure these weapons are taken off the street and that someone is held responsible for this crime.”

Anyone with information which could help lead to an arrest should call the Sheriff’s Office immediately at 305-289-2351. Callers who wish to remain anonymous can contact Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. Crime Stoppers has designated the maximum reward of $1,000.00 to any tipster with information leading to an arrest in the case. The Crime Stoppers hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS. Tips can be submitted on line at

September 25, 2012

Sergeant’s patrol car burglarized on Big Pine Key

A Sheriff’s Office patrol car, parked at the Big Pine Key residence of a Sheriff’s Office sergeant was burglarized. Guns and tactical gear were stolen from inside and from the trunk of the car.

Sgt. Ken Fricke, who is also a member of the agency’s Special Weapons and Tactics Team, said he walked out to his car at 9 a.m. today and discovered it had been burglarized. His personal handgun – a .40 caliber Glock – was missing from the center console. He said he last saw the handgun on Sunday evening.

Also missing from the vehicle was an automatic rifle – a Colt M4 with a scope – and a second handgun, a .45 caliber Glock pistol. A bag with all of his SWAT gear was also gone, including a bullet resistant vest, helmet, padding and other items. Ammunition for all three guns was also taken from the vehicle.

Detectives and a Crime Scene investigator responded and processed the vehicle for evidence. It is unknown, at this time, how suspects gained access to the vehicle. The neighborhood was canvassed for anyone who may have seen anything. Sgt. Fricke said he did hear his dogs bark between 2 and 2:30 this morning, but did not look outside. The investigation is active and ongoing at this time.

State law prohibits the release of a law enforcement officers home address, so the exact location of the crime is being withheld.

Anyone with any information about this case is asked to report it immediately at 305-289-2351. Detective David Brummer is the lead investigator. Callers who wish to remain anonymous can contact Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. If a Crime Stoppers tip leads to an arrest, the caller would be eligible for a $1,000.00 cash reward. The Crime Stoppers hot line is 1-800-346-TIPS or tips can be submitted on line at

Marathon man arrested for lewd behavior with two young girls

A Marathon man is in jail, charged with acting lewdly toward two young girls.

Both girls approached School Resource Sergeant Glenn Test at school in Marathon and told him 56 year old Benjamin Aquino had, on separate occasions, touched them inappropriately and attempted to kiss them.

One victim, who was 12 years old at the time the incident occurred, said she was staying in the same house with him when he started talking with her about her breasts, asking to see them. She said he approached her and put his hand on her leg. She said he moved his hand up her leg asking her if it made her uncomfortable.

The other victim was 14 years old when Aquino began trying to kiss her when no one else was in the room. She said he asked to see her bathing suit which she was wearing under her clothes and tried to take her shirt off when she refused to show it to him.

Sgt. Test obtained warrants for Aquino’s arrest and on Monday, he was arrested. He was charged with two counts of lewd and lascivious behavior in the presence of minors and he was booked into jail.

Man arrested for obscene “chatting” with a child on line

A 46 year old man from Miami is in jail today charged with communicating in an obscene manner with someone he thought was a 14 year old girl on line.

In March, Major Crimes Detective Dan Mehler worked on an operation with the South Florida Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC) to target adults using the internet to contact, communicate and meet up with children. During the course of the operation, one of the task force detectives was “chatting” on line, posing as a 14 year old girl.

46 year old Alberto Hernandez made contact with the “girl”, and had a conversation with her on his web camera. Their conversations continued on later dates, with Hernandez getting more sexually explicit as their conversations progressed. At one point, he proposed coming to Monroe County to meet with the girl.

Subsequent investigations revealed his home address. His identity was confirmed as the same person who communicated obscenely with someone he thought was a 14 year old girl. A warrant was issued for his arrest. On Monday, Hernandez turned himself in to the Monroe County jail. He was charged with using a computer to seduce and lure a child. His bond is set at $75,000.00.

September 24, 2012

Marathon man charged with beating ex-girlfriend, holding her against her will

A Marathon man, angry because his ex-girlfriend had obtained a order for protection against domestic violence to keep him away from her, was arrested for beating and choking her, and holding her against her will while her four children slept in the same residence.

The victim told Deputy Anthony O’Dea she heard a noise outside her apartment at 240 Sombrero Road at about 2 a.m. Sunday, then heard the voice of 19 year old Arielti Herrera outside the rear of the apartment. She said he forced his way inside, hitting her numerous times. She said over the next several hours, he locked her cell phone so she couldn’t call for help and beat her, choked her and held a knife to her chest threatening to kill her.

At 6 a.m., he forced her to drive him to 20th Street where he works on a commercial fishing boat. He hit her again and told him if she called the cops he would kill her. He got on board the boat he works on and she drove home and called the Sheriff’s Office.

The victim told Deputy O’Dea the entire time Herrera was holding her against her will and beating her, her four children, all under the age of 7, were upstairs sleeping.

Deputy O’Dea repeatedly returned to the area of 20th Street throughout his work day, finally catching Herrera as his boat docked shortly after 2 p.m. Herrera was charged with armed burglary of an occupied dwelling, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, domestic battery by strangulation and false imprisonment. He was booked into jail.

September 20, 2012

Sheriff's Animal Farm open Sunday, September 23rd

The Sheriff's Animal Farm will be open this Sunday September 23rd, between 1 - 3 p.m. Bring the family and come visit the animals at the farm, including horses, a cow, pigs, goats, bunnies, alligators, tropical birds, a Kinkajou, Sloths, a Lemur, Kramer the Emu, a family of Patagonian Cavys, tortoises and turtles, snakes and many more. It is free of charge (donations are welcome).

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.

Man arrested for sexual battery on little girl

Key Largo – A Key Largo man is under arrest, charged with sexually molesting a young girl.

The girl, who is now in her teens, told detectives from the Sheriff’s Major Crimes Unit that 50 year old Juan Carlos Molina molested her repeatedly between June of 2005 and January of 2007 when she was between the ages of 8 and 10.

She said the molestation stopped when she and her family moved away from Key Largo. She said he contacted her recently, and she and her family met with him briefly in Homestead. She said the visit made her very uncomfortable and, afterward, she decided to tell her mother what had happened.

After investigating the case, detectives obtained a warrant for Molina’s arrest. He was picked up by Miccosukee Police, then was brought back to Monroe County Wednesday to face charges. Molina is charged with three counts sexual battery on a child; three counts lewd and lascivious molestation of a child and one count lewd and lascivious exhibition.

Dog found submerged in water, in a cage

Big Coppitt Key – A dog was found dead in the water off Big Coppitt Key Wednesday. It was in a cage and had not been dead for very long.

A man called Sheriff’s Office dispatchers to report finding the dead animal. He said he’d been jogging along Boca Chica Road about 5:30 p.m. when he saw what looked like a cage with an animal in it. It was in the water on the right hand side of the first bridge on the roadway.

Deputy John Gabay responded, along with Florida Keys SPCA Officer Jared Daeffler. They pulled the cage from the water. Inside was a dog, approximately 30 pounds. The dog was tan and white in color with a white belly and was wearing a purple fabric collar. The dog may have been some type of spaniel. It had not been in the water long.

The dog’s body was taken back to the animal control building on Stock Island.

Anyone with information about who the dog may have belonged to, or how the dog wound up in the water should contact the Sheriff’s Office at 289-2351 or FKSPCA at 305-294-4857.

Detectives caution people about ongoing scam

Sheriff’s detectives say they have two more reports of a scam in which people received phone calls about injured loved ones along with a request for money to make sure they remain safe.

On September 7th, a Tavernier man received a call. The caller had a  Hispanic accent, was loud, profane and said he had the victim’s brother. He said the brother had been involved in an accident and was now being held captive. He said “they” would kill the brother unless the victim came up with $2,000.00.

The victim was instructed to go to a local Publix grocery store and send the money via money order to Puerto Rico. The man would not allow the victim to hang up the phone, so he stayed on the phone and drove to his brother’s house, which was just a short distance away. His brother was home, safe, and unaware of the phone call. When the caller was confronted with being a fraud, he hung up.

Detective Yunier Galvez has been assigned to investigate the case.

On September 12th, a Stock Island man received a call from a man who said his son had been in an accident on a moped. The caller said “they” did not want the police involved, and wanted money for the moped. The caller said they were holding his son, who was injured, and would let him go once they received $1,500.00 sent to Puerto Rico via Western Union. The victim said he only had $600.00. The caller agreed to that amount.

Like the previous report, the caller would not let the man off the phone until he sent the money. The victim in this case did wire the money. The caller insisted he stay on the phone the entire time. As the victim was driving home, he saw his son driving to Stock Island and stopped, realizing he’d been scammed.

The son told deputies he’d received the same call, only the caller said his father had been in an accident and was injured. When the son said he had no money, the caller put him on hold, then returned to the phone. The caller told him his father said there was jewelry at their house he could pawn. The son got the jewelry, pawned it, and then wired the money as instructed. The entire time, he was instructed to remain on the phone. The caller said if he hung up, they would assume he was calling police and they would kill his father.

Once the father and son found each other, they realized they’d been scammed and called the Sheriff’s Office.

Detective David Cruz is investigating.

September 19, 2012

Man found offshore of Ballast Key is identified

Key West – Sheriff’s detectives have identified the man whose body was found floating just offshore of Ballast Key September 3rd.

The man has been identified as 28 year old Erik Jenkinson of Arlington, Massachusetts. Detectives matched fingerprints taken from the body with fingerprints from arrest records from Allentown, Pennsylvania.

On August 31st, Sgt. Tom Walker took a report of a pickup truck which was found burned on Calle Dos, on Rockland Key. The truck appeared to have crashed into a wooded area and the fire had destroyed all identifying markers, including the vehicle identification number on the dash and on the driver’s side door.

The truck was towed by Alex’s Towing. The two company located a partially burned piece of the truck’s registration and sent a letter to the address on the paperwork. When Jenkinson’s family got the letter, they called the Sheriff’s Office to find out more information.

The family said their son had been missing for a few weeks; they said he has a medical condition and would sometimes take long trips, but he was supposed to be in Massachusetts for a family activity and had not shown up.

They described their son to Major Crimes Detective Manny Cuervo, who noted many similarities with the body that had been found. The family told Detective Cuervo their son did have an arrest record, and had been fingerprinted.

The fingerprint comparison confirmed the identification of Jenkinson.

Detective Cuervo says he would still like to find out how Jenkinson wound up in the water and will continue to investigate the case. He said the autopsy showed no signs of foul play, but he would like to know what happened to Jenkinson in the hours and days before his death.

Anyone with any information should contact the Sheriff’s Office at 305-289-2351. Callers who wish to remain anonymous can contact Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. The Crime Stoppers hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS. Tips may also be submitted on line at

September 17, 2012

Miami man arrested for reckless driving on motorcycle

A 27 year old Miami man was arrested Saturday afternoon for reckless driving on a motorcycle. He had a suspended driver’s license and was also a habitual traffic offender.

Ovidio Cabrera was first spotted at 1:40 p.m. by Florida Highway Patrol troopers at the 111 mile marker southbound. He was traveling at a speed of 124 miles per hour in a 55 mile per hour zone. The troopers called Sheriff’s Office dispatchers, who let deputies know to be on the lookout for the vehicle, a 2009 green Kawasaki motorcycle. The bike’s driver was bald, with facial hair and extensive tattoos. He was not wearing a helmet. The bike’s passenger, a woman, had a bright pink backpack on, making the vehicle easy to spot.

Cabrera continued driving at excessive, dangerous speeds from Key Largo to Big Pine Key, refusing to stop for numerous deputies who attempted to stop him along the way.

Cabrera finally pulled over on Big Pine Key when Deputy Chris Duncan got behind him and turned on his lights and siren.

A check on Cabrera’s name revealed his license had been indefinitely suspended and he was designated by a judge as a habitual traffic offender. His female passenger told Deputy Duncan she was frightened by his driving and had been trying to get him to stop and let her off the motorcycle.

Cabrera was arrested. He was charged with fleeing and eluding police, reckless driving and driving with his license suspended. His motorcycle was seized and he was booked into jail.

Two caught with large number of short wrung tails

A Sheriff’s Marine Patrol deputy, working with Fish and Wildlife officers, arrested two men with a large number of wrung tails, most of which were also illegal size.

Deputy Wilfredo Guerra spotted a vessel just after 4 a.m. Sunday approaching shore at the north end of Marathon with no running lights. He saw two men get off the vessel carrying a large grey box.

Deputy Guerra approached 41 year old Ernesto Rua Pinera of Homestead and 26 year old Raudel Rubio of Marathon and asked to check inside the box. He found 332 wrung lobster tails. 304 of the tails turned out to be undersized.

Both men were arrested. They were charged with possessing 332 wrung tails and 304 undersized tails. They were booked into jail. The lobster tails were turned over to FWC to be kept in their evidence facility.

September 15, 2012

Inmate dies of natural causes

A Monroe County jail inmate who was terminally ill and under hospice care while incarcerated, died of natural  causes early today.

40 year old Ramon Fidler was pronounced dead just before 2 a.m. in the Sick Bay unit of the Stock Island Detention Center.

Fidler was arrested May 22, 2012 after threatening someone with a knife at Independence Cay, the homeless shelter in Marathon. He was in jail on charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and disorderly intoxication.

September 14, 2012

SRO Unit looks sharp during unit inspection

 The School Resource Unit looked sharp recently during a formal inspection held in Marathon. The unit has officers assigned to five schools in the county. SRO deputies are charged with patrolling the schools, interacting with students, assisting school administrators and teaching a Project Alert class which addresses many issues, including resisting peer pressure to drink alcohol and do drugs, bullying prevention, what alcohol, tobacco and drugs do to a person’s body, and much more.  In the top photo, left to right, Dep. James Jenkins, Coral Shores High School; Dep. Larry O’Neill, Plantation Key School; Dep. Will Schlegelmilch, Key Largo School; Dep. Sonya Morgan, Sugarloaf School and Sgt. Glenn Test, who heads up the unit and also works at Marathon High School.

In the photos to the left, SRO Deputies Morgan and Jenkins have their vehicles inspected.

Corrections recruits look sharp

Corrections Academy recruits looked sharp as they stood at attention at the back of the room throughout the recent quarterly employee awards ceremony. Looking good people!

Detective honored for work on task force

Detective Dan Mehler was honored for his work on a task force which targeted people exploiting children on the internet. Present to thank him for his work were two detectives from Broward County who worked with him on the effort.

Employees honored for work at deadly boat crash

Deputies Vincent Weiner, Lissette Zuelch, Spenser Bryan and Andrew Hudson were recognized at a recent ceremony for their quick action when responding to a deadly boating accident offshore of Stock Island.

Employees of the Second Quarter honored

Employees of the second quarter were recently honored at a ceremony held in Marathon: Left to right, Detention Deputy Peco Broussard, Reserve Deputy James Aurelio, Support Member Ardie Woodward, Detective Dan Mehler, Explorer Amberlyn Casas with Sheriff Bob Peryam.

Search warrant results in drug arrests

Stock Island - The Sheriff's Special Weapons and Tactics Team, Special Investigations detectives, and patrol deputies executed a search warrant Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at an apartment complex on 3rd Avenue, Stock Island.

The warrant was served at 5312 3rd Avenue, at the Wilson Apartments on Stock Island. In the apartment, detectives located Marvin Brent Wilcox, Sean Nesbitt, Angelina Pulido and two other men. A search of the residence contained a crack cocaine lab.

In the microwave was a ceramic cup full of crack cocaine in liquid form weighing 89.3 grams. Detectives also located 23 crack cocaine rocks, a small amount of marijuana, and $2,715 in suspected drug proceeds.

A  check on Nesbitt’s name revealed an active warrant from Miami Dade County for Grand Theft. He is also wanted for questioning in a homicide that occurred in Miami. Nesbitt had a second warrant out of Monroe County for violation of probation on a drug charge.

Wilcox, 27 years old, was arrested and charged with possession of cocaine. Nesbitt, 26 years old, was arrested and charged with the two warrants and possession of marijuana. Pulido, 20 years old, was arrested and charged with possession of drug paraphernalia.

All three were booked into jail.

September 13, 2012

House fire on Lower Matecumbe Key

Lower Matecumbe -  A house caught fire and burned Wednesday on Lower Matecumbe Key.

Deputies and firefighters responded to 106 Madeira Court at 4:30 p.m. to reports of a fire. When Deputy Dave Stark arrived, he found the house engulfed in flames.

Deputy Nestor Argote spoke with the owner, 71 year old Sergio Felipe, who said he thinks the fire started in a generator on the south side of the building. Deputy Argote offered to contact the Red Cross to obtain assistance for Felipe, but Felipe refused, saying he had family and friends on the way to assist.

The fire was extinguished by 6:30 p.m.

September 12, 2012

Funeral Services for retired deputy

Services for retired Deputy Steve Kalogeras will be held on Saturday, September 15th at Byers Funeral Home at the 101 mile marker of Highway U.S. One. Viewing will be held from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. with the services beginning at 1 p.m. 

Truck driver arrested for marijuana, methamphetamine

Marathon – The driver of a semi-tractor trailer truck was arrested Tuesday for possessing marijuana and methamphetamine.

Deputy Mark Jones was on patrol just after 10 a.m. the 1995 Kenworth truck which was pulling a 53 foot trailer. The truck was blocking the southbound lanes of the highway at 39th Street and U.S. One.

He asked the driver to move his truck and he complied. The deputy then asked the driver for all of his documentation. He provided a North Carolina commercial driver’s license identifying him as 50 year old Bradley Beal.

Beal was acting nervously during the encounter with Deputy Jones, as if he had something concealed in his clothing. The deputy found two pipes in his pockets, like those used to smoke marijuana and methamphetamine. He then found a plastic bag concealed in Bradley’s pants with both drugs inside. Beal had .5 grams of methamphetamine and 10 grams of marijuana.

Beal was arrested. He was charged with possession of both illegal substances and with possession of drug paraphernalia. He was booked into jail.

September 11, 2012

Child Abduction Response Team exercise planned

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Major Crimes Unit, in conjunction with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, will conduct a mock Child Abduction Response Team (CART)drill, on Tuesday September 18, 2012.

The exercise will be conducted within the City of Marathon and will be limited to that area. The Sheriff’s Office and FDLE have conducted two similar exercises in the past, one in Key Largo and this past year in the Key West and Lower Keys area.

The purpose of the drill is the same as if a hospital, or airport would conduct a disaster drill. It helps to identify weaknesses and areas the team can improve on, but most importantly demonstrates to the personnel participating, a sense of confidence and knowledge which will make an actual incident run smoother and more efficiently.

CART teams have been set up across the country in an effort to quickly and effectively respond to child abductions. Monroe County’s CART team underwent initial training in the spring of 2007 and have been undergoing continuing training since then.

“We hope the need will never come, but should such a nightmare arise, we want to have a team that is prepared to work quickly,” said Sheriff Bob Peryam. “By practicing our response ahead of time, and knowing what needs to be done, we stand a much better chance of bringing an abducted child home safely,” he said.   

According to statistics by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, 91% of abducted children are killed within 24 hours of being taken. That is why the first hours of a child abduction are crucial, and it is extremely important for law enforcement to respond quickly, and to bring all their resources to bear as soon as possible after the abduction occurs.  By practicing the response to a child abduction, all the agencies involved make sure they know one another, and make sure they know what is expected from them in a real event.

Agencies which participate in the Monroe County CART team include:

·         Monroe County Sheriff’s Office
·         Florida Department of Law Enforcement
·         Federal Bureau of Investigation
·         Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
·         Florida Department of Children and Families
·         Florida Department of Corrections
·         Florida Keys Children’s Shelter
·         High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area group
·         Islamorada Fire Rescue
·         Immigration and Customs Enforcement
·         Key Largo Fire Rescue
·         Marathon Fire Rescue
·         Monroe County Fire Rescue
·         Islamorada Fire Rescue
·         Islamorada K-9 Search and Rescue Team
·         Monroe County State Attorney’s Office
·         Key West Police Department
·         United States Coast Guard Auxiliary

Retired deputy passes away

A member of our Sheriff’s Office family has passed away. Our thoughts are with the family of retired Deputy Steve Kalogeras, who died Monday afternoon at Baptist Hospital.

Steve was shot in the line of duty in January of 1989 while responding to a burglary in progress in Key Largo. He returned to work five months later. He then collapsed after having a heart attack in July of 2006, while working the upper Keys Fourth of July parade.

In the photo, Deputy Steve Kalogeras receiving a purple heart ribbon from Sheriff Rick Roth in October of 1991.

September 9, 2012

Detectives still seeking help identifying dead man

Key West – Sheriff’s detectives are still seeking help identifying a man found dead just offshore of Ballast Key this week. They are hoping someone will recognize a drawing of the large tattoo the man had on his upper left arm.

A passing boater spotted the body and called the Coast Guard Monday evening.
The body was floating about 100 yards offshore of Ballast Key in about 5 – 6 feet of water.

The Coast Guard responded and recovered the body from the water, bringing it back to the Coast Guard base in Key West.

An autopsy performed by the Monroe County Medical Examiner’s Office showed no obvious signs of foul play, said Detective Manny Cuervo who is the lead investigator assigned to the case.

Detective Cuervo says the man had no clothing on, and no identification. So far, the detective has found no missing persons reports that fit the man’s description.

The autopsy refined the descriptors released earlier in the week. The dead man is a white male, between 20 and 30 years of age. He is about 6 feet tall and slim, weighing perhaps 140  pounds. He has brown hair with some sun bleaching. The hair is cut very short – in a crew cut type style. He had several days worth of thin beard growth on his face, and had been in the water a short time – two days at the most, according to the detective.

The man had what Detective Cuervo describes as a “tribal” type tattoo on his upper left arm.

Anyone who has any information which might help identify this man should contact the Sheriff’s Office at 305-289-2351. Callers who wish to remain anonymous can contact Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. The Crime Stoppers hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS. Tips may be submitted on line at

September 7, 2012

Farmer Jeanne goes to the Everglades

 Animal Farm Supervisor Jeanne Selander made a trip, recently to the Everglades with Dr. Doug Mader. She visited the Everglades Alligator Farm and Everglades Outpost with Gator Bob and Chris Gillette of the “Gator Boys” television show; took an airboat tour of the area around Turkey Point with famed Crocodile Biologist Joe Wasilewski and got to participate in the tagging and releasing of baby Crocodiles. While there, she traded one of the Farm’s large alligators for a smaller one which will be better for display at the farm and when she attends community events. Top, the baby alligator for the farm; middle, Jeanne petting an endangered Florida Panther cub. Bottom, Gator Bob takes the bigger alligator in trade from Farmer Jeanne.

The Animal Farm is open to the public this Sunday from 1 - 3 p.m. It is located underneath the Sheriff's Office Detention Center, off of College Road on Stock Island. It is free of charge; donations are welcome. All donations are used toward the upkeep and feeding of the animals.

September 6, 2012

Detectives solve crime before it is reported

Sheriff’s detectives were on the ball recently, solving a crime before it was even reported by the victim.

Detective Diane Mimosa was working a burglary and theft case on Big Pine Key. During the course of that investigation, she obtained information that 26 year old Andrew Cumpston may have stolen tools from his employer and pawned them at a local pawn shop. She approached the possible victim, asking him to check to see if he was missing any of his property. The victim checked his property and discovered he was missing a number of tools and a tent. He said Cumpston works for him and he’d stayed with him at his house on occasion.

Detective Mimosa and Detective David Brummer took pictures of the tools pawned at the pawn shop by Cumpston. The owner of the pawn shop said Cumpston told him they were his. The items were identified by the victim as his.

Detective Mimosa asked Cumpston about the items he pawned. He admitted they came from his employer, but said he had permission to sell them. The victim said he never gave Cumpston permission to sell his property.

On Wednesday, Cumpston was arrested on outstanding warrants for fraud, grand theft and dealing in stolen property. He was booked into jail.

September 5, 2012

Operation checks alcohol sales to minors

On August 31, 2012 the Sheriff’s Office Special Investigations Division conducted an operation checking businesses that sell alcohol in the Upper Keys. Seventeen businesses were checked including restaurants, convenience stores and bars. During the operation, two of the businesses served alcohol to minors. The two people who committed the violation were given notices to appear before a Monroe County Judge. 

The following are the businesses and suspects who sold the alcohol to minors:

Tiny's Mobile 82788 Overseas HWY Islamorada. Paul Scott Werber, 52, of Islamorada

Tom Thumb 97901 Overseas HWY Key Largo. Judith R Diaz, 30, of Key Largo 

The violations by the clerks are punishable with up to 60 days in jail, a $500 fine, $235 in court costs, $75 in the cost of prosecution, and $40 in the cost of investigation.

The Licensee Violations are punishable by:
·         1st offense $1000 fine and 7 day suspension
·         2nd offense $3000 fine and 30 day suspension
·         3rd offense Revocation of license.
The remaining business checked, were in compliance with the law.

This operation was conducted in cooperation with the Monroe County Coalition for a Safe and Drug Free Community. 

September 4, 2012

Detectives investigate death; try to identify victim

Key West – Sheriff’s detectives are investigating how a man wound up dead in the water near Ballast Key, and need help from the public trying to identify him.

A private boater saw something floating in the water at about 6 p.m. Monday. When he got closer he discovered it was the body of a man, floating about 100 yards offshore of Ballast Key in about 5 – 6 feet of water. He called the United States Coast Guard for assistance.

The Coast Guard responded and recovered the body from the water, bringing it back to the Coast Guard base in Key West.

Major Crimes Detective Manny Cuervo was assigned to investigate the case. He says the man had no clothing on, and no identification. So far, Detective Cuervo has found no missing persons reports that fit the man’s description.

The dead man is a white male, between 20 and 30 years of age. He is about 5’10” tall and slim, weighing perhaps 160-165 pounds. He has brown hair cut very short – in a crew cut type style. He had several days to a week’s worth of beard growth on his face, and had been in the water a short time – two days at the most, according to the detective.

The man had what Detective Cuervo describes as a “tribal” type tattoo on his upper left arm.

Detective Cuervo said while he can’t rule anything out at this point, the man does not have the appearance of a Cuban migrant.

An autopsy will be done soon to try and determine the cause of the man’s death.

Anyone who has any information which might help identify this man should contact the Sheriff’s Office at 305-289-2351. Callers who wish to remain anonymous can contact Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. The Crime Stoppers hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS. Tips may be submitted on line at

September 3, 2012

Key West man charged with reckless driving, fleeing police

Stock Island – A Key West man is in jail, charged with fleeing from deputies and driving recklessly.

Deputy John Gabay was in his patrol car on the southbound shoulder of the road at the 6 mile marker at 1 a.m. today. He saw in his rearview mirror a vehicle approaching at a high rate of speed. As the vehicle passed, Deputy Gabay used his radar and measured the speed at 97 mile per hour in a 55 mile per hour zone.

He turned on his lights and siren to pull the vehicle over. The driver, later identified as 23 year old Leo Haney, Jr,. turned the vehicle’s headlights off, sped up, and turned left on 3rd Street, Stock Island.

Deputy Gabay followed as the vehicle turned right on MacDonald Avenue, left on 5th Street, left on 3rd Avenue, right on 3rd Street and then pulled into the parking lot of Stock Island apartments. Haney jumped out of the vehicle and ran, leaving is girlfriend sitting in the passenger seat of the car.

Deputy Gabay ran after him, yelling for him to stop. Haney finally put his hands up and stopped. He was handcuffed and taken into custody.

When Deputy Gabay asked him why he fled, Haney admitted he did not have a license. A check on his name revealed the license had been suspended for five years because Haney was judged to be a habitual traffic offender.

Both Haney and his girlfriend told Deputy Gabay she had nothing to do with the incident and, in fact, had told him to stop multiple times.

Haney was charged with fleeing and eluding, reckless driving, resisting arrest and operating a vehicle while suspended as a habitual traffic offender.

Naples man arrested for driving drunk, recklessly

Sugarloaf key – A Naples man was arrested for driving drunk and recklessly Friday night on Sugarloaf Key.

Deputy Greg Korzen was on the northbound shoulder of the road at the 18.5 mile marker at 8:45 p.m. when he saw an orange Camaro driving recklessly at a high rate of speed, northbound in the southbound lanes of the highway. The vehicle passed a tractor trailer truck and two other vehicles in a no passing zone. Deputy Korzen’s radar measured the vehicle’s speed at 96 mile per hour in a 45 mile per hour zone.

Deputy Korzen turned on his lights and siren. As he followed the Camaro, he saw it swerving across both the white and double yellow lines on the road, at times swerving into oncoming traffic. The vehicle finally pulled over at the 20 mile marker of the highway.

The driver, 45 year old Alan McEnery of Naples, Florida told Deputy Korzen he was at the 80 mile marker heading to the 150 mile  marker to his hotel in Marathon. He admitted to drinking alcohol before driving and had no explanation for his reckless driving patterns.

McEnery failed field sobriety exercises and refused a breathalyzer test. He was charged with unlawful speed, driving under the influence of alcohol, reckless driving, passing in a no passing zone, failing to drive in a single lane and refusal to sign a civil citation. He was booked into jail.

September 2, 2012

Three arrested for fighting; knife and gun involved

Key Largo – A fight at a Key Largo campground Saturday evening escalated with a man firing a gun and a woman chasing someone with a knife. Three people went to jail.

Deputies responded to Calusa Campground just after 6 p.m. to multiple calls about shots fired and a fight in progress. When they arrived the fight had stopped and one man had fled the scene.

Witnesses who saw what happened said 48 year old Carlos Sanchez went to the home of 61 year old Dionisio Torres Gomez and 53 year old Ana Torres at 66 Calusa Street, entered without being invited in and confronted him. The confrontation was a result of an earlier argument about loud music coming from a boat at American Outdoors beach.

During the confrontation, Sanchez allegedly punched Anna and pushed Dionisio down; when a witness confronted him, he threw a concrete block at her. Dionisio got a gun out of his vehicle and allegedly fired two shots toward Sanchez. Torres then chased Sanchez down the street with a knife.

Dionisio hid the gun, burying it in a planter by his house. As deputies were investigating what happened, Ana was told to leave the scene alone and not to clean it up until the investigations were complete. She failed to comply with those orders and, when deputies stepped away for a short time, she cleaned up evidence of the crimes.

All three people were arrested. Ana Torres fought with deputies as they were handcuffing her. Sanchez was charged with aggravated assault, battery, criminal mischief and burglary. Dionisio Torres Gomez was charged with aggravated assault, battery, discharging a firearm in public and tampering with evidence. Ana Torres was charged with resisting arrest without violence, aggravated assault and tampering with evidence. They were all booked into jail.