November 30, 2012

Sexual Predator notification

Florida law requires media and community notification when someone designated by the courts as a “Sexual Predator” moves into Monroe County. The attached flyer, downloaded from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, shows Sexual Predato
r Miguel Lloren who recently registered an Islamorada address, which is listed on the flyer. This flyer, and the information in it, may be shared with the public.

You can find it on line at

November 29, 2012

Marathon man faces more charges

Marathon – A Marathon man charged with burglaries to unlocked occupied homes on overnight between November 18th and 19th has been charged with two more of the crimes.

28 year old Michael Crawford was charged Wednesday with two outstanding warrants  – one for the burglary of a shed and boat on 3rd Avenue Ocean and one for the burglary of a home and a vehicle on 6th Avenue Ocean. He stole fishing equipment and tools from the first location, and stole a purse, cash, sunglasses and prescription medication from the second location.

Most of the stolen property was recovered from Crawford’s residence. Detective Bobby Burkett is the investigator assigned to the cases. The investigation is continuing and more charges are pending against Crawford for additional crimes.

Man arrested for burglary, dealing in stolen property

A 19 year old Key West man was arrested for entering his ex girlfriend’s Stock Island residence without being invited and battering her. He was also charged with stealing a boat and selling it to someone.

19 year old Pedro Morales Jr. walked  into his ex girlfriend’s home on November 14th without being invited. She confronted him and he pushed her. He then left the house. She called the Sheriff’s Office and a warrant was issued for his arrest for burglary with battery on the occupant.

A warrant was also issued for Morales for an incident that took place in May of this year. Morales’ father lives part time at a home on Blue Gill Lane on Cudjoe Key. His employer owns the property and owns a boat he keeps at the house. On May 26th the father stopped at the house after being gone for a few days. He found the house in disarray, and the boat – 15 feet long with a 50 HP engine on it -  missing.

A few days later, the boat was recovered on Stock Island. The man who had the boat said Morales Jr. has sold it to him for $400.00.

The boat was returned to the owner. A warrant was issued for Morales for dealing in stolen property.

On Wednesday, Morales Jr. was arrested. He was charged with burglary with battery on the occupant, dealing in stolen property, and three outstanding warrants for violation of probation and he was booked into jail.

Detectives investigate report of suspicious activity

Marathon – Sheriff’s detectives are investigating a report from a seven year old Marathon girl that a man tried to entice her into his vehicle yesterday as she waited for the school bus.

The girl told her mother she was at her bus stop on Aviation Boulevard waiting for the school bus when a white male pulled up in a gray van. He allegedly told her she’d missed the bus and he would give her a ride to school. The girl said she started crying and the man drove away.

She told her mother about the incident when she came home from school Wednesday afternoon.

Detectives say few details are available about the suspect, but wanted to let the public know about the incident just in case. They would like parents in the area to be vigilant about watching their small children when they are playing outside and report anything suspicious that may occur.

November 28, 2012

Stabbing suspect in custody

The man who stabbed a woman in the chest late Tuesday is in custody after turning himself in.

Detective Yunier Galvez said 33 year old Alexander  Flores of Islamorada flagged down an officer in Miami-Dade County and said he wanted to turn himself in for a crime he committed in Monroe County. Detectives from Monroe County drove to Miami and picked him up.

Flores admitted to stabbing the 33 year old victim. He said they used to date each other and broke up about a month ago. He said he became angry when he learned she was seeing someone else. He said he got drunk, broke in the house and attacked the victim.

Flores was charged with aggravated battery, burglary, criminal mischief and resisting arrest. He was booked into the Monroe County jail.

As of this morning, the victim was in stable condition in a Miami hospital where she was airlifted for treatment of her injuries.

Holiday Safety Tips

The Holiday season is here and we are all busy decorating, preparing for parties, having friends and family over and buying gifts. These activities bring with them their own special risks and we should take a minute during this time to think about how to stay safe. 

Holiday Decorating Tips

Having a live Christmas tree is one of the nicest things about the holiday season. The smell of pine has become a symbol of Christmas. A live tree can be a hazard, however, if not cared for properly.

Buy a tree stand with a good sized water reservoir and keep plenty of water in the stand. In addition, use an additive for the water to keep the tree green and in good condition. A dry tree can be a fire hazard.

Also remember to turn off the Christmas tree lights when not in the room, especially at night when sleeping, or when the house is unoccupied. There have been instances of tree lights getting too hot, or shorting out and catching the tree on fire.

If candles are a part of your home’s decorations, follow the same rules. Put out the candle flames when no one is in the room, and make sure the candle is sitting on a non-flammable surface, such as a large plate.

Christmas presents are a integral part of the holiday, and unfortunately they are also a temptation to burglars. Don’t keep presents underneath the tree where they might be visible from a window to someone passing outside. Hide them out of sight until Christmas morning, so you don’t wake up and find them gone before you have a chance to open them.

Vacation Safety Tips

If you plan to travel during the holidays, make sure your home is safe. Burglars know many people leave their homes vacant around the holidays and they are just looking for an easy target. Don’t give them one.

·         Make sure the doors and windows at your home are all locked up tight when you leave. Turn on the alarm if you have one.
·         Don’t leave lights on 24 hours a day. Put automatic timers on several lights and even on a radio. Set them so they will turn on and off at random times in different rooms—especially the bathroom.
·         Have newspaper and mail delivery stopped while you are gone or have a friend pick your mail and papers up every day.
·         Leave information on where you can be contacted in an emergency with a trusted neighbor; ask them to watch your home and to park in the driveway occasionally.
·         Don’t publicize or talk about vacations ahead of time. Burglars are always listening.
·         Notify the Sheriff’s Office of your plans, and fill out a “premises-check” form, available at the nearest Sheriff’s Office Substation. Deputies will keep an eye on your house when they are in the neighborhood.
·         Arrange to have the lawn mowed.
·         Give your house a lived in appearance. A residence that presents a lived in appearance is a deterrent to burglars.
·         Have a neighbor occasionally use your garbage cans.
·         Leave drapes in a normal position to maintain a lived in appearance.

Shopping safety

Revelers enjoy the holiday season. So do criminals because there are plenty of valuables to steal and many people who may not be paying close attention because of all the distractions.

·         When you are out shopping, stay alert and aware of what is going on around you. The holiday season can be distracting, with lots of glittering lights, holiday decorations and crowds of people. Make sure you pay attention to what is happening at all times.
·         Park in a well lighted area and be sure to lock your car doors. Put shopping bags and gifts in the trunk so they aren’t visible to those passing by your car.
·         Avoid carrying cash if at all possible. Use credit cards for holiday purchases. This makes you less vulnerable to thieves, and many cards offer increased warranties, and other protections for your purchases. Make sure you check your credit card purchases on line, though, to make sure no one has stolen your card number, or is using your identity. Remember: while some banks offer protections for debit card purchases, only credit cards have guaranteed protection against fraud.
·         Be extra careful with purses and wallets. Don’t put your purse in a shopping cart and then walk away while shopping. Purses and wallets get snatched from carts frequently and it can happen so fast you won’t even see it. Carry your purse close to your body, not dangling by the straps. Put your wallet in an inside pocket or in a front pants pocket. This will deter pickpockets and purse snatchers.
·         If you are shopping with your children, talk to them ahead of time about what to do if they get lost in the crowd. Teach them to go immediately to a store clerk or a security guard and ask for help. If they are old enough, make sure they know your home phone number, your cell phone number and that your name is not just “Mommy” or “Daddy”.

Fraud during the holidays

There are many opportunities for criminals to steal your money during the holidays and rest assured there are many out there who are planning their next scheme as we speak. Here are just a few possibilities.

Criminals sometimes pose as couriers delivering gifts and it isn’t unusual for people to go door to door looking for “charitable” donations when, in fact, they are there to line their own pockets. Ask for identification and ask for specifics about how the money will be used. If you aren’t satisfied with the answers, don’t give. Help a charity you know and like – and are sure of – instead.

Remember: we always say if the deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is. This applies to internet purchases as well, including purchases on Craigslist and eBay.

If you are shopping on line, make sure the web site you are shopping on is a legitimate one. When in doubt, shop elsewhere.

Email is a wonderful tool for all of us, especially criminals. Cybercriminals often send fake invoices and delivery notices that look like they are from a legitimate business like FedEx , UPS or the Post Office. Banking and credit card scams are also rampant. Criminals try to trick you into divulging your bank account numbers, passwords, social security numbers and other information which will allow them to steal your identity. To confirm authenticity of any of these emails, get a phone number for the company from their official web site and call them for confirmation.

Holiday e-cards are fun, but beware of clicking on one that comes from someone you don’t know. It could contain malware, spyware or other hidden nastiness.

Many of us use our credit cards for holiday purchases. Make sure you keep close track of your purchases and check your statements frequently to make sure there are no fraudulent purchases made by someone who has stolen your credit card information.

Play it safe—and have a happy holiday.

Woman airlifted for stab wound

A 33 year old Islamorada woman was airlifted to the Ryder Trauma Center in Miami after being stabbed late Tuesday.

Detectives are investigating the incident and no arrests have yet been made, but the victim told Deputy Nestor Argote she was sleeping when the suspect, whom she is acquainted with, broke a rear window at her residence, located at 81979 Old Highway in Islamorada. She said he entered her bedroom and stabbed her in the chest. She said he then held the knife to her throat and asked her to leave the house with him.

As they were walking out the front door, a friend of hers was outside in the yard. She said when the suspect saw her friend, he ran northbound on the old highway.

The friend drove her to Mariner’s Hospital, where she was later airlifted for treatment of her injury. The investigation into the incident is continuing.

November 26, 2012

Arson fire in Islamorada

Islamorada – Deputies responded to a fire in Islamorada Sunday afternoon. Firefighters who extinguished the blaze said there were definite indications of arson.

The home, located on West Plaza Granada on Lower Matecumbe Key, had minimal damage. Firefighters told Deputy Martin Digrius it looked like someone set three separate fires inside. They said all the doors and windows had been left either open or unlocked. There were bottles of alcohol left throughout the house.

The owner, who lives in Hialeah, was contacted and notified about the fire. He said he last visited the property a month ago and locked the doors and windows when he left. He said he did not leave the bottles of alcohol inside. He said the house is currently in foreclosure and is for sale and he has not made a payment on it in over a year.

The fire marshal responded and will be investigating the case.

Marathon woman charged with child cruelty

Marathon – A Marathon woman was charged with child cruelty after she fought with a teenage girl after the two argued.

According to Deputy Joshua Brady, he responded to the home on 24th Street in Marathon at 11:45 p.m. Sunday. After speaking with the suspect, witnesses and the victim, he arrested 37 year old Heather Nason. Nason first argued with the girl; the argument subsequently became physical and Nason allegedly choked the teen during the course of the physical fight.

Nason was charged with battery and child cruelty. She was booked into jail.

November 24, 2012

Man arrested for bomb threat

Marathon – A  Marathon man was arrested Friday after he handed clerks at the Marathon post office a threatening note.

69 year old Juan Zigler handed postal clerks a garbled note which threatened to “blow up the hole florida keys”. He then threw an object over the counter which initially looked, to the clerks, like a firecracker of some sort.

They called the Sheriff’s Office and, when Deputy John Keeney arrived, Zigler was still there. He was taken into custody. The object he threw appeared to be some sort of battery with a wire attached to it.

Zigler was charged with making a false report of a bomb and with manufacturing or delivering a hoax bomb. He was booked into jail.

November 23, 2012

Tavernier man charged with stolen auto

Key Largo – Deputies arrested a Tavernier man driving a stolen vehicle after noticing suspicious behavior Thursday night.

Deputy Pedro Garcia was on patrol at 11:30 p.m. when he saw a green Mazda 626 with a tag light out. He saw the car stop at the Tom Thumb convenience store at the 102 mile marker; two people got out and went into the store. They then exited the store quickly and got into the car. The car traveled a short distance to the Circle K convenience store. The occupants went into the store, then exited quickly getting back in the car and leaving the parking lot northbound.

The deputy followed the car, intending to pull it over to check on its occupants. The car suddenly pulled off the highway, into the Twin Lakes subdivision. A few minutes later, Deputy Garcia found the vehicle abandoned.

Back up deputies responded and began searching the neighborhood. They detained several subjects who were  walking around the area and could not explain why they were there. The subjects detained included three juveniles, an 18 year old Key Largo teen and 20 year old Evelio Monteagudo of Tavernier.

A check on the vehicle revealed it was stolen from Miami. Upon questioning, the teens all said Monteagudo was driving the car and they were all passengers. They said they stopped at the two stores to purchase cigarettes, but were unable to because they had no identification. They all admitted to smoking marijuana in the car while Monteagudo was driving. A plastic bag with marijuana inside was found in one of Monteagudo’s pocket.

Monteagudo was arrested. He was charged with grand theft of a vehicle, driving with no license and possession of marijuana and he was booked into jail.

Key Largo teen arrested for crime spree

Key Largo – An 18 year old Key Largo man is in jail on multiple charges after he was caught in the act of burglarizing an occupied home early Thursday.

The victim told deputies he was sleeping on the couch in his home on 2nd Court in Key Largo Trailer Village. He said a noise woke him at 5:20 a.m. When he sat up and looked around, he saw 18 year old Manuel Argomaniz inside  his home.  He fled on foot, down Kay Drive. The victim called the Sheriff’s Office and gave a description of Argomaniz and his direction of travel to dispatchers.

When Deputy Vaughn O’Keefe arrived he saw a dark colored
Chevrolet Monte Carlo driving slowly and erratically, speeding up, slowing down and weaving back and forth. He pulled the car over and found Argomaniz driving. Argomaniz fit the victim’s description.

Deputy Pedro Garcia arrived as back up and the two deputies began trying to handcuff Argomaniz. He fought with them, refusing to follow their orders. As they were struggling to take him into custody more deputies arrived on the scene. He was finally handcuffed and placed into a patrol car. He initially gave deputies a false name, and he continued to act violently and erratically as deputies continued to investigate his crimes.

Investigations by Detective Francisco Gaete revealed the car he was driving had been stolen from a man who lives on Gordon Circle in Key Largo. The owner said he leaves the car unlocked and the keys inside the car on a regular basis.

Three vehicles in Key Largo Trailer Village had been burglarized overnight as well. Property stolen from those vehicles was found in Argomaniz’ possession. All three vehicles had been left unlocked by the owners.

Upon questioning, Argomaniz admitted to consuming vodka and “triple Cs” – an over the counter cold medication.

Argomaniz was booked into jail. He was charged with
burglary of an occupied dwelling; possession of burglary tools for having a small flashlight in his possession; giving a false identity to law enforcement officers; driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs; driving without a license; resisting an officer with violence and two counts resisting an officer without violence; four counts burglary of a vehicle, grand theft of a vehicle and four counts of theft.

November 20, 2012

Three arrested for stealing beer and cigarettes

Three Marathon residents were arrested in the early morning hours for stealing beer and cigarettes from two convenience stores.

Deputies were dispatched to Dion’s Food Mart at 6203 Overseas Highway at 4:25 a.m. A clerk reported someone entered the store with a bandana on his face and stole two 12 packs of Heineken beer. The clerk said the suspect left in a white older model mini-van, traveling northbound.

A short time later, a clerk at the Shell gas station at 11100 Overseas Highway reported someone with a bandana on their face entered the store and stole a pack of Newport cigarettes. The clerk reported a similar vehicle description –a white older model mini-van.

Deputy Vince Weiner responded and saw a white mini-van in the area behind the Shell station, driving with no headlights. He saw the van pull into a home on 5th Avenue. He pulled behind the vehicle. Three people were inside. 26 year old James Beattie, 18 year old Bryan Echeverria and a 15 year old juvenile male all admitted to participating in the crimes. They all said Beattie was the one who wore the bandanna and went into the stores to steal the beer and cigarettes.

Beattie was charged with two counts each of theft and wearing a mask in the commission of the crime. Echeverria and the 15 year old were charged with two counts each of theft.

November 19, 2012

Arrest made in connection with burglaries reported in Marathon

Detectives say they have arrested one person in connection with a series of burglaries to homes and vehicles in Marathon overnight.

Deputies took reports this morning indicating five homes and five vehicles were entered between Sunday night and Monday morning. All the homes were on 4th, 5th and 6th Avenue Ocean in Marathon. The homes were all occupied at the time they were burglarized, with residents sleeping inside. Most also had unlocked doors or windows which were used as an entry point. Suspects took cash, cameras, computer equipment and jewelry.

In one case, a suspect entered a downstairs bedroom on 6th Avenue Ocean through an unlocked door. While the two victims were sleeping in bed, the suspect took a zippered purse from a bedside table and removed cash from a wallet inside. The suspect also picked up a pair of shorts with a wallet in the pocket and removed cash from the wallet, took an Ipad, a GPS unit, a watch, a digital camera and other items.

Investigations by Detective Bobby Burkett led to the identification of a possible suspect in the case, 28 year old Michael Crawford of 114th Street Ocean in Marathon. When Crawford was confronted  about his involvement, he allowed detectives to search his room and some of the stolen items were recovered. Marijuana was also found in his room, along with a digital scale.

Crawford is being charged with possession of marijuana and paraphernalia, burglary of an occupied dwelling and grand theft. He was also charged with an outstanding warrant for driving with his license suspended. More arrests and more charges are expected.

The Sheriff’s Office would like to remind everyone to make sure doors and windows are locked overnight or when no one is at home. Although it is tempting to leave doors and windows open now that the weather is cooler, it is simply not safe to do so. Make sure all car doors are locked as well, and valuables are not left in the car when it is unoccupied. Most burglaries to homes and vehicles are easily prevented with just a few safety precautions such as these.

November 16, 2012

Man arrested for DUI, fleeing and trying to bribe deputies

Big Pine Key – A Miami man is in jail today charged with fleeing from deputies, drunk driving, possession of a controlled substance and with trying to bribe deputies with a large amount of money.

Deputy Juan Martin Reyes was on another call at the 30 mile marker of the highway when he spotted the black Hummer traveling at a high rate of speed northbound. The deputy pursued him, clocking 64 year old John Chaney in his vehicle at speeds of up to 110 miles an hour. Chaney failed to stop for the deputy until he reached the 37 mile marker of the highway, when he finally pulled over.

Chaney had trouble walking as he exited his car; he immediately told deputies he was the owner of the company doing the road construction work in Key West. He said he’d been working for 72 hours and just wanted to get home to Kendall and his 9 cats.

Chaney failed field sobriety exercises, and a breathalyzer test performed later confirmed he was impaired by alcohol. In his pocket was a pill bottle with his name on it. The prescription was for Endocet, but the bottle contained two other substances not on the prescription.

As the deputy sat with Chaney at the Detention Center, Chaney told him he’d smuggled cocaine into the United States from Columbia, had been involved with Pablo Escobar and had killed people in the past. He told Deputy Reyes he should be afraid of him. He said he has other DUI arrests; he said the contract he has with the city is worth 14 million dollars and he  offered the deputy $30,000.00  to tamper with the results of his breathalyzer test.

Deputy Reyes told him his honor was not for sale and he would not be bribed for two million dollars. Chaney was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, fleeing and eluding police, bribery and possession of a controlled substance. He was booked into jail.

Test awarded Sheriff's Medal for life saving act

Detention Deputy Garrett Test was awarded the Sheriff’s Medal Friday. While on vacation he saved a man’s life after the man was involved in a serious traffic crash, under very harrowing circumstances. Well deserved, Garrett. Great job.

Phelps recognized for her work

Captain Penny Phelps received a distinguished service award for her work training county employees in customer relations.

Guerra recognized for work

Deputy Wilfredo Guerra received a Distinguished Service award Friday for his work with FWC on natural resource violation cases.

Commendations in Queen Conch case

Deputy Nelson Sanchez was recognized for his efforts recovering 40 Queen Conch in a case he worked in Islamorada recently. Also recognized was Heidi Hungling of A1A Watersports, who gave Deputy Sanchez crucial information in the case.

Officer commendations

Sheriff Peryam and Sheriff-elect Ramsay commended Deputies Lazaro Valdes and Freddy Rodriguez. The pair went above and beyond in their efforts to assist a homeless man with obtaining help and services he needs.  Sheriff Peryam spoke about their efforts, “This is true Community Policing and I’m proud of these two for working so hard to help this man. This is what law enforcement is all about: helping people.”

Congratulations on 25 years and on election win

Sheriff Peryam congratulated new Sheriff-elect Ramsay on his election win, and also gave him his 25 year longevity plaque Friday.

New Executive Director of Finance

Lisa Knowles was promoted Friday to Executive Director of our Finance Division. She is pictured with Sheriff Peryam and her predecessor, Amy Heavilin who is moving over to the Clerk’s Office where she will be Monroe County Clerk of the Courts.

New detention center sergeant

Tushawna Rowe was promoted this week to Sergeant in the Lower Keys Detention Center. She is pictured with Chief Tommy Taylor, Sheriff-elect Ramsay and Sheriff Peryam.

New Detective Sergeant

Donald Catala became the new Detective Sergeant for District One this week. He is pictured with Sheriff-elect Rick Ramsay, Sheriff Bob Peryam and his father, retired Deputy Chief Vincent Catala.

Explorers bag groceries for tips

 Upper Keys Explorers bagged groceries for tips this week at Publix. They were raising money to help send a group of explorers to the upcoming delegates meeting in Osceola County at the end of this month. Great job, and don’t forget - tomatoes and bread on top!

Sheriff names employees of the quarter

At a ceremony held Friday, Sheriff Bob Peryam honored employees for their years of service and congratulated the Sheriff’s Office employees of the third quarter 2012. In the photo, left to right, Detention Deputy of the Quarter Victor Arguello Castellon, Support Employee of the Quarter Tiffany O’Connell, Cadet of the Quarter Chance Champagne, Reserve Deputy of the Quarter Tom O’Dea and Law Enforcement Deputy of the Quarter Wilfredo Guerra with Sheriff Bob Peryam.

Sheriff’s Office is re-accredited

In the photo: Members of the Sheriff’s Office accreditation team, along with Sheriff Bob Peryam, accept re-accreditation for three more years from the Commission for Florida Law Enforcement Accreditation (CFA).

The Commission for Florida Law Enforcement Accreditation recently granted re-accreditation to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office. The re-accreditation is good for three years.

Office of Professional Standards

The Sheriff’s Office of Professional Standards makes sure all divisions within the Monroe County Sheriff's Office, and all members of those divisions, are aware of Office policies and procedures and are in compliance with them at all times. They draft policy, at the direction of the Sheriff and in compliance with the Commission for Florida Law Enforcement Accreditation(CFA) and the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA). These policies and procedures are the foundation of a modern, professional law enforcement agency, and are also the foundation to being state and federally accredited.

Inspectors from the office are charged with seeing that all policies and procedures are up to date at all times, and are being complied with by all members of the Monroe County Sheriff's Office. To that end, they visit all offices on a regular basis, inspecting records and making sure all procedures are being followed appropriately.

Law Enforcement Agencies in the state of Florida can attain law enforcement and corrections accredited status through the Commission for Florida Law Enforcement Accreditation (CFA), Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) and Florida Corrections Accreditation Commission (FCAC).

An accreditation program has long been recognized as a means of maintaining the highest standards of professionalism. Accreditation is the certification by an independent reviewing authority that an entity has met specific requirements and prescribed standards. Schools, universities, and hospitals are some of the most well known organizations that are required to maintain accreditation.

Accreditation is only achieved after an assessment team of law enforcement/corrections professionals from other agencies around the state and nationally conduct an on-site assessment. An on-site assessment entails a review of an agencies policies and procedures for compliance with established standards, physical facilities and documentation that an agency is doing what it says it is. For Corrections they also look at safety and emergency procedures, food services, rules and discipline and other subject areas that comprise good correctional practices.

In June of 2002 the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office was awarded the CFA certificate of accreditation for Law Enforcement. CFA awarded a certificate of re-accreditation in June of 2003. In March 2002 CALEA awarded nation accreditation to the Sheriff’s Office. The agency was re-accredited by CALEA in June of 2005 for another three years.

In October 2000 the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office was awarded the FCAC certificate of accreditation. FCAC awarded a certificate of re-accreditation in October of 2003.

CALEA, CFA and FCAC accreditation are awarded for three (3) years. At the end of that time the Sheriff’s Office applies for re-accreditation to both commissions.  We must maintain compliance with established standards and proofs that we are doing what we say we’re doing over that three year period.

 The next and ongoing step is to maintain the high standards set forth by CALEA, CFA and FCAC to continue to achieve re-accreditation by each governing body prescribed to.

Landlord arrested for shotgun threats

Marathon – A Marathon landlord was arrested Thursday, charged with threatening his tenants with a shotgun in a dispute over late rent payment.

Deputies responded to a home on 66th Street at 2 p.m. Thursday. When they arrived, 47 year old Michael Sapp told them where to find his shotgun. He told deputies he’d gotten into an argument with his tenants because they hadn’t been paying rent on time. He said he used the shotgun “to make his point”.

Both victims said they’d returned from shopping when the confrontation took place. Two witnesses also confirmed seeing Sapp with the shotgun confronting the two victims.

Sapp was arrested and charged with two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and he was taken to jail.

Big Pine man arrested on federal charges

On Tuesday the Department of Justice, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) presented the case regarding the theft of the firearms and SWAT gear that had been stolen from the Monroe County Sheriff's Office marked patrol vehicle to the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida.  A Grand Jury convened and an indictment was issued against 32 year old Steven W. McClelland of Big Pine Key.  The same day a federal arrest warrant was issued for McClelland.

McClelland was charged with the following federal violations:  

·        Possession of a firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon
·        Possession of a stolen firearm and ammunition
·        Possession of a machine gun

On Thursday, 8:45 A.M. Monroe County Sheriff's Office Special Investigations Division detectives, general crimes detectives, and federal agents executed the arrest warrant.  McClelland was found at his residence in Big Pine Key.  McClelland was interviewed and admitted that he had knowledge the machine gun, ammunition, and SWAT gear had been stolen.  McClelland additionally, confessed to having handled the machine gun and ammunition, which is also a federal violation.  ATF turned over McClelland to agents with the U.S.Marshal Service. He is now in federal custody being held with no bond.

Search warrant leads to drug arrest

Marathon - Sheriff's Special Investigations detectives executed a search warrant Wednesday morning, arresting a Marathon man on drug charges.

Special Investigations is participating in a state-wide drug effort called “Operation No Mas”, targeting suspected indoor marijuana grow houses. During a check of a residence at 1517 Overseas highway lot 58, detectives made contact with 31 year old Francisco Javier. Javier gave detectives written consent to search his trailer. Detective located cocaine in his bed room. Detectives then obtained a search warrant for the residence.  A search of the trailer revealed 9 grams of cocaine several empty plastic bags with cocaine residue and two scales. Detectives also seized $1,154.00 in suspected drug proceeds.

Javier was arrested and charged with possession of cocaine with intent to distribute and possession of drug paraphernalia. Further investigation revealed that Javier had come to the United States illegally and, if convicted, he will face deportation after he completes his jail sentence. 

Man arrested for lewd behavior with young girl

A 30 year old Key West man was arrested Thursday, charged with fondling a young girl.

The girl told a friend who convinced her to report it to school authorities. School authorities in turn report the information to the Sheriff’s Office.

Major Crimes Detective Geni Hernandez was assigned to investigate. After an extensive investigation, she obtained a warrant for the arrest of Benito Lopez Gonzalez who is accused of fondling the girl against her will. He was charged with  three counts of lewd behavior on a victim between the ages of 12 and 16. He was booked into jail.

November 13, 2012

Time for Click it or Ticket – Make sure you are wearing your seat belt!

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office is giving fair warning to the motoring public. The agency will be participating in the state wide “Click it or Ticket” campaign beginning this week through November 25th. During this time period, there will be extra enforcement throughout the Florida keys for this violation.

At any time of the year, the Sheriff’s Office has a zero tolerance policy for not wearing a seat belt and particularly for not properly buckling up children. Florida law requires drivers and passengers in the front seat of a vehicle to fasten their safety belts. Passengers under the age of 18, regardless of where they sit in a vehicle, also must buckle up.

Failure to buckle up is a primary offense, which means deputies can pull you over for not wearing a seat belt and cite you for a non-moving violation that carries a $116 ticket.

So, stay safe and buckle up. It makes sense, and it is the law.

Father, two sons arrested for stealing scrap metal

Key Largo – A father and his two sons were arrested Monday, charged with stealing scrap metal from property belonging to an upper Keys business.

Deputy Nelson Sanchez saw the three Miami men on property belonging to Upper Keys Marine Construction at 6:05 p.m. He saw them entering and exiting the property with various pieces of scrap metal and putting it onto a trailer.

He called for assistance and Deputy Pedro Garcia responded. The owner of the property was also on the scene.

The owner told the deputies he did not give permission for the metal to be removed from his property. Although the men claimed the metal had been placed by a dumpster as if it were being disposed of, the owner said that was not true. He said the metal pieces had been placed in various locations on his property and were not near the dumpster.

41 year old Carlos Perez Jimenez, 21 year old Carlos Perez Eiroa and a 17 year old were all charged with burglary and theft. They were booked at the Plantation Key jail.

November 12, 2012

Man arrested for punching brother

Marathon – A Marathon man is in jail, charged with forcing his way into a home and punching his brother in a dispute over a woman

Deputies responded to reports of a fight on 95th Street in Marathon at 4 p.m. Sunday. On their way, they spotted 37 year old Francis Dyer walking away from the location of the altercation and they detained him for further investigation.

When they got to the house where the fight took place, they found Dyer’s brother with injuries to his face. A woman also on the scene said she used to live with Dyer but recently left him and started dating his brother. She also had bruises which she said were a result of the altercation with Dyer.

Both victims said Dyer forced his way into the house on 95th Street and started the fight, telling his brother he was going to kill him. The female victim said she picked up her phone and told Dyer she was going to call the police if he didn’t stop; he told her if she did he’d kill her so she put down the phone.

Both victims said Dyer then began throwing things around and broke a window. There was considerable damage done to the inside of the house.

Dyer was arrested and charged with burglary, criminal mischief, assault and 2 counts of battery and he was taken to jail.

Once at the jail in a holding cell, he once again became violent. He began kicking and banging on the door of the cell. By the time officers got him under control, he’d done an estimated $2,000.00 damage to the door and locking mechanism. More charges are pending against him.

House fire, Ramrod Key

Ramrod Key – A house and a motor home were destroyed by fire overnight on Ramrod Key.

Sheriff’s dispatchers received reports at 1:13 a.m. of  a fire on Anguila Lane at the 27.5 mile marker off Highway U.S. One. When deputies and firefighters arrived the found a house and a motorhome engulfed in flames. The evacuated several homes which were threatened by the fire.

The fire was reportedly under control an hour later, but fire units remained at the scene until 7 a.m. The American Red Cross was also notified and will be assisting the homeowner in any way they can.

The State Fire Marshall responded and will be looking into the cause of the fire. There were no injuries reported.

November 9, 2012

Finance congratulates Amy Heavilin

After a long election campaign the Finance Department got together to congratulate Amy Heavilin on becoming the new Monroe County Clerk of Courts.  Amy has dedicated the last decade to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office as the Finance Executive Director and will be greatly missed.

Corrections Academy dresses up

The Corrections Academy class all dressed up and ready to go!!!

Cadets learn offense reporting

 Upper Keys cadets  learned about offense reporting. Plantation Key School Office Manager Terri Regelmann “reported” her phone missing; they responded to the scene, spoke with the victim and asked all pertinent questions. Over the next week, they will fill out an offense report about the incident which they will bring to their next meeting.

Cadets/Explorers learn firearms, building searches

 Lower Keys Explorers and Cadets had training in building searches, suspect apprehension and firearms this week with the help of SRO Deputy and Advisor Sonya Morgan and Detective Dave Chavka.

Man arrested for child pornography

A local man who works as a substitute teacher has been arrested, charged with multiple counts of possessing child pornography.

55 year old William Britt first came to the attention of the Sheriff’s Office after his former landlord saw child pornography in a box as he was helping Britt move out of his Cudjoe Key residence earlier this month. The landlord told Deputy Anthony Fuentes he had evicted Britt because of a lack of sanitation and cleanliness.

He said he picked up a box to put it in Britt’s van and saw pictures in the box clearly depicting child pornography. He said there were also videos in the box. He grabbed several pictures and one video to show to authorities.

Major Crimes Detective Manuel Cuervo was assigned to investigate. During the course of his investigation, he discovered Britt had been working as a substitute teacher at Sugarloaf School and had worked at other schools in the lower Keys as well; at the time of the investigation, he was applying for a substitute position at Glynn Archer School. Detective Cuervo notified the School District about his case against Britt and asked them to work with him in an attempt to find out where Britt was now living. School District authorities cooperated fully with the investigation.

Detective Cuervo’s investigation revealed Britt moved to the Sigsbee Naval Air station after leaving Cudjoe Key; Britt is reportedly retired from the military. Once they were notified, military authorities worked with detectives on the case.

: Sheriff’s Office Major Crimes Detectives Geni Hernandez and
 Rosa Digiovanni search boxes outside an R/V where William Britt
 has been living on the  Sigsbee Naval Air station. A
naval investigator stands by, cooperating with the investigation.
On November 8th, after Britt was interviewed for a job at Glynn Archer Elementary School, Detective Cuervo, assisted by other detectives from his unit, did a traffic stop on his van. The detective confronted Britt about the information and evidence he had against him. Britt admitted to possessing child pornography. Two guns – a loaded handgun and a sawed off shotgun – were found in the van, along with a video depicting nude children.

Britt consented to a search of the recreational vehicle he was staying in on base. He cooperated with detectives, handing over 123 printed images depicting clearly minor children engaging in sexual conduct. He also told the detective he had numerous computer hard drives and USB storage devices with more child pornography on them. All the equipment was seized and the investigation is continuing.

During an interview, Britt told the detective he knows he is “sick”. He claimed never to have touched any children, but says he has been involved in many community groups involving children’s activities. He said he works at schools “because he enjoys the company”.

Britt was arrested. He was charged with 123 counts of possessing child pornography. He was also charged with an outstanding warrant for possession of seven counts of possessing child pornography from the initial case earlier in the month.

November 8, 2012

Man arrested for lewd acts in the presence of an elderly person

Islamorada – An Islamorada man has been arrested, charged with performing a lewd act in the presence of an elderly woman.

The 65 year old victim called the Sheriff’s Office on July 30th to report the incident. She said at the time, she was paying 51 year old Roy Drebenstedt to help her maintain the yard at her Islamorada home. She said on July 21st, Drebenstedt asked to use her bathroom. She allowed him to use the bathroom. She said he was there for quite some time and when he came out, he was naked. She said he asked her for a towel because he said he took a shower. She said as he was asking for a towel, he was fondling himself in front of her.

She said she was so frightened, she threw some towels at him and locked herself in her bedroom. When she came out an hour later, he was gone.

Major Crimes Detective Daniel Mehler was assigned to investigate. He obtained a warrant for Drebenstedt’s arrest and today (Thursday) he was arrested and charged with lewd and lascivious exhibition in the presence of an elderly person and he was booked into jail.

Fight results in injuries, arrest

Key Largo – Two roommates who are step-brothers got into a fight over being asked to leave their apartment; one went to jail and the other was airlifted to Ryder Trauma Center for treatment of his injuries.

The 20 year old victim walked up to someone at Mrs. Mac’s Restaurant at the 99.3 mile marker of U.S. One in Key Largo at 7:20 p.m.. He was bleeding from a severe laceration to his head and said he’d been in a fight. Deputies and paramedics responded. Paramedics treated the victim while deputies followed a trail of blood drops to a nearby apartment, at 99306 Overseas Highway.

Inside were three people, all roommates of the injured man. One of them was the brother of 27 year old Tim Powell. He told deputies his brother, Tim, had gotten into a fight with the victim inside the apartment. He said the victim was their step-brother.

Further investigation revealed Powell and the victim had fought because they were all being asked to leave the apartment due to “drug issues”. The other roommates said they saw the victim hit Powell, then saw Powell hit him in return. Powell then allegedly hit the victim repeatedly, then kicked him when he fell to the ground.

The witnesses said the victim got up and left the house. Inside the apartment, blood was found splattered all over the living room and kitchen floors, on the appliances and on the walls. It was apparent a violent struggle took place inside.

Powell was arrested and charged with aggravated battery. As deputies were leading him out to the patrol vehicle, he managed to get one hand out of the handcuffs. He pushed one of the deputies to the ground and tried to run. He was captured almost immediately. Powell was further charged with escape and battery on a law enforcement officer and he was taken to jail.

The victim was airlifted to Ryder Trauma Center in Miami; doctors said his injuries would require numerous staples to close and would most likely cause permanent scarring.

Teen charged with large amount of marijuana, hash

Tavernier – Detectives from the Sheriff's Special Investigations Division executed a search warrant Wednesday afternoon in Tavernier.

The warrant was served at 190 Arbor Lane in Tavernier, Fl. Inside, detectives found a 15 year old boy and his father. A search of the boy’s room turned up 127.3 grams of marijuana, 20.9 grams of suspected hash, bongs a scale and several baggies with marijuana residue inside. Detectives located a ledger with names and dollar amounts listed. Detectives also sized $405 dollars in suspected drug proceeds.

The 15 year old was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and possession of drug paraphernalia. The suspected hash will be sent to a lab for testing. Depending on the results of the tests more charges may be filed against him.

November 7, 2012

Teen charged with occupied burglary

Key Haven – An 18 year old Stock Island resident has been arrested, charged with breaking in to a Key Haven home in the middle of the night while the residents of the home were sleeping.

The victim told Deputy Spenser Bryan he woke up at 1:35 a.m. on September 13th when he heard a noise in his house, located on Allamanda Terrance in Key Haven, near the 5 mile marker of Highway U.S. One. Thinking it might be his daughter, he yelled her name. He then heard someone leaving the house.

When he went to check on the noise, he found a bicycle had been removed from the garage and had been left in the yard. He also found a pair of sunglasses in the garage that did not belong to anyone in his family.

A fingerprint taken from the sunglasses was identified by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement as belonging to 18 year old Rafael Quintana of Stock Island.

A warrant was issued for Quintana’s arrest and on Tuesday, he was charged with burglary of an occupied dwelling and grand theft. he was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

November 4, 2012

Four teens arrested for burglarizing Key Largo home

Four teens were arrested Saturday night after a man house sitting at a home on Laguna Avenue in Key Largo returned home to find them inside.

The victim told Sgt. Jason Madnick he got home around 9 p.m. and immediately noticed something was wrong. He said doors were open, lights were on and he heard people talking inside. He said when he yelled “Hello” he saw several people running out the back of the house.

Further investigation revealed a door to the house had been pried opening, causing damage to the door jam. Several bottles of liquor had been opened and consumed, food had been eaten, the guest bedroom was in disarray and the door to one of the bathrooms had been damaged. A Marijuana pipe was found inside and a bicycle was found in the garage that did not belong to the victim.

Deputies responding to the scene encountered three juveniles walking along the road near the victim’s house. When the juveniles saw the officers, two of them tried to hide. They were stopped, detained and identified as 15 year old Edward Hill of Tavernier, 16 year old Alexander Amado of Key Largo and 14 year old Joseph Roth of Tavernier. They said they’d just left the home of a friend who lives nearby, 16 year old Arnaldo Diaz of Key Largo.

Detective Patrick Crozier responded to the scene. Hill, Roth and Amado all admitted they had been inside the burglarized house. Interviews with the boys revealed Amado and Diaz allegedly entered first at about 3:30 p.m. by using a razor knife and prying tool to force open a door. They then called the other two boys, told them they were inside the house and asked them to “come and hang out”.

The razor knife was found stuck in a box in the garage. One of the boys told Sgt. Madnick the bike in the garage belonged to Diaz.

All four boys were arrested. They were charged with burglary, theft and criminal mischief and they were booked at the Monroe County Detention Center.

November 3, 2012

Search warrant leads to arrest

Key Largo - The Sheriff's Special Investigations detectives executed a search warrant Friday at 6:30 A.M.

The residence where the warrant was served is 46 Coral Dr. in Key Largo, Fl. Inside the residence detectives located 20 year old Ryon E Cortina with his father and brother. A search of the residence revealed less than 20 grams of marijuana, .9 grams of suspected Hash Oil, several bongs and 1 scale.

Cortina was arrested and charged with possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana and  possession of drug paraphernalia. The Hash oil will be sent to the lab for testing. Depending on the test results of the suspected Hash oil more charges may be filed.

Marathon man charged with molesting young girl

A Marathon man was arrested Friday, charged with molesting a young girl.

41 year old Joaquin Zambrano was charged with lewd and lascivious molestation of a child under 12 and lewd and lascivious molestation of a child between 12 and 16 years of age.

The victim told detectives from the Major Crimes Unit the abuse took place between 2005 and 2009. She said Zambrano fondled her on numerous occasions from the time she was 11 until she was 16. She  recounted numerous other sexual acts Zambrano committed on her against her will.

After an investigation of the circumstances, detectives obtained a warrant for Zambrano’s arrest.

November 2, 2012

SWAT goes through specialized training

 In September the Sheriff’s Office SWAT team hosted the Tactical Training Branch from the Multi jurisdictional Counter drug Task Force Training unit based out of Camp Blanding Joint Training Center in Stark, Florida. The instructors are all active members of the Florida Guard some of who have multiple combat deployments overseas in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Two instructors are active reserve law enforcement officers with tactical teams and all are current FDLE certified instructors who have trained thousands of tactical team members across the nation and the Caribbean.

The first day the SWAT Team was put through rigorous firearms training that included 13 hours on the range at Turkey Point Nuclear Power plant while wearing full tactical gear. The second day consisted of extensive close quarters battle techniques focusing on team movements inside structures. The third day consisted of a culmination of the prior two days of training with force on force focused on high-risk narcotics search warrant and hostage rescue scenarios. This training was provided free of charge by MCTFT Tactical.  


Sheriff's Office at Children's Day

Master Deputy Grant, Sgt. Harper, Director Allen and Sgt. Floyd all did a fantastic job of representing the Sheriff’s Office at Children’s day Sunday in Key West.

Explorers and Cadets learn building searches

Lower and middle Keys cadets and explorers practiced building searches this week at their weekly training meeting. The meeting was coordinated by Post Advisor SRO Deputy Sonya Morgan.

Advertise on our web site!

We are now offering advertising on the most popular web site in the Florida Keys. If you are a business, click on the link below to find out more.

The Arrest/Mug Shot pages on the Sheriff's Office web site get in excess of 740,000 pageviews per month. And now, you can advertise your business at the top of all seven pages. A total of ten advertising slots were created in a rotating banner ad - and only five slots are left. Click below or call the Community Relations Division now at 305-809-3002.

November 1, 2012

Big Pine man arrested for robbery

Ramrod key – A Big Pine Key man was arrested after he told the clerk at Boondock’s gift shop he wanted all the money in her cash register.

Several employees of Boondock’s on Ramrod Key told Deputy Chris Fraser 67 year old Gary Griesinger was acting very strangely Wednesday evening. They said when he drove up at about 7:20 p.m. , he sat in his car flashing it’s lights repeatedly for about 15 minutes. A server said while she was waiting on him  he was making “strange and inappropriate” things and acting very oddly.

The server said he got up and walked into the gift shop. She said she watched him through the window and saw him talking with the clerk, then saw the clerk turn “ghost white”. She walked in to check on the situation and the clerk handed her a note, telling her Griesinger had asked for all the money from the till.

The server told the manager, who called the Sheriff’s Office.

When deputies arrived, Griesinger was still in the gift shop. They took him into custody. During the arrest, he refused to cooperate with the deputies orders to put his hands behind his back. He was charged with robbery and resisting arrest and he was booked into jail.

During the arrest, Griesinger kept coughing; he later told deputies he had “infectious pneumonia” and it was his “gift” to the deputies and detention deputies.