October 31, 2013

Boat fire injures one

A 33 foot Chris Craft Cabin Cruiser caught fire today behind a house on Jolly Roger Drive in Key Largo. The owner of the boat was burned on the leg. He told deputies he dove out the door of the cabin as the boat caught fire.

58 year old Robert Doyle told Deputy Sever Hustad he started the boat just before 9 a.m. and noticed a small flame on the battery which he tried to put out with a rag. He said the rag caught fire and began to spread. He said he dove out the cabin door just as the fire “flashed”, and he was burned on the leg.


Doyle said he was running the engines because he was selling the boat next week. Key Largo Fire Department responded and extinguished the blaze. The Fire Marshal was notified and will be investigating. He was taken to Mariner’s Hospital for treatment of his injury.

October 30, 2013

Search warrant in Marathon

Detectives from the Sheriff’s Special Investigations Unit, assisted by road patrol deputies, served a search warrant at a Marathon residence Tuesday afternoon, arresting two people on drug related charges.

The warrant was served at 3 p.m., at 212 Lindahl Street in Marathon. Outside detectives encountered 28 year old Kevin Aaron Lewis. Inside, they found 27 year old Bradford Phillips.

 A search of the residence turned up 22 pieces of crack cocaine and half of a crack cocaine cookie that had not yet been broken up into pieces. The crack cocaine weighed 10.6 grams. They also found a small amount of marijuana, and $1,000 in cash which was seized because it was suspected to be the proceeds of drug sales.


Phillips was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia. Lewis was charged with possession of cocaine with intent to distribute.

October 27, 2013

Brush Fire in Marathon

Marathon Fire Department and Sheriff's deputies on the scene of a brush fire yesterday in the vicinity of 105th Street. Unknown how the fire started. It was quickly extinguished. Photo by Sgt. Dennis Coleman.

Suspect who fired at deputies is shot and killed

Photo is the house where the shooting took place. A group of investigators stand outside, in the driveway.

A suspect who fired a gun at deputies this afternoon was shot and killed at a home in Islamorada.

Deputies responded to a shots fired call just before 1 p.m. at 118 Bayview Isles Drive in the Venetian Shores Subdivision of Islamorada. When they arrived, a witness on the scene told them the suspect, 73 year old Robert Parlette, Jr., was behind the house with a gun.

The officers walked behind the house. Parlette fired at them. They fired back, hitting him in the chest. He was transported to Mariner’s Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement will be the lead investigating agency. This is standard procedure for an officer involved shooting.


Any further information will be released by the FDLE.

October 24, 2013

Explorers learn about firearms safety

Traffic Enforcement Deputy Thomas Hill spent time with Middle Keys Explorers recently, teaching them about firearms safety.

Cadets learn about radar

Cadets in the Upper Keys learned about traffic enforcement and radar last week thanks to Traffic Enforcement Deputy Andrew Leird.

Safety event, Islamorada


 The Sheriff’s Office attended a safety event held at Founder’s Park in Islamorada recently for kids from Treasure Village Montessori School.




Clean Up Project, 33rd Street in Marathon


Before........
After........
Great Turnout for a clean up and painting project on 33rd Street in Marathon last weekend. The event was organized by Sgt. Dennis Coleman with many people from the Sheriff’s Office and the Community turning out to help. Dennis would like to thank the following community partners for an outstanding job: MCSO, The Rotary Club, Team Depot, KCB Police, Habitat for Humanity, FKAA, BJF Marine Service, The Cub Scouts, BLE Class 52, Kelley Electric, Cash Flow Jewelers, The Morgan Insurance Group and all the citizens.







Before.......
After......

College / Career Days at area high schools

This week, College / Career Days were held at Marathon High (top photo) and Key West High School. The Sheriff’s Office was on hand to talk to students about possible career opportunities with our agency.

Selling pumpkins for MARC!

Sgt. David Smith and Deputy Tomas Venegas selling pumpkins at the MARC House this week. Don't forget to stop by the MARC House and buy a pumpkin. They have them in all shapes and sizes and it is for a great cause!

Halloween Safety Tips



Halloween is a special time for children, but children don’t always know what is and is not safe. If your children are going  trick or treating on Halloween, there are several tips to follow for their safety.
  • Make sure they wear light colored costumes with plenty of reflective tape so they are visible to cars and trucks. Take a flashlight along for added visibility.
  • Look left, right and left again when crossing the street.
  • Put electronic devices away so there are no distractions.
  •  If possible, have them go while it is still light outside.
  • They should be accompanied by an adult, or an older brother or sister.
  •  Enter homes only if you're with a trusted adult. Only visit well-lit houses. Don't stop at dark houses. Never accept rides from strangers.
  •  They should not sample candy given to them until it has been checked by an adult for possible tampering.
  •  Notify a deputy if suspicious or harmful items are found in your child’s collection of treats.
  • They should stay away from homes with dogs loose in the yard.
  • Having a Halloween party is a good alternative to the tradition of trick or treating. It gives kids an opportunity to have a good time in a supervised and safe atmosphere. 
Tips for people driving on Halloween: 
  •          Slow down and be especially alert in residential neighborhoods. Children are excited on Halloween and may dart in front of cars when crossing the street.
  •          Take extra time and look carefully for kids at intersections, on medians and on curbs.
  •          Enter and exit driveways slowly and carefully.
  •          Eliminate any distractions inside your car so you can concentrate on the road and your surroundings.
  •          Drive slowly, anticipate heavy pedestrian traffic and turn your headlights on earlier in the day to spot children from greater distances.
  •          Popular trick-or-treating hours are 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. so be especially alert for kids during those hours 

And a few tips for pet owners:
  • Don't leave your pet out in the yard on Halloween: There are plenty of pranksters who will go out of their way to tease pets and you don’t want your dog to bite a trick-or-treater who might venture too close.
  •  Trick-or-treat candy is not for pets: Chocolate is poisonous to many animals, and tin foil and cellophane candy wrappers can be hazardous if swallowed by your pet.
  • Be careful your cat or dog doesn't dart out through the open door when you open it for trick or treaters.

Visit our web site at www.keysso.net for more fun information about Halloween Safety.

October 22, 2013

Woman dies while snorkeling offshore of Key Largo

A 75 year old woman from died while snorkeling offshore of Key Largo today.

Peggie Lanizzani of Umatilla, Florida and her sister who is from Illinois were both visiting the Keys. They were on a snorkeling trip together on the Sundiver III. Her sister told Sgt. Susan Keene they were both floating in the water together when she realized something was wrong. She said she began pulling her sister back to the boat and yelled for help. She said someone from the boat assisted them on board.

According to employees on the boat, CPR was started on Lanizzani, and continued as the boat headed in to shore. When the boat docked, Lanizzani was turned over to paramedics just after 1 p.m.


Lanizzani was transported to Mariner’s Hospital where she was pronounced dead. An autopsy will be done to determine the cause of her death.

Sobriety Checkpoint planned October 24th in Key Largo

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office will be operating a sobriety checkpoint Thursday, October 24th in the vicinity of the 103 mile marker of U.S. One in Key Largo. The checkpoint will start at 9 p.m. and will be in operation for several hours.


Officers on the scene will be pulling cars over to the side of the road and checking drivers for impairment. They will also check for outstanding warrants, and check vehicles for properly operating safety equipment.

Man arrested for stealing, pawning jewelry

A Key Largo man was arrested Monday, charged with taking his girlfriend’s jewelry without her permission and pawning it.

The victim told Deputy E.B. Askins she took her jewelry off on the 17th, putting it in the drawer of her nightstand in her bedroom. She said she looked for it the following day to put it back on, but it was gone. She said the only person who had access to that area of her home was 35 year old Jose Santos, whom she has a relationship with.

She visited Coral Financial Pawn Shop where she found the missing jewelry. The owner of the pawn shop told Deputy Askins the jewelry had been pawned by Santos during several different visits to the shop. He said Santos claimed to be the owner of the items he was pawning.


Santos was arrested. He was charged with grand theft, four counts of dealing in stolen property and three counts of giving false information to a pawn broker.

October 21, 2013

Key West man charged with burglary, battery

I originally posted this story on Sunday and had the name wrong. Here is the corrected version. I'm sorry for the error.

A man who lives on board a boat in Key West harbor was arrested Saturday, charged with entering another man’s boat without permission and beating him.

The victim told Deputy David Lariz he was sleeping in the early morning hours Saturday when Travis Iverson entered his boat. He said he woke up to find Iverson choking him. The two men struggled, with Iverson hitting the victim several times in the face. The victim said during the attack, Iverson made comments about the victim’s ex-girlfriend who recently died. The victim had numerous injuries consistent with his story, including a swollen lip, black eye and marks on his  neck.

Deputy Lariz found Iverson near the dinghy docks at Turtle Kraals. Iverson had minor injuries consistent with a struggle, including abrasions on his elbows and scratches. He was arrested, charged with burglary with battery on the occupant and he was taken to jail.

October 20, 2013

Traffic stop yields drugs; driver arrested

A Miami man was charged with possessing multiple types of drugs after he was stopped for excessive speed in Key Largo early today.

Sgt. Ralph Williams first saw the small black Audi northbound at 12:30 a.m., traveling at a high rate of speed estimated to be 90 miles per hour in a 45 mile per hour zone. He saw the car pass several vehicles in the center turn lane. He radioed ahead to other deputies, giving them a description of the vehicle. The car was spotted at the 102 mile marker by Deputies Vaughn O’Keefe and Derick Valez, traveling well over the speed limit and it was pulled over. The driver, 22 year old Robert Connell, was arrested for reckless driving. He later admitted he was going 115 mile per hour when he was stopped.


An inventory search of this car prior to it being towed revealed several different kinds of drugs, including marijuana, cocaine and Xanax. Connel was further charged with possessing those illegal substances and he was booked into jail.

October 19, 2013

Business checked for alcohol sales to minors

On October 18, 2013 The Special Investigations Division conducted an operation checking businesses that sell alcohol in the Lower Keys. Twenty businesses were checked including restaurants, convenience stores and bars. Two of the businesses served alcohol to minors during our investigations. The two people who sold the alcohol were given notices to appear before a Monroe County Judge. 

The following are a list of the Business, and suspects who sold the alcohol:

·         Kickin Back Food Store on Cudjoe Key. Attendant – Daniel E Smith, 23 years of age. Notice to appear issued.

·         Walgreens on Big Pine Key. Attendant – Rosa Bundy Gilday, 31 years of age.  Notice to appear issued.        

The Sale Clerk violations are up to 60 days in jail, a $500 fine, $235 in court cost, $75 in cost of prosecution, and $40 in cost of investigation.

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


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

Woman arrested for beating another woman

A Big Coppitt Key woman is in jail for beating another woman, sending her to the hospital with serious facial injuries.

The victim told Deputy Josh Gordon she’d been drinking with friends in Key West. She said the suspect, Jean Annis, was giving her a ride afterward in her Jeep when they began arguing. She said she and the Annis had a romantic relationship for nine months which had ended, but they’d remained friends.

She said they argued over text messages she’d received about another woman. The argument became physical, with Annis attacking her, punching and kicking her. She said the suspect was going to drop her at her mother’s house on 18th Street in Key West, but they continued to fight. She said Annis finally pushed her out of the moving Jeep.

The victim walked to her mother’s house. Her mother then took her to the hospital where they called the Sheriff’s office just before 2 a.m. She sustained broken bones in her face and hand, as well as other cuts and bruises. Some of the injuries will require surgery to repair.


Annis was found at her house on Big Coppitt Key where she was taken into custody for aggravated battery.

October 18, 2013

Woman charged with driving recklessly, resisting arrest

A woman who lives on Big Pine Key was arrested Thursday night after two people called her in as a reckless driver, and deputies measured her speed at 120 miles per hour in a 55 mile per hour zone.

Two callers to Sheriff’s Office dispatch reported a silver colored Cadillac swerving all over the road at a high rate of speed. One caller at 9:40 p.m. said she was at the 6 mile marker northbound. The second caller at 9:46 p.m. said she made a U-turn in the middle of the highway at the 15 mile marker, almost running the caller off the road.

Deputies began to converge on the area. Deputy Scott Ward spotted her southbound going over the Boca Chica Bridge with no headlights on. He measured her speed at 120 miles per hour. Deputy Spencer Curry got behind her at the intersection of Key Haven Road and U.S. One in an attempt to stop the vehicle.

The driver of the vehicle – 34 year old Amy Reno - initially refused to stop, but finally pulled over near the south end of College Road. She refused to get out of the car and fought with deputies as they physically removed her from the driver’s seat. She was handcuffed and placed in the back of a patrol car for transport to jail. She continued to fight with deputies, working her way out of one of the handcuffs. Once at the detention center on Stock Island, she fought with Corrections Officers as well and had to be held in a special restraint chair to protect her from hurting herself or others.

She reportedly smelled of an alcoholic beverage, and a 44 oz cup containing an orange colored liquid was found in the car that also smelled of alcohol.  Due to her violent demeanor, she could not be given field sobriety exercises nor could she be  administered a breathalyzer test.


Reno was charged with reckless driving, resisting arrest, battery on  a law enforcement officer. She also received citations for driving with no headlights and for speeding.

Keeping the Community clean

Sheriff's Deputy Linda Kohout arranged for a Big Pine Road Prison inmate to help paint out graffiti on Big Pine Key recently. This is part of Sheriff Rick Ramsay's ongoing effort to keep our community clean. Thanks to the road prison for being a great community partner!

Sheriff adopts a mile of Highway U.S. One

Captain Corey Bryan and Lt. Derek Paul of Islamorada Sheriff's Office district have been working on this project for quite some time. Now that it is official, they will be holding clean ups of this mile along the highway each quarter.

Lighting up Marathon

The Sheriff’s Office, Florida Keys Electric Co-op, community activist Richie Moretti and Ocean Breeze Trailer Park manager Ed Keifer kicked off “Lighting up Marathon” this week. A street light was installed on 15th Street and the second on Ocean Terrace in an effort to light up the area and prevent crime. More lights are planned in other areas in the future. Left to right, Captain Gene Thompson, Moretti, FKEC representative Steve Horn, Deputy Brad Colen, Sgt. Ken Fricke, Keifer and, in the bucket, FKEC line man Mike Black.

Body of missing diver located

The body believed to be that of a missing diver from Orlando has been located this afternoon by the Sheriff’s Office Dive team and divers from Key Largo Fire Rescue.

Divers found the body just after 1:30 p.m. inside the wreck of the Spiegel Grove. They are currently in the process of recovering the body from inside the sunken vessel. The process could take several hours to complete. While detectives say they have not had the chance to perform an official identification of the body, it is believed to be that of 43 year old Joseph Dragojevich. Once the body is returned to shore, it will be turned over to the Monroe County Medical Examiner’s Office for an autopsy to determine the cause of his death. His equipment is also being recovered and will be examined for any information which may help detectives piece together what may have happened to him.


Detective Deb Ryan from the Sheriff’s Office Major Crimes Unit has been assigned to lead the investigation.

Sheriff’s dive team searches for missing diver on Spiegel Grove wreck

The Sheriff’s Office dive team is on the site of the Spiegel Grove wreck offshore of Key Largo this morning looking for a missing diver. The diver, 43 year old Joseph Dragojevich of Orlando, went missing during a dive he made Thursday inside the wreck with a friend.

The two men were on a commercial dive vessel operated by Scuba Do Dive Company with six other divers Thursday afternoon. Although the dive operators and other divers reportedly did not intend to penetrate the wreck itself, Dragojevich and his buddy, 51 year old James Dorminy of Kissimmee did intend to do a penetration dive on the wreck on their own, without a guide.

Dorminy told Deputy Tony Code and Dive Team Leader Sgt. Mark Coleman they attached a reel line when they entered so they would be able to find their way out. They explored several levels of the ship before beginning their exit, following the line. Dorminy said he was in the lead and Dragojevich was reeling in the line behind him. He said when he last saw his friend, Dragojevich signaled with his dive light that he was alright. Dorminy looked back again and had lost sight of him and the line was slack.

He swam back and found the line tangled, but did not find Dragojevich. After searching for as long as he could, he had to surface because he was running out of air. As soon as Dorminy reported what happened at about 4:15 p.m., the crew on the dive vessel called the Coast Guard to report they had a missing diver. The Coast Guard and the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission responded and did a search for Dragojevich, but he was not found.


Sheriff’s divers are working today with divers from the Key Largo Fire Department, renewing their search around and inside the wreck of the Spiegel Grove.

October 17, 2013

Event to raise money for MARC

This event will raise money for the MARC House. Our Upper Keys Records division is
collecting "gently used" clothing until the end of October....

Community project this weekend in Marathon

We will be spending some time doing some projects on 33rd Street in Marathon this weekend.
 Come on out and join us! Here is a flyer with the details........

Coral Shores students learn lessons from law enforcement operations


BB Gun seized from car at Coral Shores High School

Two law enforcement operations aimed at keeping schools safe and drug free taught hard lessons to a few students at Coral Shores High School in the past week.  On Friday, deputies worked a special detail before, during and after the football game at CSHS. A total of nine juvenile civil citations were issued. Two juveniles were arrested, then issued notices to appear in court and released.

During the game, one student was issued a citation for possessing alcohol and tobacco. Another one received a citation for criminal mischief. After the game, deputies responded to reports of a street party taking place on Pippin Drive at the 87.3 mm. Seven students under 18 received civil citations for alcohol possession and one 18 year old was issued a notice to appear in court. Parents of all those involved were notified and responded to pick up their kids.

The special detail on Friday was funded by a grant from the Department of Children and Families. The Prevention Partnership Grant, called “Keys for Success”, funds youth party patrols and other efforts which target underage drinking and drug activity at Marathon and Coral Shores High Schools.

Today, detectives from the Sheriff’s Special Investigations Unit conducted a K-9 search at CSHS. A 17 year old girl was arrested after the dog found drugs in her vehicle. She had Vivane pills which she did not have a prescription for. She was charged with possession of a controlled substance. A weapon was also found in a second car parked at the school. The weapon turned out to be a BB gun, but looked almost exactly like a Glock pistol. A BB gun is technically a “weapon” under state law. The state attorney’s office will be reviewing the case to see if the vehicle’s owner will be charged with a crime.

“This gun was very real looking,” said Special Investigations Sgt. Al Ramirez. “The orange tip was removed. If a kid had pulled this weapon out and pointed it at a law enforcement officer this could have ended very badly. This is a very serious issue and parents should be paying close attention to what their kids are carrying around,” he said.  

 “Students and parents should be on notice that we will be on hand working these grant-funded details at games and dances throughout the school year. We will also occasionally be out patrolling for weekend juvenile parties,” said School Resource Sgt. Glenn Test. “This is about keeping kids safe and sober. We don’t want any of the kids in our community to endanger themselves or others with reckless, dangerous and illegal behavior.”


Parents should also remember that providing alcohol to minors – even in your own home – is against the law.

October 16, 2013

Arrest for drugs, gun; cash and vehicle seized

A traffic stop Tuesday night led to the arrest of a Key Largo man who had marijuana and a gun in his car. A large amount of cash was seized, along with the vehicle he was driving.

Deputy Vaughn O’Keefe was at the 96 mile marker at 9:40 p.m. when he spotted a white Ford Mustang traveling at a high rate of speed northbound. He used his radar to measure the vehicle’s speed at 73 miles per hour in a 50 mile per hour zone.

He followed the car, watching it weave in and out of traffic, increasing its speed. He pulled the car over at the 98 mile marker, identifying the driver as 22 year old Antoine Freeman of Key Largo. Freeman had a female passenger in the car with him identified as 23 year old Dieunphere Delcy of Marathon.

The smell of marijuana could be detected through the open windows of the car, and there were pieces of what appeared to be marijuana on the seats and center console. A search of the vehicle turned up more of it in the center console. A gun was found under the driver’s seat - a loaded .40 caliber Smith and Wesson.

A large amount of cash - $4,820.00 – was found in the wallet of the passenger. It was seized as possible drug proceeds. The vehicle was also seized for possible forfeiture.


Freeman was charged with carrying a concealed firearm and possession of marijuana. Delcy was charged with possession of marijuana. Both were booked into jail.

Boat and trailer stolen from Islamorada

A large boat on a trailer was reported stolen from a home on San Juan Drive in Islamorada Tuesday.

The 30 foot 2003 Concept had twin 200 horsepower Mercury Optimax outboard motors on it. The center console vessel is white with black and white checkered flag graphics on the sides and has the word “Hammered” printed on the stern. The trailer it was on is a 2008 Continental, 33 feet long. The vessel’s owner told Sgt. Eric Mixon he last saw the boat on October 8th. The total value of the vessel and trailer is approximately $51,500.00.

Anyone with information about this crime should contact the Sheriff’s Office at 305-853-3211. 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.


Big Pine man charged with drug sale

A Big Pine man was arrested with a large amount of marijuana packaged for sale Tuesday. He was selling it  in broad daylight in front of CVS Pharmacy in the parking lot.

Deputies responded to the parking lot of the store at 6:30 p.m. after a caller told dispatchers she’d seen 59 year old Randolph Hodgkins sell a bag of marijuana to a woman. She said the woman gave him money in exchange for the drugs. She gave a detailed description of him, and said he’d pulled the bag of marijuana out of a backpack he had on his bicycle.

When Deputies Chris Duncan and Wendy Negron arrived, they saw Hodgkins riding away and stopped him. He gave permission for the deputies to search his backpack, where they found 15 plastic bags with marijuana inside. The total weight of the illegal drug was 208 grams.


Hodgkins was arrested. He was charged with possession of marijuana with intent to sell. He had a pipe in the backpack as well, so he was additionally charged with possession of drug paraphernalia. He had an active trespass warning for the CVS Pharmacy and was also charged with trespassing.

October 15, 2013

Man arrested for exposing himself at park

A man was arrested at Big Pine Community Park Monday evening after he was seen masturbating in his car.

Dispatchers received a report from a man who said his wife and children were at the park. He said his wife called him and told him a man was sitting in his car, masturbating while watching their children play. He said he went to the park and walked up the black Toyota Corolla where the man was sitting. He said the man – later identified as 50 year old John Woodruff – had exposed himself in the car. He said he asked Woodruff what he was doing there and Woodruff just laughed at him.

Detective Manny Cuervo and Deputies Joshua Gordon and Donald Stullken responded to the park at 6:30 p.m. Woodruff was still there. He told the officers he had just come to the Keys from Indiana and was living in his car.


Woodruff was arrested by Deputy Gordon. He was charged with indecent exposure and he was booked into jail.

October 11, 2013

Safety Event, Marathon

The Sheriff's Office Bomb Squad
The Sheriff's Office attended a safety event at Home Depot in Marathon this past weekend.
A little boy enjoys a "ride" on a traffic enforcement motorcycle.

Det. Spenser Bryan, a member of our SWAT team, and
SRO Deputy Nancy Torrijos.

Members of our Traffic Enforcement Unit, Deputy Tom Hill
and Sgt. Kevin Mimosa.

Upper Keys Safety Event

Our Crime Scene truck behind a crowd at the event.
The Sheriff's Office attended a safety event last weekend at K-Mart in Key Largo.
A group from the Upper Keys with McGruff, the Crime Dog.

Lt. Mitch Horn with McGruff, the Crime Dog

Det. Barney Sajdak, a member of the bomb squad,
wears our bomb suit.

Sgt. Susan Keene talks to a little boy.

Waterspout, Middle Keys

Sgt. Ken Fricke took this picture of a waterspout offshore of the north end of the Seven Mile Bridge Thursday evening.

Two dogs found running loose

Two dogs found running loose at the 10 mile marker of the highway overnight. Deputy Josh Gordan rounded them up with the help of two good Samaritans. They had no collars and no identification so they were taken to the SPCA on Stock Island.

Stock Island man jailed for aggravated battery

A Stock island man is in jail for beating his ex-fiance, putting her in the hospital for her injuries.

The 37 year old victim told Deputy David Lariz she went to 42 year old Juan Ortueta’s residence at Waters Edge Trailer Park Thursday at 7 a.m. She said she lived with him at the residence prior to them splitting up and was going there to pick up her mail from the mailbox. When he saw her, they began to argue.

She said she was afraid, so she ran to the car and locked herself in. She said Ortueta broke the handle off the driver’s side door. She said she forgot to lock the passenger side, so he opened that door and dragged her from the car and began to beat her with a stick he picked up from the ground.

She said hit her numerous times all over her body, then he threw her to the ground and continued to beat her, kicking and punching her. He then threw her belongings out of the trailer onto the ground.


She was transported to Lower Keys Hospital where she was treated for multiple injuries to her head and body. Ortueta was taken into custody, charged with aggravated battery, and booked into jail.

October 9, 2013

Man arrested for threats with two handguns

A Tavernier man was arrested Tuesday afternoon after he pointed two different handguns at another man and threatened to kill him.

The 26 year old victim told deputies he and a friend were standing in front of Blue Water Apartments on Oleander Drive in Tavernier at 2 p.m. He said a car driven by 28 year old Kyle Hogan sped by them, almost hitting him. He said he yelled at Hogan to slow down. He said Hogan did a U-turn and pulled up to him, and asked him what he said. The victim told Hogan he’d almost been hit Hogan told him he would stab him if he didn’t shut his mouth. Hogan accelerated away, down the street, then returned a short time later.

When Hogan returned, he pulled out a chrome colored handgun, racked the slide on the gun and pointed it at the victim. The victim said he was afraid, so he pulled a chain out of the trunk of his friend’s car.  Hogan then pulled out a second gun – a black one this time - and threatened to kill him a second time.

After making the threats, Hogan began driving away from the scene. Just then, Deputy Sever Hustad pulled onto the street in his patrol car. The victim flagged him down and told him what happened, pointing out Hogan’s car as it sped away.

Deputy Husted followed Hogan, finally pulling him over on Burton Drive. Detective Barney Sajdak arrived as back up and they removed Hogan from the car. He admitted having two handguns in the glove compartment of his car. Both handguns were found to be loaded. Hogan told the officers he and the victim have had problems with each other due to an incident that took place when they were kids.


Several witnesses corroborated the victim’s account of what took place. Hogan was arrested. He was charged with two counts of aggravated assault and he was taken to jail.

October 8, 2013

Woman charged with DUI after crash

A Cudjoe Key woman was arrested Monday night after she crashed her vehicle into the mangroves at the 23 mile marker of the highway. She was intoxicated.
Deputies Spencer Curry and Aaron Coller were at the scene of a domestic dispute just before the accident. A woman – 61 year old Teresa Weeks – was arguing with her husband. He was angry because she was intoxicated. The deputies left the home after the husband told them he was going to leave the house and take the eys to their vehicles with him so she could not drive.
Just minutes after leaving, at 10 p.m., they were dispatched to reports of an accident at the 23 mile marker.  A sport utility vehicle had gone off the roadway into mangroves. Teresa Weeks was driving. A passerby stopped and said she saw weeks behind the wheel. She said Weeks was revving the engine, trying to get the car out of the mangroves. She said Weeks told her she “didn’t know what she’d done to her husband’s car”. She said she pulled Weeks out of the vehicle because it was smoking.
Firefighters responded to the scene because the car caught fire in the mangroves. They extinguished the fire. No one was injured in the crash. The roadway was closed, or partially closed until 11:10 p.m.

After failing roadside sobriety exercises, Weeks was arrested. She told Deputy Curry the accident would not have happened “if she’d had the keys to her car”. She was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol.

Man arrested for handgun threats

A Marathon man was arrested Monday for threatening another man with a handgun during a dispute over the sale of a boat.
The victim told Deputy James Hager his neighbor, 59 year old Arnold Riggs sold him a boat for $500. He said he became angry with Riggs after he realized the engine was bad.
The victim confronted Riggs about the engine just before 7 p.m. at Riggs residence on 82nd Street Ocean in Marathon. The victim – who had another person with him at the time – said he yelled at Riggs and told him to remove the boat from his property.
Both the victim and the witness who was with him told Deputy Hager Riggs pulled out a small silver colored handgun and threatened to kill the victim with it. They both were able to describe the gun in detail.
Riggs denied pointing a gun at them. He was found, however, to have a small silver handgun in his vehicle. The gun he had in his vehicle – a loaded Smith and Wesson .32 caliber revolver -  matched the one described by the victim and witness.
Riggs was charged with two counts of aggravated assault and he was taken to jail.         

Drug arrests continue on Stock Island

Several Stock Island residents were arrested by Special Investigations detectives on outstanding warrants Monday.
Detectives went to 6420 Sunshine Street at 4 p.m. looking for two people who had outstanding warrants. When they arrived, they saw 32 year old Willie Minton Jr. sitting in a vehicle in front of the residence. He had a half a cookie of crack cocaine in his lap in the vehicle. He was arrested. He was charged with an outstanding warrant for sale of cocaine and use of a two way communication device in connection with the drug sale. He was also charged with possession of cocaine with intent to distribute. He had $1,106 in his possession which was seized for possible forfeiture.
Inside the residence, detectives found 19 year old Hilda Fernandez. She was in possession of  1 ½  cookies of crack cocaine, and one Xanax pill. Fernandez was charged with an outstanding warrant for sale of cocaine and use of a two way communication device in connection with the drug sale. She was also charged with possession of crack cocaine with intent to distribute and possession of a controlled substance without a prescription..
24 year old Leroy Lawson was also arrested on Stock Island Monday on a warrant for sale of cocaine and using a two way communications device during the transaction.
A fourth person – 31 year old Damien Humphrey of Stock Island – was picked up on a warrant stemming from an incident August 22nd. Humphrey was spotted by detectives on that date driving a car when they knew he had a suspended driver’s license. They attempted to pull him over on North Roosevelt Boulevard in Key West, but he refused to stop. Humphrey turned into the Searstown Shopping Center, fleeing from the detectives. In the parking lot, he almost hit several pedestrians and crashed into a Dodge truck. He finally sped away from the scene of the crash.
Detectives stopped their pursuit of Humphrey in the interests of public safety. A warrant was issued for Humphrey’s arrest. On Monday, he was picked up. He was charged with driving without a license, hit and run – leaving the scene of a crash with property damage and fleeing and eluding police.

Stock Island resident 26 year old Antonio Curry was also picked up on Monday on an outstanding drug related warrant. Special Investigations detectives picked him up and charged him with two counts sale of cocaine, sale of heroin and two counts use of a two way communication device in the commission of those crimes.

October 6, 2013

Missing woman’s body found

Sheriff’s detectives from the Major Crimes Unit are investigating the circumstances surrounding the death of a Key West woman. She was reported missing this weekend after her dinghy was found washed up on an offshore island. Her body was found this morning.

A good Samaritan discovered a dinghy washed up near Man Key Saturday morning and called the U.S. Coast Guard to report it. When the Coast Guard ran the FL numbers on the dinghy, they discovered it belonged to 36 year old Angela Taylor. Taylor lived offshore of Key West on a boat, anchored near Wisteria Island. They checked the boat to see if she was on board and she was not.

Further investigation led them to her boyfriend, who also lives on board a boat moored about 100 yards from hers. When they spoke with him, he said he’d last seen her in the early morning hours, when she left his boat in her dinghy. At that point, Taylor was reported as missing and a search began of the surrounding waters.

Her body was found at 11 a.m. today by the Coast Guard in Boca Grande Channel. Major Crimes Detectives Manny Cuervo and Rosa DiGiovanni responded to the Coast Guard base in Key West and took charge of the ongoing investigation into her death.

They questioned her boyfriend again. He said the two of them have been together on and off for 20 years. He said they were at a party, drinking, from Friday night until the early morning hours Saturday. He said they left the party and returned to his boat in her dinghy because his was out of gas. He said once on the boat, they argued and she left his boat on her dinghy at about 1:30 a.m. That was the last time he said he saw her.


An autopsy will be done to determine the cause of her death. Detectives are continuing to investigate. 

Man charged with aggravated battery

One man went to jail and the other to the hospital after a fight this morning at a hotel in Marathon.

When deputies arrived at the Holiday Inn Express at 8 a.m. they found the 21 year old victim outside. He had visible injuries to  his face, including a bloody eye and missing teeth. He said he was visiting the Keys from Stuart, Florida with a group of friends. He said one of the friends attacked him.

Deputies Brad Colen and Mark Martin entered the hotel and saw 21 year old Taylor Harrison leaving. Harrison told the deputies he was staying in room 336 with a group of friends. He denied that he or any of his friends had been in an altercation. He took the deputies up to the room.

As the deputies began speaking to the group of young people in the room, they noticed what looked like teeth sitting on the night stand. After questioning them about the teeth, they finally admitted a fight had taken place between the victim and Harrison.

Harrison claimed he hit the victim once after which the victim left. The victim was later questioned. He said he was sleeping on the floor of the room and asked for a pillow and blanket. He said Harrison called him names so he asked Harrison to step outside to  “handle it”. As he was putting on his shoes, he said, Harrison punched him. He said he blacked out. When he came to, Harrison was choking him. He was able to escape from the room.

Medical staff at the hospital said the victim’s injuries were consistent with being punched 5-10 times. He required seven stitches around his eye and his orbital socket was broken. He was also missing a number of teeth.


Harrison was arrested and charged with aggravated battery.

Vessel found on Coco Plum beach

Photo taken by Deputy Brad Colen. This Cuban chug was found on Coco Plum Beach in Marathon this morning. No Cuban migrants were found with it. It is made of welded rebar filled with Styrofoam and then covered with pounded and riveted aluminum.

Loud noise leads to drug arrest

A complaint about noise coming from a residence on Gale Place in Key largo led to the arrest of a man on drug charges Saturday night.

Deputies Vaughn O’Keefe and Ian Barnett and Sgt. Sydney Whitehouse responded to 807 Gale Place after dispatchers received complaints about loud talking and music at 11:55 p.m. They found two women outside on a back patio. The back door was open. Sgt. Whitehouse looked inside and saw a man later identified as 23 year old Ezra Jimenez stuffing a plastic container into some couch cushions, as if trying to hide something.

Two other men were also inside the house. Everyone was asked to come outside where the deputies could speak with them.

A “bong” – a water pipe commonly used to smoke marijuana – was found on an outside table, along with a grinder and a quantity of marijuana. A resident of the house agreed to allow deputies to search inside. Marijuana, cocaine and a number of different prescription medications were found in various areas, including hidden in couch cushions and in a backpack belonging to Jimenez.


Interviews with all present, as well as investigations, revealed the drugs belonged to Jimenez. He was placed under arrest. He was charged with possession of cocaine, possession of marijuana, two counts possession of a controlled substance without a prescription and possession of drug paraphernalia. A number of unknown substances were seized as evidence and will be sent to a lab for analysis. More charges may be pending.

October 5, 2013

Stock Island man charged with burglary and theft

A Stock island man was arrested Friday, charged with stealing cash from inside a Stock Island business.

Surveillance video reviewed by Detective David Cruz shows 51 year old Pablo Hernandez Caridad walk into Fisherman’s Seafood on Peninsular Avenue at 10  a.m. on October 1st. He is seen on video getting a drink from a water fountain, then walking to a cash drawer and removing cash, putting it into his pocket.

The manager of the fish house called the Sheriff’s Office when he discovered the money missing. He said he’d left the business, walking to his recreational vehicle, which was parked nearby. He said he saw Caridad drive up as he was walking to his RV. He said he was in his RV for a short time and, when he exited the RV, he saw Caridad walking out of the business. He said he told Caridad he wasn’t allowed inside the business when he wasn’t there. Caridad then left the area and that is when the manager discovered the money missing.


Caridad was placed under arrest, charged with burglary and theft. He was booked into jail.

Layton man charged with threats, firing weapon

A Layton man is in jail, charged with pointing a laser at some fishermen, then firing a shotgun to scare them.

Deputies responded to the vicinity of the Sea Bird Marina to reports of shots fired just before 2 a.m. this morning. Several men in two boats who were bully netting near the marina said someone had pointed a laser at them, then fired a gun several times. They fled the area because they were afraid they would be shot.

Deputy Jean Gonzalez responded to the marina and spoke with marina owner 45 year old  Antonio Papp who lives in an apartment at that location. Papp said he was “patrolling” the marina and saw two boats approaching. He said first he used a laser pen, pointing it at the men on the boats in an attempt to scare them away. When that didn’t work, he said he fired his shotgun into the air to scare them away.


Papp was arrested. He was charged with three counts of aggravated assault, two counts of pointing a laser light at someone driving a motor vehicle and discharging a firearm in public. He was booked into jail.

Inmate in Stock Island jail commits suicide

An inmate being held in the Monroe County Detention Center on Stock Island hung himself with his bed sheet in his cell Friday afternoon.

Detention deputies discovered 29 year old Glenn Breeland Jr.  in his cell just after 5 p.m. He had wrapped the sheet around a shelf in the cell and the other end around his neck. He kneeled down on the ground and leaned forward, cutting off his ability to breath.

They removed the sheet and began life saving measures, using CPR and an AED in attempts to get him breathing. Nurses from the jail medical unit and Paramedics responded but Breeland could not be revived.

Breeland, who is from Key Largo, was arrested in May of 2013 after a domestic battery incident during which he beat and choked his ex-girlfriend.


Detective Deborah Ryan from the Sheriff’s Major Crimes Unit and Crime Scene Detective John Underwood responded to the Detention Center to investigate Breeland’s death.

October 4, 2013

Sheriff’s Office remembers Deputy Frank Adams, killed October 7, 1901


The family of Frank Adams speak at a ceremony
held to memorialize him in March of 2006.
 Monday is the anniversary of the death of Deputy Frank Adams,  killed in the line of duty 112 years ago on October 7th, 1901.  Deputy Frank Adams was the first of seven Sheriff’s deputies killed in the line of duty in Monroe County.

The gravestone of Frank Adams at the Key West Cemetery
Deputy Adams was shot and killed while attempting to arrest a man who had interfered with him in the discharge of his duty. The shooting occurred after two drunken men started fighting near Jackson Square in Key West. They separated and one of the men began to use profane language as he walked up Thomas Street. Deputy Adams, who was sitting near the corner of Southard and Thomas Streets, arrested the man and attempted to take him to jail, but the man resisted and Deputy Adams called out for assistance.

.A wreath placed in front of Adam’s grave at the Key West
 cemetery, during a ceremony held in March of 2006.
Two men named Fleming and Gabriel took hold of the man to assist Adams. Another man pushed some bystanders aside and said that he would not allow them to arrest his brother. Deputy Adams released the first man he had arrested and grabbed the man who interfered. They began to struggle, and a pistol shot rang out. When the first shot rang out all the bystanders with the exception of one, a mate on the steamer Laurel, ran away; the two men holding the arrested man let him go and fled also.

Adams had been shot in the arm, and he fell to the ground, with the man who shot him falling on top of him. The man shot Adams several more times, with one bullet hitting him in the left chest, penetrating his heart and another wounding him in the face. After shooting Adams, the man got up and ran down Southard Street toward what was then the Government Reservation.


A large crowd soon gathered around the body of Deputy Adams and the mate from the Laurel - the only one to stay at the scene. The mate told the crowd how the murder had happened. Deputy Adam’s body was taken home. The following day the shooter, Robert J. Frank, was caught and identified by the mate from the Laurel as the person who shot and killed Adams. He was arrested for and charged with murdering the deputy. At the preliminary hearing Robert Frank admitted to the shooting and said that he was sorry for it. He said that had anyone attempted to arrest him, he would have shot them as well. When searched he had some empty cartridges and a loaded pistol, with extra ammunition in his pocket. 


October 3, 2013

Unloading Marc House pumpkins

 The Sheriff's Office helped out today with unloading pumpkins for the Marc House in Key West. The Marc House will be selling hundreds of pumpkins of all shapes and sizes starting this weekend through the end of October.




Man charged with making false accusations

A Miami man was arrested Wednesday, charged with falsely accusing a woman of stealing money from him.

On September 4th, 51 year old Ricardo Delahoz told Deputy Luis Gomez he was at dinner with a woman at an Islamorada restaurant when he left their table leaving his checkbook on the table. He said that is when the woman must have taken two checks from him, which he said she later cashed for almost $20,000.

Detective Robert Dosh was assigned to investigate the case. He spoke with the suspect, who told him Delahoz told her he won the lottery and wanted to give her money because he said she and her husband had been so good to him. She said he wrote her two checks which she cashed at a Homestead bank.

Detective Dosh spoke with the teller at the bank who cashed the checks. She said because of the size of the checks, she called Delahoz before cashing them and he approved it.

When confronted with the information from Detective Dosh, Delahoz admitted to lying about the woman stealing money from him. He said he just wanted his money back.

Delahoz was arrested. He was charged with making a false report, perjury and three counts each of obstructing a criminal investigation and fraud. He was booked into jail.



Miami man arrested for knife threats

A dispute between two groups of people who were fishing resulted in the arrest of  Miami man who allegedly held a knife to a woman’s face.

The two groups were fishing on docks at Ocean Point Condominiums at 10 p.m. They got into an argument which escalated. The victim told Deputy Tony Conde at one point 19 year old Ricky Samper held a knife to her cheek. She said she slapped the knife away and then slapped him in the face. Her boyfriend, who was there with her, said that was when he decided they needed to get away from the situation and call the Sheriff’s Office.


Samper was still in the vicinity when deputies arrived. After interviewing the victim and various witnesses, Samper was arrested. He was charged with aggravated assault and he was taken to jail.

Man arrested for burglary on Lower Matecumbe Key

An man was arrested Wednesday for burglarizing a home on Iroquois Drive on Lower Matecumbe Key.

Detective Robert Dosh, who investigated the case, says 54 year old Marcos Luis Diaz entered the lower portion of the home on October 1st. He found a pickax inside which he used to force open an inner door. He stole six fishing reels, a pressure washer and an air conditioner from inside. He said he did it because he was angry with the victim, who was his former landlord.


The stolen items were found in various locations around the Islamorada area and were returned to the victim. Diaz was arrested. He was charged with criminal mischief, burglary, possession of burglary tools and grand theft. He was booked into jail.

October 2, 2013

Rockland Key man charged with lewd acts

A Rockland Key man was arrested Tuesday, charged with performing lewd and lascivious behavior in the presence of a child.

The victim, an 8 year old girl, told her mother that 31 year old Raymond Bale talked about inappropriate sexual topics while the two of them were alone in a room at Bale’s residence. She said he massaged her leg and foot and, while massaging her, placed her foot on his genitals, moving her foot around in a circular motion. She said he told her not to tell anyone because “parents think it is weird for adults to massage kids feet”.


The victim’s mother reported the incident to the Sheriff’s Office. Sheriff’s Detective Manny Cuervo interviewed Bale about the accusations. Bale made statements which corroborated the victim’s story. Bale was arrested and charged with lewd and lascivious behavior and he was booked into jail.

October 1, 2013

Bank Training

Bomb Squad Leader Sgt. Mike DiGiovanni spoke to staff at Centennial Bank in Islamorada about bomb threats and protocols for responding to them.

Photo shoot for Special Olympics calendar

 Several members of the Sheriff’s Office spent time in a “photo shoot” this week for a Special Olympics calendar being put together as a fund raiser for that worthy cause. Here is Sheriff Ramsay, Farmer Jeanne Selander, Sgt. Eric Mixon and John McGee and David Fernandez of the Traffic Enforcement Division all smiling for the camera.