August 31, 2013

Man’s body found in Marathon wooded area

The body of a  man was found in a wooded area off of Sombrero Road in Marathon Friday at 11:30 a.m.

A member of a Marathon Public Works crew working in the area said he smelled something, walked a short distance into a wooded area and found the man, lying on his back. Dead.

Detectives say they do have a tentative identification, but the body was decomposed and the Medical Examiner will have to do some further work to confirm it. The body is believed to be that of a white male who may have died up to several weeks ago.


Investigations into the circumstances of the death continue.

August 30, 2013

Highway Interdiction Operation, Stock Island

Law Enforcement agencies participated this week in a highway interdiction operation on Stock Island. During the operation, Four people were arrested on drug related charges.

On Wednesday, officers conducted 48 traffic stops in the Stock Island area for traffic and safety violations. Those stops resulted in 19 traffic citations and 12 warnings. Twelve vehicles were searched using a police K-9 team, and four people were arrested on drug related charges.

The Sheriff’s Special Investigations Unit initiated the operation with the assistance of Homeland Security investigators, Florida Highway Patrol K-9 units and Monroe County HIDTA.

 The following people were arrested: 
  •         Yasbany Noa Parrado, 33 of Marathon was arrested for trafficking in cocaine after 30 grams of the illegal substance were found hidden on his body. 
  •         Joshua D. Levitt,  31 of  Fort Lauderdale was issued a notice to appear in court for possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. 
  •         Amado Cabrera, 28 of  Key West was issued a notice to appear in court for possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana.
  •         Christopher A. Montelius, 31, of Boynton Beach was issued a notice to appear in court for possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

August 29, 2013

Drive Safely this Labor Day Weekend

Labor Day weekend is coming up and the Sheriff’s Office will be out on the county’s roadways this weekend to make sure people are driving safely.

Sheriff’s deputies will be patrolling county wide, but will be watching closely particularly in the upper Keys on Friday for incoming travelers, and on Monday for those leaving the Keys. In between those days, they will be patrolling the entire stretch of the island chain in an effort to keep everyone safe as they enjoy the weekend.

Marine deputies will be on the water patrolling heavy traffic areas as well, in an effort to keep the boating public safe. Remember: it is just as important to have a designated boat driver if you are consuming alcohol on the water as it is to have a designated driver for your automobile.

Be patient as you navigate heavy traffic on the highway. Don’t pass in no passing zones and don’t follow too closely behind the car in front of you. Enjoy the holiday weekend, but don’t drink and drive.


“We hope everyone enjoys the holiday weekend,” said Sheriff Rick Ramsay, “but please enjoy it safely.”

August 27, 2013

Man in Homestead Police custody; wanted for fleeing law enforcement in Monroe County

Key Largo – A man who stole a car in Monroe County early today fled from officers in Monroe County and then crashed the vehicle in Homestead.

The Sheriff’s Office responded to the Hess gas station at the 99 mile marker at 2:30 a.m. to a report of a stolen vehicle.  The victim said he and 21 year old Evelio Monteagudo of Key Largo – a man he’d just met – had driven his father’s Honda Ridgeline to a bank to use the ATM. The victim said while he was out of the car using the ATM, Monteagudo sped away in the vehicle.

A notice to be on the lookout was issued for the vehicle. It was spotted at the 106 mile marker by a Customs and Border Protection Agent, who attempted to stop it. The vehicle refused to stop. The supervisor on duty cancelled any pursuit of the vehicle and called ahead and notified Homestead Police and the Florida Highway Patrol about the speeding stolen vehicle.


The vehicle reportedly crashed at Southwest 320th Street and U.S. One and Monteagudo was taken into custody. He will face Monroe County charges of grand theft auto and fleeing and eluding police.

Update on teen crime spree

Detectives say they believe there are more vehicle burglaries that may have been committed by the group of teens arrested on multiple charges early Sunday. Anyone who lives in the area of Lake Surprise Subdivision in Key Largo, and who believes their car may have been burglarized between Saturday night and Sunday morning, please contact the Upper Keys Sheriff’s Substation at 305-853-3211.

The boys were also involved in a physical confrontation with two other teens earlier in the evening. The incident took place on Largo Road sometime just after midnight. The group of boys was walking on the roadway when a car drove by them. They said they felt the car passed to close to them, so one of them slapped the back of the car.

The car stopped and two other teens exited. A confrontation involving words and pushing and shoving ensued. The two got back in their car and drove a short distance away. They returned a short time later with a machete and a pipe. They again confronted the group that had slapped their car. They hit one of the teens in the group numerous times with the pipe and machete, causing superficial injuries. They then left the area in their vehicle.


Detectives say they are still investigating this incident in an attempt to determine if any charges will be brought in connection with it.

Update on stabbing at Howell’s Trailer Park

The case has been closed. The victim refuses to prosecute anyone in relation to his injuries.

August 25, 2013

Four juveniles arrested for crime spree

Four teenage boys were arrested Sunday, charged with burglarizing vehicles, a convenience store and stealing a van between Saturday night and Sunday morning.

Deputies initially responded to a report of a burglary at Marathon Gas at the 106.2 mile marker of the highway at 7 a.m. Someone had kicked in the front door and had stolen beer, cigarettes, cigars and a computer monitor. As they were taking that report, they also got a report of a white Ford van stolen from Norwood Avenue. While investigating those two crimes, a citizen reported a white van driving recklessly on Card Sound Road.

A notice to be on the lookout for the van – believed to be the stolen one – was put out over police radios. The van was reported to be in the area of Grassy Road in Key Largo. Deputies who responded to that area found four juvenile males on foot. The stolen van was found crashed into a wooded area nearby.

After questioning the four, deputies and detectives learned the boys - all aged 15 and 16 - had allegedly committed the business burglary then taken all the stolen items to a house behind the store where one of them lives. They also burglarized at least two vehicles in the Lake Surprise Subdivision – on Long Key Road and on Norwood Avenue.  They also stole the van from a residence on Norwood Avenue.


All four boys were arrested. They were all charged in connection with the store burglary, the vehicle theft and the vehicle burglaries. Investigations into their nocturnal activities continue.

Man cut on neck; detectives investigating

A man who lives at Howell’s trailer park in Islamorada was cut on the neck. He was airlifted to a Miami hospital and detectives are investigating the circumstances.

When deputies arrived Saturday in the early morning hours, they found the victim, 31 year old Alex Miranda, with lacerations to the right side of his head and neck. A woman told deputies he knocked on her door, told her he’d been attacked, then walked away and collapsed a short distance away.

Deputies went to the trailer where Miranda lives with two other men. They found blood in a number of areas, including large amount of blood around a green lawn chair near the trailer. They found broken glass and a broken beer bottle.


Miranda was airlifted to Miami for treatment of his injuries. He was later released and returned home. Detectives are investigating the circumstances of the incident.

Hialeah man charged with two boat burglaries

A Hialeah man was arrested Friday, charged with burglarizing two boats which were parked roadside in the Upper Keys.

The first boat was parked near the 80 mile marker in May of 2012. The owner told Deputy David Stark he was towing the boat and his truck broke down. He had to leave the vessel and trailer parked there until he could get the vehicle repaired. When he returned to retrieve the boat, he found someone had taken the GPS and four sets of rods and reels. Fingerprints from the case were identified as belonging to 29 year old Jesus Pereda Feros of Hialeah. A warrant was issued for his arrest for burglary of a vessel and grand theft.

The second boat was left parked for sale at the 101.5 mile marker when, on August 22nd, the owner’s mother, brother and sister were driving by and saw a man on board the boat. They stopped and confronted him. He claimed he was interested in buying it. At the time they spoke with him, he had a drill in his hand. They later discovered he had been attempting to remove speakers and an amplifier from the boat.

The brother took a picture of him before he left the scene. They also got his license plate number.

Detective Sgt. Dave Carey investigated the case. Using the license tag number, the photo and the name of a company on the shirt the suspect was wearing when his picture was taken, Carey identified him as Feros. Feros works for a delivery company called South Florida Express. He was apprehended Friday as he was about to make a delivery in Key Largo.


Feros was charged with the outstanding warrant for the 2012 crime and with a second count of burglary, grand theft and possession of burglary tools. He was booked into jail.

August 23, 2013

New Crime Watches Wanted!

Under the legendary supervision of Crime Watch Coordinator Deputy Emil La Vache, Sgt. Dennis Coleman and Deputy Vince Weiner recently established a Neighborhood Crime Watch in the 122 Street neighborhood of Marathon. Pictured is neighborhood chairperson Mike Puto a/k/a “Mr. Marathon”  erecting the sign this Saturday.

We are continuing to seek other neighborhoods county-wide that may be interested in joining the Neighborhood Watch Program. Call the Sheriff's Office Substation in your area if you would like to help start one!

Certificate of Appreciation



The Sheriff’s Office and Upper Keys command staff presented Bruce Williams of Advanced Disposal with a certificate of appreciation. He and his company have been community partners in several Upper Keys Clean Ups in recent months.

August 22, 2013

Man found floating off upper Keys is identified

Key Largo – A man whose body was found floating offshore of Key Largo Saturday has been tentatively identified.

Detective Manny Cuervo with the Sheriff’s Major Crimes Unit says he believes the man is 42 year old George Abbott Page III. His boat was found offshore of Key Largo along with belongings and identification. A photo comparison allowed the detective to tentatively identify him. The medical examiner’s office will not confirm that identity until they have a fingerprint comparison, however. That process is ongoing.

 Page’s family was notified of his death. There is no sign that Page died of foul play. 

Man arrested for murder in Marathon

Marathon – One man is dead and another is in jail for stabbing him after a fight in the mangroves in Marathon Wednesday night.

The two men were staying in a homeless encampment set up in some mangroves on the bayside of the 47 mile marker, across from Knight’s Key. A woman staying in the camp witnessed the incident, which took place about 8:45 p.m.

When Deputy Garrett Test arrived, he found the witness screaming hysterically. She showed Deputy Test and Deputy Chuck Kellenberger where the victim was. When asked who committed the crime, she said “Timothy Howard”.

She told deputies the two men fought over a missing bag. She said during the fight,  59 year old Timothy Howard stabbed the 53 year old victim with a  filet knife. The witness said she heard the victim say “you didn’t have to stab me five times” and saw him push away from Howard and fall into the water at the shoreline.

The victim then reportedly picked up his bicycle and left the encampment. Howard told the witness the victim “would be dead by the time he reaches the Mobile gas station.”

The victim was found by responding deputies at the edge of the wooded area, laying on top of his bike, dead.

Howard was found still in the encampment. The knife, a six inch long filet type knife,  was found nearby. He was taken into custody, treated for minor injuries to his  elbow and shoulder. He was charged with murder and he was booked into jail.


Detectives from the Major Crimes Unit investigated the case. They say the victim’s next of kin has not yet been notified and they would like the opportunity to attempt to speak with them prior to releasing the victim’s name.

August 21, 2013

Boat stolen from Marathon home

A 35 foot Intrepid boat was stolen from a boat lift behind a house on Bulevar De Palmas in Marathon. Detectives need the public’s assistance locating the stolen vessel.

The 35 foot Intrepid Cuddy Cabin is valued at an estimated $300,000. On Tuesday, a neighbor noticed it missing and called the owner to ask him about it. The owner, who is in Illinois, told him no one had permission to have the boat, and asked him to call the Sheriff’s Office to report it as stolen.

Deputy Brad Colen responded and found the cover to the boat lift controls open and the lift lowered.

The vessel had twin Yamaha 300 horse power four stroke engines on it, along with a Garmin chart plotter and a radar system installed, as well as an autopilot system.

Detective Trevor Wirth is investigating the case.


Anyone with information about this crime should contact the Sheriff’s Office. Callers may also contact Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. Tipsters can remain anonymous and, if a tip leads to an arrest in the case, the caller would be eligible for a cash reward. The Crime Stoppers hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS. Tips may also be submitted on line at www.tipsubmit.com.

August 18, 2013

Body of a man found offshore

The body of a man was found floating about a mile offshore of the Upper Keys Saturday.

A boater discovered the man’s body about a mile offshore on the gulf side of the 98 mile marker and called to report it. The boater stayed with the body until the U.S. Coast Guard and the Sheriff’s Office could arrive on scene about 7:30 p.m.

The body found was that of a white male, most likely 35 – 45 years old with short brown hair and no facial hair. He was approximately 5’9” – 5’10” tall and about 170 pounds. He had a number of tattoos, including a mermaid on his stomach, a sun and moon tattoo on his right side and on the underside of his upper arm a tattoo that said “I am what I am”.  He was clothed in brown shorts with a blue cloth belt and had no identification on him.

Detectives from the Sheriff’s Major Crimes Unit responded and will be investigating the case. Detective Manny Cuervo said there were no obvious signs of foul play on the body.


There are currently no reported missing persons who fit the description of the man who was found. Anyone who recognizes his description should call the Sheriff’s Office at 305-289-2351.

August 16, 2013

SWAT team training

 The Special Weapons and Tactics team was treated recently to a week of training in FBI SWAT tactics.



Deputy rescues alligator

Deputy Aaron Coller found this little alligator sitting on the highway recently on Big Pine Key. He called for FWC to respond and the reptile was relocated to be less of a danger to traffic and to himself.

Inmates clean up

The Bureau of Corrections had inmates out last week cleaning up roadside trash in their ongoing community clean up effort.

Deputy covers graffiti

Deputy Brad Colen did some “beautifying” of his community recently. He noticed some unsightly graffiti under one of the Eden Pines bridges and painted over it.

Bomb Squad talks with PAL kids

The Sheriff's Bomb Squad gave a presentation for the Police Athletic League summer camp recently, including squad members Bobby Randolph, Jay Fisher, Aaron Collier, Andrew Hudson and Squad Leader Sgt. Mike DiGiovanni.

FDOC officer receives award

Florida Department of Corrections Officer Iry Watson received a commendation from the Sheriff’s Office for coming to the aid of Deputy Chris Duncan (on the right) when he was struggling with an armed man on the side of the road in Layton.

Sergeant retires

Detention Sgt. Kevin Burgohy was promoted to Lieutenant as he prepares to retire from the Sheriff’s Office after 25 years of service. Many of his family members attended the ceremony to congratulate him. The promotion is an honorary one, given upon an officer's retirement from the agency.

Sheriff's Medal for life saving

Marine Deputy Wilfredo Guerra received a Sheriff’s Medal for saving the life of two men who jumped from the Vaca Cut Bridge in the middle of the night.

Sheriff's Office Quarterly Award winners!

Sheriff’s quarterly award winners: Detective Nicholis Whiteman, Juvenile Programs Supervisor Sherwood “Woody” Hanford, Explorer Kayle Perez and Detention Deputy Kenson Jean Baptiste.

August 15, 2013

School related crime prevention tips

With the start of school right around the corner, the Sheriff’s Office would like to remind everyone about a few school related crime prevention tips:

Tips for parents:

·         Talk to your kids about how to handle different situations like bullying, theft, sexting and fights. Teach them to report crime to authorities such as teachers, law enforcement officers or a parent. Listen carefully to any concerns they might have about their school or their safety.
·         Know where your kids are, what they are doing and who they are with at all times. Know who your child’s friends are, and meet their parents.
·         Talk to your kids about non-violent ways to handle frustration, anger and conflict. Set a good example of this yourself, every day.
·         If your child stays home alone after school, teach them to lock doors and windows and talk about what they should do if someone knocks on the door or calls on the telephone.
·         Become involved in your kid’s school – join the parent / teacher association, go on field trips or help out in the classroom.
·         Monitor your kid’s social media activity.

Tips for students:

·         Settle arguments with words, not fists or weapons.
·         Report crimes to the police, school authorities or a parent.
·         Take safe routes to and from school. Travel with others whenever possible.
·         When crossing streets on your way to and from school, be careful and look carefully for vehicle traffic. Obey traffic signals and signs.
·         Don’t use alcohol or drugs and stay away from anyone who does.
·         Get involved with school activities.
·         Don’t talk to strangers or accept rides from people you don’t know.
·         Let your parent know if you deviate from your normal school routine, so they won’t worry.

School staff:

·         Get involved with formulating school safety plans.
·         Practice good security procedures and know your school’s response plan for emergencies.
·         Participate in training about confict resolution, problem solving, crisis intervention.
·         Have local law enforcement visit and speak to students and staff about crime prevention.
·         Encourage students to report crimes or suspicious activities.

·         Report to the principal any threats, information about weapons or anything else which might indicate violent behavior.

Man arrested for stealing from Animal Shelter

 A man has been arrested for breaking in to the animal shelter on Stock Island and stealing a donation jar with $50 inside.

48 year old Lynn Thomas broke a window to gain access to the building overnight between April 12th and the 13th. He cut himself on the broken window glass, leaving behind DNA in the form of blood. Analysis of the blood identified it as belonging to Thomas.

Detective David Brummer, who investigated the case, called authorities in Linn County, Iowa where Thomas had been arrested before. Sheriff’s detectives there told Detective Brummer Thomas had been arrested in their jurisdiction for breaking in to a church and an animal hospital.


A warrant was obtained for Thomas and on Wednesday, he was charged with burglary, theft and criminal mischief. He was booked into jail.

Man arrested for bat beating

Marathon –A Marathon man is in jail after attacking another man with a bat Wednesday night.

The incident took place at Dion’s Quik Mart at 6203 Overseas Highway in Marathon. Just before 9 p.m., the victim was walking past the store, on the way home. The suspect – Randy Shipman – was parked in his truck by the store.

The victim and witnesses say Shipman jumped out of his truck with a T-ball bat in his hand and attacked the victim with it. The two men had reportedly been having problems for weeks before this.

Shipman knocked the victim to the ground and continued to hit him several more times before Deputy Jean Gonzalez arrived on the scene.


Shipman was arrested, charged with aggravated battery and booked into jail.

August 14, 2013

Missing man’s body recovered

The body of a man missing since Monday evening was recovered today by searchers with the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

The body of 39 year old Brian Kowalski of Trinity, Florida was reportedly found by an FWC aircraft on the west side of Johnson Key. An autopsy will be done to determine the cause of his death, but Major Crimes Detective Manny Cuervo said it appears the cause appears to be from accidental or natural causes.

Kowalski was on the boat trip with several other adults and children when the incident took place about 4 p.m. Monday off the gulf side of West Summerland Key. The boat was towing one of the children behind it. Several others were also in the water. The child reportedly began to show distress, so Kowalski jumped in the water to help him.

As he was helping the child, Kowalski also began to show signs of distress.  People on board the boat attempted to turn the boat around so they could help, but the rope had become wrapped around the propeller. As they struggled to remove the rope from the prop, they lost sight of Kowalski. The child he was trying to rescue was recovered and is fine.


They called 911 for assistance. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the U.S. Coast Guard responded and searched for the missing man. The Sheriff’s Office Dive Team and Marine Units also assisted in the search.

Man arrested for stealing from Circle K

Big Coppitt Key – A Cape Coral man was arrested Tuesday after he was caught on video tape stealing cigarettes and a cell phone from the Circle K convenience store on Big Coppitt Key.

Deputy Freddy Rodriguez responded to the store Tuesday morning and spoke with the manager who said he was reviewing store surveillance tape from overnight and saw a crime occur in the early morning hours. On the tape he saw three men in the store. One walked into the store’s office and put two cartons of Newport cigarettes under his shirt. He also grabbed a cell phone, taking it with him as well. The other two men walked around the store, made a few purchases and then they all left, driving away in a white Ford Crown Victoria.

Deputy Rodriguez took a report and left the store. He was on patrol at 5th Avenue and Cross Street on Stock Island a short time later when he saw three men in a car fitting that description. He pulled the car over with the assistance of Deputy Lazaro Valdes.

He told the three men they were caught on tape in the store. At that point one of the men, 20 year old Joshua Borges, admitted to the theft. He said his friends had nothing to do with it. The stolen cell phone was found in his pocket along with two packets of what appeared to be the illegal substance “Spice”. The substance will be tested and charges may be pending for possession of it.


Borges was charged with burglary and grand theft. He was booked into jail.

August 13, 2013

Sheriff’s Office prepared for the beginning of School

Monroe County – The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office will be out in force next week guarding the safety of children returning to school.

“We take school related safety very seriously,” said Sheriff Rick Ramsay. “We have a no tolerance policy for people who choose to speed in school zones, and for those who illegally pass school buses. We will be out in force beginning next week in both marked and unmarked cars watching for violators.”

School Resource Officers and School Crossing Guards will return to their posts Monday at various schools throughout the Keys. In addition, Sheriff’s Office Traffic Enforcement deputies will patrol school zones in the county to make sure drivers realize school is back in session. Road Patrol deputies will also be spending any free time they have concentrating on areas surrounding schools and school bus stops and they will be writing tickets to anyone not obeying the speed limits in school zones or those illegally passing school buses.

Children and parents should also remember: if you ride a bicycle to school, Florida law requires anyone under the age of 16 to wear a helmet. You may receive a $25.00 citation if you are caught riding without one.

Anyone driving in the county next week should make an extra effort to watch out for students, who may not be paying attention to traffic in their excitement about returning to school. Be especially careful around residential neighborhoods, areas with bus stops, and around schools themselves.


Sheriff’s detectives investigating man missing from boat

A 39 year old man from Trinity, Florida is missing. He jumped into the water from a boat to save a child in distress. The child was recovered, but the man went missing during his rescue efforts.

Brian Kowalski was on the boat trip with several other adults and children when the incident took place about 4 p.m. off the gulf side of West Summerland Key. The boat was towing one of the children behind it, hanging on to a rope. Several others were also in the water. The child began to show distress, so Kowalski jumped in the water to help him.

As he was helping the child back to the boat, Kowalski also began to show signs of distress. Two people on board the boat attempted to turn the boat around so they could help, but the rope had become entangled around the propeller. As they struggled to remove the rope from the prop, they lost sight of Kowalski. The child he was trying to rescue was recovered and is fine.

They called 911 for assistance. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission responded and searched for the missing man until 10 p.m. He was not found. The search is expected to continue today.


Sheriff’s detectives have been assigned to investigate the case.

August 12, 2013

Man charged with vessel burglary

A Stock Island man has been arrested, charged with stealing fishing gear from a boat docked at Safe Harbor Marina on Stock Island.

The theft occurred sometime in the early morning hours on July 16th. The victim found four fishing rods and reels missing from his boat, which was docked overnight at the marina. The rods and reels were valued at approximately $1,600.

Video surveillance cameras in the area caught two men on camera stealing the rods and reels. One of the men was identified as 42 year old Felipe Fonseca of Stock Island. Detective Dave Chavka and Deputy Freddy Rodriguez confronted Fonseca with their evidence and he admitted to the theft, but refused to identify his accomplice.


A warrant was issued for his arrest. He was charged with burglary and grand theft. Investigations into the incident are continuing.

August 11, 2013

Man charged with cutting man, trying to throw him in front of vehicle

A Tavernier man was arrested Saturday afternoon for cutting another man on the hand with a box cutter, then trying to throw him in front of a moving vehicle.

Deputy Matt Koval responded to an area behind Mariner’s Hospital at 5:20 p.m. to reports of two men fighting. When he arrived, the two men were there along with a hospital security guard.

The victim told Deputy Koval he and 48 year old Mark Peto were drinking beer underneath the movie theater at Tavernier Towne when Peto suddenly attacked him, cutting his thumb with a box cutter. The victim said he was walking to the hospital to have his thumb treated when Peto attacked him again, grabbing him around the neck with his arm. Peto then tried to throw him in front of an ambulance. The ambulance swerved around them.

The security guard witnessed the part of the fight which took place near the hospital. He was able to intervene and get the two men separated before Deputy Koval arrived.


Peto was arrested. He was charged with aggravated battery, aggravated assault and battery.

August 9, 2013

Serving a meal at Independence Cay

Members of the Sheriff’s Office serving a meal to residents at Independence Cay in Marathon. Communications donated money for the Picadillo. Rosa DiGiovanni cooked the rice and beans and many people helped out including Lee Ann Holroyd, Linda Mixon, Jamie Denton, Tiffany O’Connell, Deshawn Battle, Roxanne Rahming, Manny Cuervo and Lissette Zuelch.

Weekley receives FSA award

Sheriff Rick Ramsay presented businessman Alton Weekley with a special award from the Florida Sheriff’s Association. Weekly has donated to the FSA Youth Ranches for 40 years.

Home Depot donates carpet

Scott Corbin from Marathon Home Depot donated carpeting so the Major Crimes Unit could install it at Independence Cay, a transitional home for the homeless population in Marathon.

Sheriff’s Traffic Unit takes top award

In the photo, members of the traffic unit, Sheriff Rick Ramsay and
Captains Chad Scibilia and Penny Phelps traveled to Orlando
to accept the top Law Enforcement Challenge award
.

The Sheriff’s Traffic Enforcement Team was recently awarded first place overall in the Florida Law Enforcement Challenge. They took the top award beating out 196 other participating agencies, including major metropolitan areas, such as Broward County and Miami-Dade County.
These awards mean that Monroe County has performed best overall in 15 traffic related categories, including reduction of traffic crashes and percentage of seatbelt compliance. Last year, the unit took first place among departments of a similar size, and took second place in the DUI Challenge.
This prestigious award comes with a significant amount of traffic safety equipment, valued at approximately $22,000, including radar and laser speed enforcement equipment, emergency lights.


Hialeah man’s fingerprints lead to arrest

A Hialeah man was arrested for a Key Largo burglary after his fingerprints were found at the scene.

31 year old Yosvany Sosa was booked into Monroe County jail Thursday, charged with the burglary of a home on Tarpon Basin Drive on March 12th. Deputies and detectives responded to investigate after neighbors said they saw two men jump into a car and speed away from the unoccupied house.

Investigations revealed a large flat screened television set and a laptop computer were stolen. Suspects broke a rear window to gain entrance to the home.

A number of items were fingerprinted by Detective and Crime Scene Investigator Barney Sajdak. The prints were sent away to Florida Department of Law Enforcement for an identification. They returned as belonging to Sosa.


A warrant was issued for his arrest for burglary, grand theft and criminal mischief. 

August 8, 2013

Grow house busted in Marathon

Marathon – Deputies discovered a marijuana growing operation when they went to a home on East 63rd Street in Marathon to serve an arrest warrant today.

Deputies were at the home to arrest John Wyckoff on a warrant for failure to comply reference violation of vessel health and safety regulations. As they were serving the warrant, they discovered Wyckoff was growing marijuana.


Detectives from the Special Investigations Division responded. They located 22 marijuana plants and 124 grams of processed marijuana. They also found equipment used to cultivate the marijuana, including LED grow lights. Wyckoff was charged with cultivation of marijuana, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Traffic stops lead to drug arrests

The Sheriff’s Office participated in a traffic enforcement operation on Stock Island this week, targeting vehicles bringing illegal narcotics into the county.

On Wednesday, officers stopped 20 vehicles, issuing one citation, 11 warnings, searching 15 vehicles using a police K-9 team and arresting three people on drug charges. The Department of Homeland Security assisted in the operation.

Shanice Lopez,  24, of Key West was arrested for possession of a controlled substance. She was in possession of 8 pills of MDMA, also known as Ecstasy or “Mollys”.

Bernard Stidham, 25, of Stock Island was arrested for possessing 6.29 grams of cocoaine and possession of marijuana.


Ryan Parraguez, 20, of Stock Island was arrested for possession of marijuana.

August 7, 2013

National Night Out events were great fun for everyone!

National Night Out events held in several locations in the Keys Tuesday night attracted many community members who had the opportunity to meet people who work in the field of public safety, including the Sheriff's Office, Key West Police, County and city firefighters, the U.S. Coast Guard, Florida Highway Patrol and many more. Here are some photos of the events:

Photos from National Night Out at Bernstein Park on Stock Island.

Photos from National Night Out in Marathon

Photos from the Islamorada National Night Out event

Photos from National Night Out event, Key Largo

Man wanted for trafficking credit cards in custody

The man wanted on a $1.5 million bond for trafficking in fraudulent credit cards was taken into custody Tuesday afternoon as he waited for a flight to Russia.

Detective Dave Chavka received information Tuesday that 41 year old Alex Bogomolny had purchased plane tickets to travel to Russia. At that point, Bogomolny had already flown out of Key West to New York, but had reportedly missed his connecting flight to Russia and was waiting in the John F. Kennedy airport for another flight. Detective Chavka solicited the help of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. ICE agents found Bogomolny at the JFK airport and took him into custody.


Bogomolny will be returned to Monroe County to face his charges.

Traffic Stop leads to arrests on Stock Island

On Tuesday afternoon, detectives with Special Investigations Unit were conducting surveillance on 6419 2nd Terrace Apt 4 on Stock Island. They saw a gray Dodge Ram truck arrive at the apartment only staying a few minutes. A man later identified as 26 year old Ramon Gomez Saravia of Key West leave the apartment and place a white bag on the rear seat of the truck.

Detectives followed the truck to Cross Street and Fifth Ave. While following the vehicle, detectives saw it run all the stop signs and the truck’s brake lights were not functioning. Detectives stopped the vehicle for the traffic violations.

A K-9 team was called to the scene. K-9 Deja alerted on the truck. Detectives searched inside, locating a white bag on the back seat containing 232 grams of marijuana.

The other man in the truck, 41 year old Carlos Ivan Lopez Cruz of Miami was sitting next to the bag containing the marijuana. The search also turned up $4,135 in suspected drug proceeds. The cash and truck were seized for possible forfeiture. 

As a result of the two drug arrests, a search warrant was obtained for 6419 Second Terrace, Apt 4 on Stock Island. The Sheriff’s SWAT team and Special Investigations detectives executed the warrant. 36 year old Joe Lee Presley of Homestead was in the apartment.

The search turned up 24 pounds of marijuana and 13 crack cocaine rocks. Presley was arrested and charged with possession of cocaine and possession of marijuana. 


During the search, 22 year old Michael McIntosh came out of apartment 5 and asked detectives what was happening. Detectives noticed that McIntosh had a marijuana cigarette on his ear.  McIntosh was arrested and charged with misdemeanor possession of marijuana.

Drug arrest on Stock Island

On August 6, 2013 at approximately 11:00 AM Special Investigations detectives were conducting surveillance on Stock Island when they observed what appeared to be a narcotics transaction between two men at the corner of First Avenue and Second Street.

Detectives made contact with the man who appeared to be the purchaser in the transaction. He had several pieces of crack cocaine which he admitted buying from the other man, who was later identified as 24 year old Richard Freeman of Florida City.


Freeman was later apprehended by detectives, He was charged with sale of cocaine and booked into jail.

August 6, 2013

Upcoming event for Special Olymics


Hurricane Awareness

Sgt. Dennis Coleman attended a Hurricane Awareness event at the Marathon Home Depot recently.

Sheriff's Animal Farm open Sunday, August 11th

The Sheriff's Animal Farm will be open this Sunday August 11th, 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.

You can also keep up with the farm and it’s animals on Facebook. Visit our page at www.facebook.com/KeysAnimalFarm


Farm active at events around the county

 Farmer Jeanne and her animals have been active this summer visiting special events around the county. In the photos, a child attending an American in Disabilities Act event in Marathon enjoys holding a ferret and County Commissioner Sylvia Murphy, a big supporter of the Animal Farm, is pictured with Farmer Jeanne and Mo the Sloth at the same event.

Helping out the Wild Bird Center

A group from the Sheriff’s Office spent time at the Wild Bird Center in the Middle Keys, cleaning up and putting together bird cages. The cages were built by Sheriff Rick Roth.

Four graduate from leadership course


The four recent graduates of the Southern Police Institute’s Command Officers Development course: Left to right, Det. Sgt. Linda Mixon, Lt. Patrick Major, Sgt. and Bomb Squad Leader Mike Digiovanni, Sgt. and SWAT Leader Joel Slough.

Key Largo woman receives award

Sheriff Rick Ramsay and Lt. Mitch Horn presented  Maggie Hogan with an award from the Florida Sheriff’s Association. Hogan, who lives in Key Largo, has been an Honorary Member of the FSA for 25 years.

National Night Out, county wide, tonight

Come join us tonight at National Night Out!!!

The Key Largo event will be from 6 – 8 p.m. at Key Largo Community Park located at the 99mm of Highway U.S. One. Captain Don Fanelli and Lieutenant Mitch Horn want to invite the entire community to attend their free event. Members of the Sheriff’s Office will be on hand, along with others from the public safety community; there will be food, refreshments, music and lots of fun.

The Islamorada National Night Out event will be held at Founder’s Park in Islamorada from 6 to 8 p.m. Captain Corey Bryan and Lt. Derek Paul invite everyone to join them and have some fun. Visit with members of the Sheriff’s Office, Islamorada Fire/Rescue and other public safety and community groups. There will be free food, music and refreshments.

The Marathon event will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. at Marathon Community Park. Captain Chad Scibilia, Lt. Bruce Winegarden and Lt. Nancy Alvarez invite everyone to join them and have some fun. There will be free food and refreshments, and residents will be able to visit many law enforcement, public safety and community groups at the event. The Masonic Lodge Child ID trailer will be on hand, along with the Blood Mobile. The Sheriff’s Office will also partner with local Rotary clubs and the UNITED WAY at National Night Out for the annual Stuff the Bus campaign, collecting school supplies for needy Monroe County students.

The Lower Keys Sheriff’s Office will hold a National Night Out event at Bernstein Park on Stock Island, from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. This event will feature a special appearance by Farmer Jeanne Selander and a selection of animals from the Sheriff’s Office Animal Farm. A wide variety of law enforcement and other public safety agencies will be on hand as well.

Two charged with stolen car, fleeing from deputies, drug possession

Key Largo – Two men have been arrested after they fled from deputies in a stolen car, crashed into a Key Largo business and fled the scene on foot.

Deputy Pedro Garcia was on another traffic stop at 7:30 p.m. at the 93 mile marker with Deputy Vaughn O’Keefe when a Honda Civic with two men inside passed him with a loud exhaust. Deputy Garcia followed the vehicle, attempting to stop it. Instead of stopping it sped up, fleeing from him at a high rate of speed. The deputy ran the tag, which came back stolen from Miami.

The fleeing vehicle lost control and crashed into a business – Port Engineers near the 102 mile marker of the highway. The two suspects fled from the car on foot.

Deputies responded to the area of the crash. As they were setting up a perimeter and beginning to search, they were approached by a citizen who said two men were hiding behind a van parked nearby. The suspects were found behind the van and were taken into custody.

24 year old Luis Hernandez of Homestead and 27 year old Reyes Cabezas of Hialeah were booked into jail and face multiple charges. A felony amount of marijuana and various items of drug paraphernalia were found in a bag on the ground behind the Honda Civic. A large amount of cash in small bills was found in Cabeza’s pocket. The car showed signs that the ignition  and steering column had been tampered with as it was being stolen. Tools that could perform that task were found in the bag as well.


Hernandez was charged with vehicle theft, fleeing and eluding police, driving with his license suspended, possession of burglary tools, possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. Cabezas was charged with fleeing and eluding police, possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. Both were booked into jail. The Florida Highway Patrol investigated the vehicle accident.

Key Largo man charged with attempting to rape young woman

Key Largo – A 52 year old Key Largo man is in jail, charged with exposing himself, fondling and forcibly kissing a young woman against her will.

Pedro Portillo was supposed to bring the young woman a sandwich Monday afternoon. He walked into her home and found her in the shower. He opened the shower curtain and groped her breast and her vagina, despite her protests.

The victim pulled the curtain closed but he opened it again and this time he was naked. He fondled himself in front of her saying “you know you want this.” She fled from the shower and ran to the living room. He followed her and forcibly kissed her. She pushed him away and ran back to the bathroom in an attempt to lock herself in. He forced his way in the bathroom, forcibly kissing her again and grabbing her buttocks. She again told him no and told him to leave. At that point he did leave the house.


Portillo was found at a trailer he owns in Calusa Campground in Key Largo. He was placed under arrest. Portillo was charged with attempted sexual battery and he was booked into jail.

August 5, 2013

Tavernier man charged with felony marijuana after accident

A 19 year old Tavernier man was arrested Sunday night after he got into an accident at the 97 mile marker and was found to be in possession of a large amount of marijuana.

Dispatchers received a call about an accident at 11:30 p.m. The caller said a white Mercedes was traveling at a high rate of speed and hit another car. He said the Mercedes driver wanted to leave the scene and appeared to possibly be intoxicated.

When Deputy Tony Conde arrived, 19 year old Wyatt Bastron kept trying to reach underneath the seat of the car. He said he was reaching for his wallet, but his wallet was in his hand. The deputy found a Budweiser beer can on the floorboard and a small vial of white powder which Bastron said was “Molly”, also known as Ecstasy.

In the trunk of the car, deputies found four cases of beer and a backpack which Bastron said was his. In the backpack were several containers with a total of 111 grams of marijuana inside. A digital scale was also found.


A Florida Highway Patrol trooper responded to investigate the crash. Bastron was booked into jail on charges of possession of marijuana with intent to sell, possession of a felony amount of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of alcohol by someone under 21 years of age. The white powder will be tested and more charges may be pending.

August 4, 2013

Key Largo man arrested for battering girlfriend, attacking man

Key Largo – A Key Largo man is in jail, charged with attacking both his girlfriend and a neighbor in the same day.

Just before 9 a.m. Saturday, Deputy Jaques Rozek was flagged down by a woman at the 99 mile marker who wanted to report her boyfriend,42 year old Larry Riley, had tried to strangle her. Deputy E.B. Askins also responded.

She said Riley, whom she lives with, attacked her at their residence earlier in the morning. She said he was holding a crow bar at the time, and threatened to hit her with it. She managed to escape and he chased after her car, throwing rocks at it.

She said she went to work and he called her there, threatening to bring the crow bar and a gun and kill the owner of the business and anyone else who got in the way. Another woman who works with the victim also heard the call and confirmed the threats made by Riley. The victim had red marks on her neck consistent with someone trying to strangle her.

As the deputies were investigating the case, Sheriff’s dispatchers notified them of a disturbance at Largo RV Park involving two men and a crow bar. The address of the disturbance was Riley’s. When they arrived, they spoke with witnesses who said Riley had attacked  a man with a crow bar. The witnesses said they intervened and took the crow bar away from Riley, but the two men still fought with each other.

Riley was found in his residence and was taken into custody. The victim refused medical treatment and said he did not know why Riley attacked him, but that he had been acting strangely.


Riley was charged with two counts of aggravated assault, battery and domestic battery. He was booked into jail.

Man charged with false 911 call

Tavernier – A Tavernier man was arrested Saturday afternoon for falsely reporting that his girlfriend had been kidnapped.

35 year old Mathew Corp called Sheriff’s dispatchers just after 2 p.m. He reported his wife had been kidnapped by two men who were heading north from the 92 mile marker driving a U-Haul truck. A notice to be on the lookout for the vehicle was issued over police radios and Deputy E.B. Askins responded to Burton drive to meet with Corp.

When he arrived at Corp’s address, he found a vehicle parked out front that was running with the doors open. Two women exited Corp’s apartment. One identified herself as Corp’s “now ex-girlfriend”. She said she was moving out of the apartment.

Corp then exited the apartment. He was obviously intoxicated and began yelling at Deputy Askins and at the two women. He told Deputy Askins he’d called in the false kidnapping report to keep his girlfriend from leaving his apartment.


Corp was arrested. He fought with Deputy Askins as he was being arrested. He was charged with misuse of 911 and resisting arrest and he was booked into jail.

August 2, 2013

Reminder: National Night Out Events scheduled county-wide NEXT WEEK!

On Tuesday, August 6th, the Sheriff's Office will sponsor National Night Out events in the Upper, Middle and Lower Keys. All of the events will feature food, refreshments, and a great chance to meet your neighbors, members of the Sheriff’s Office from a wide variety of divisions, departments and special teams and many others who are involved in the field of public safety here in the Florida Keys.

The Key Largo event will be Tuesday, August 6th from 6 – 8 p.m. at Key Largo Community Park located at the 99mm of Highway U.S. One. Captain Don Fanelli and Lieutenant Mitch Horn want to invite the entire community to attend their free event. Members of the Sheriff’s Office will be on hand, along with others from the public safety community; there will be food, refreshments, music and lots of fun.

The Islamorada National Night Out event will be held at Founder’s Park in Islamorada Tuesday, August 6th from 6 to 8 p.m. Captain Corey Bryan and Lt. Derek Paul invite everyone to join them and have some fun. Visit with members of the Sheriff’s Office, Islamorada Fire/Rescue and other public safety and community groups. There will be free food, music and refreshments.

 The Marathon event will be held on Tuesday, August 6th from 6 to 8 p.m. at Marathon Community Park. Captain Chad Scibilia, Lt. Bruce Winegarden and Lt. Nancy Alvarez invite everyone to join them and have some fun. There will be free food and refreshments, and residents will be able to visit many law enforcement, public safety and community groups at the event. The Masonic Lodge Child ID trailer will be on hand, along with the Blood Mobile.  The Sheriff’s Office will also partner with local Rotary clubs and the UNITED WAY at National Night Out for the annual Stuff the Bus campaign, collecting school supplies for needy Monroe County students.

The Lower Keys Sheriff’s Office will hold a National Night Out event at Bernstein Park on Stock Island, Tuesday, August 6th  from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. This event will feature a special appearance by Farmer Jeanne Selander and a selection of animals from the Sheriff’s Office Animal Farm. A wide variety of law enforcement and other public safety agencies will be on hand as well.

Detective asks for help locating suspect


Detective Dave Chavka is asking for the public’s assistance locating a man wanted on multiple counts of fraud and illegal use of a credit card. Bond on the outstanding warrant is $1.5 million.

Deputies Aaron Coller and Andrew Hudson first encountered 41 year old Alex Bogomolny after receiving reports of a stolen bicycle after midnight on Big Pine Key. The owner gave dispatchers a description of the bike and the deputies spotted it while still on their way to the call. It was in the possession of Bogomolny. It was later identified as the bike, which had been stolen from the Tom Thumb store while the owner was inside shopping.

As the deputies questioned Bogomolny about the bike, and asked for his identification, they discovered he had multiple debit cards with different names on them. Bogomolny claimed not to know where the cards came from. He later changed his story and said they belonged to his “business partner”. A total of 24 cards were seized with four different names on them.

The bike’s owner identified the bike as his, but did not want to press charges. Bogomolny was released, but the case was referred to detectives to further investigate the issue of the debit cards in his possession.

Deputy Dave Chavka was assigned to investigate. He went to Bogomolny’s residence on Lesrhode Drive, Ramrod Key. There was mail in the mailbox with his name on it, but he was not at home. In his trash, placed curbside, Detective Chavka found mail which appeared to be from credit and debit card companies addressed to several other people. The detective contacted the people whose names were on the mail. None of them gave Bogomolny permission to possess their mail, or to have any kind of credit or debit cards in their name.

A warrant was obtained for his arrest. The warrant charges him with trafficking in counterfeit credit cards, dealing in credit cards of another person, and two counts criminal use of personal identification.


Anyone with information about this crime should contact the Sheriff’s Office. Callers may also contact Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. Tipsters can remain anonymous and, if a tip leads to an arrest in the case, the caller would be eligible for a cash reward. The Crime Stoppers hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS. Tips may also be submitted on line at www.tipsubmit.com.

August 1, 2013

Detectives clear several crimes in Key Largo, arrest Miami man

Sheriff’s detectives have arrested a Miami man, charging him with stealing a boat, a jet ski on a trailer, and a separate jet ski trailer from Key Largo homes over the past few months.

Video surveillance from one of the homes helped to solve the crimes. Detectives say the first theft took place in April, when a jet ski trailer was stolen from a home on Eagle Avenue in Key Largo. Then, June 21st, a jet ski on a trailer was stolen from a home on Grassy Road. Finally, on June 27th a man who lives on Calder Road in Key Largo called to report his Boston Whaler was taken from underneath his home. The man told detectives he had video cameras which showed the theft.

The surveillance footage showed a Jaguar sedan pull up to the house. A man got out and cut the lock on the boat trailer, hooked it up to his car and drove away with it. Detectives were able to obtain the car’s license tag. The car was registered to 22 year old Rigoberto Vazquez of Miami.

They went to Vazquez’ home. The Jaguar was found parked in front of his house. With the assistance of Miami-Dade Police they spoke with Vazquez, confronting him with the information they had. Vazquez admitted to stealing the boat, the jet ski and the trailers. The engine from the Boston Whaler was found at his home, attached to another vessel. Tools he used to commit the crimes were found in the Jaguar.


Vazquez was charged with three counts of burglary, three counts of grand theft and possession of burglary tools. Detectives Francisco Gaete and Yunier Galvez worked together on the cases.

Man charged with cocaine trafficking

Marathon – A Marathon man was arrested on an outstanding warrant for cocaine trafficking Wednesday.


Detectives worked a case against 53 year old Rene Gallo Sanchez, arranging to purchase an ounce of cocaine from him. The purchase was completed with the cocaine sold by Gallo Sanchez for $800.00. A warrant was obtained for his arrest and on Wednesday, he was arrested for trafficking in cocaine. Bond on the warrant is set at $75,000.

Trusted neighbor charged with stealing, using woman’s credit cards

Tavernier – A Tavernier woman told detectives a trusted neighbor stole her credit cards and used them to withdraw $3,000 from her bank account without her permission.

Detective Bob Dosh was assigned to investigate. His investigation showed 35 year old Valerie Crespo was a neighbor of the victim. The victim gave Crespo a key to her home and would often stay there when the victim was not home. According to the victim, Crespo took the two credit cards from her wallet one night as she slept.

Detective Dosh found that Crespo used the credit card 17 times at various automated teller machines to withdraw a total of $3,000 from the victim’s bank accounts.

The detective confronted Crespo and she admitted to taking the money. She claimed the victim gave her permission to take the money from her accounts.


Crespo was arrested Wednesday and charged with grand theft and 17 counts fraudulent use of a credit card. She was booked into jail.