May 28, 2014

Marathon man airlifted for head injury

Detectives say they are investigating how a Marathon man suffered a head injury late Monday or early Tuesday morning on Coco Plum Drive in Marathon.

Deputies responded to Coco Plum Drive at 9 a.m. to reports of a man lying in front of the entrance to D&D Seafood. When they arrived, paramedics were already on the scene treating 51 year old Rolando Rodriguez. They told Deputy Gil Gonzalez Rodriguez would be airlifted to the Ryder Trauma Center for treatment of a head injury.

A man who works on a boat docked on the property told the deputy Rodriguez, whose nickname is “Loco”, had been on the property the night before. He said Rodriguez was intoxicated and was asked to leave the property. He said at one point Rodriguez got into a confrontation with another person at the boatyard. He said Rodriguez fell or was pushed into the water and swam away.

He told Deputy Gonzalez Rodriguez returned later and began throwing lobster traps at the man he’d had problems with earlier. He said Rodriguez must have fallen from on top of the lobster traps and rolled into the water. He said he and the other man pulled Rodriguez from the water. He said he gave Rodriguez a blanket and a life jacket and left him sleeping in front of the building.

The man who was in a  confrontation with Rodriguez told a similar story. Detective Nick Whiteman says he is looking into the circumstances in an attempt to determine if Rodriguez’ injuries were caused by an accident, or if a crime took place. Rodriguez is reportedly in critical condition at the Ryder Trauma Center.


Marathon man injured in forklift accident

A Marathon man was run over by a forklift at a Marathon marina Tuesday.

The incident took place Tuesday at 5 p.m. at Shelter Bay Marina on Coco Plum Drive. The victim, 25 year old Aaron Hillgross, was riding on the right fork on the front of the forklift, driven by co-worker Noah Doyle. Hillgross fell off the vehicle and was run over by the two wheels on the right side of the machine.


When deputies arrived, paramedics were on scene. Hillgross was reportedly airlifted to the Ryder Trauma Center in Miami where his last known condition was reported to be critical.

May 27, 2014

Man injured in fight at Islamorada sandbar

A Key Largo man was taken to the hospital for facial injuries after he was involved in a fight at a popular gathering spot offshore of Islamorada known as “the sandbar”.

The 30 year old victim told Deputy Michael Claudy he was on his boat with his wife Sunday just after 7 p.m. He said another boat near his started its engines and sprayed water all over. He yelled at them to turn their engines off in case the boat accidentally went into gear. He said someone then hit his wife in the face, at which time a fight ensued.

He said a number of people in the area became involved in the fight.. He said he was hit numerous times in the face during the course of the fight.

The victim was taken to Mariner’s Hospital for treatment of numerous facial injuries, including two black eyes, a broken nose, cuts and a broken bone in his face.


Detectives will be investigating in an effort to discover who was involved in the incident.

Grassy Key man shot in apparent home invasion robbery

Detectives are investigating an apparent home invasion robbery during which the resident of the home was shot in the leg.

When Deputy Tyler Blanton arrived on the scene at 1:30 a.m., he found the 39 year old victim outside the house at the 58 mile marker of the highway. He was bleeding from a gunshot wound on his leg. The victim told the deputy the suspects who shot him had just left the scene northbound, driving a gold colored sedan.

The victim told the deputy he’d heard a knock on his door at 1:15 a.m. and, when he answered the door, three men wearing bandannas over their faces burst in yelling at him to get on the ground. He said he struggled with one of the suspects, who was armed with a handgun. During the struggle, the gun went off injuring his leg.

After the struggle, the victim got up and ran out the front door. He began running toward a neighboring house yelling for help and heard two gunshots behind him. A bullet hole was found in a storage trailer parked in the neighbor’s yard. At that point, he said the suspects fled in their car.

The victim’s roommate was also on the scene. He said he was sleeping when he heard the noise from the struggle. He said he reached for his cell phone to call for help, but one of the suspects came into his room and took his phone from him, warning him, “don’t wake up or I’ll kill you.” The suspect then exited the room, taking the phone with him.


The victim was treated at the scene by paramedics, but refused transport to the hospital. Detective Bobby Burkett will be the lead detective investigating the case. According to Detective Burkett, the only thing the suspects appear to have taken were medications prescribed to the victim.

May 25, 2014

Tampa man arrested after accident

A Tampa man went to jail Saturday night after driving recklessly and causing an accident.

Just after 5 p.m., deputies in Marathon received reports of a reckless driver in a white “jacked up” truck, northbound from 65th Street. Minutes later, they received reports the truck had been involved in an accident at 110th Street.

When Deputy Thomas Hill arrived first on the scene, he found witnesses who said the truck’s driver fled on foot with three other men from the vehicle he hit pursuing him.  Deputy Hill found all of them a short distance away. The three men were struggling to detain the suspect, later identified as 27 year old Andres Javage of Tampa.

Deputy Hill separated the men and attempted to restrain Javage, who punched him in the face. More deputies arrived on the scene and they were able to take Javage into custody. He continued to fight with them as they handcuffed him. After he was handcuffed, he began kicking at the officers.


Javage was charged with assault, assault on a law enforcement officer, battery on a law enforcement officer and resisting arrest with violence. He was booked into jail.

Man arrested for attack with sword

A Marathon man is in jail, charged with attacking his brother-in-law with a sharp edged weapon, possibly a sword.

Deputies responded to Seahorse Campground on Big Pine Key at 7 p.m. Friday. When they arrived, they found the victim still on the scene. His face was swollen and he had cuts on his arm and leg. He said his brother-in-law, 27 year old Diosvany Orama, attacked him with a sword.

According to the victim and witnesses, Orama was at the campground to speak to the manager about the ownership of a trailer. As Orama was leaving, he drove by the victim and words were exchanged. Orama got out of his vehicle and the men began fighting.

At some point in the fight, Orama got what was described as a sword from the trunk of his car and began swinging it at the victim, striking him several times. He then left the scene, returning home to Marathon.

A three foot long black sheath, which had contained the sword, was recovered at the scene. Deputies in Marathon met with Orama and, after speaking with him, took him into custody. He told them he threw the sword away.

Orama was charged with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and was booked into jail.

May 22, 2014

Another suspect arrested as a result of drug operation

A suspect wanted in connection with a drug operation and warrants sweep turned himself in today.

23 year old Alain Menendez of Big Coppitt Key was taken into custody Thursday morning, charged with outstanding warrants for trafficking in heroin and sale of counterfeit cocaine.

Menendez is accused of selling heroin in pill form, and selling fake cocaine.


He is currently in the Monroe County Detention Center, held on a total bond of $270,000.

May 21, 2014

Clean up on Card Sound Road, Key Largo

 The Sheriff’s Office and several other agencies came together Tuesday to clean up an area on Card Sound Road commonly called “Jet Ski Beach”.

Trash weighing a ton was removed from the area Tuesday with the help of Monroe County Public Works, the Florida Highway Patrol, the U.S. Park Service, youth from Outward Bound, Sheriff’s Office road patrol, detectives, corrections officers and jail inmates.

“This is another amazing effort to by all of our collective agencies to keep our community clean,” said Sheriff Rick Ramsay.



Two arrested for burglarizing dive shops in Key Largo

Some of the recovered dive gear, stolen overnight by
two Homestead men who were arrested.
Two Homestead men were arrested early today, charged with burglarizing two Key Largo dive shops.

Sgt. Jason Madnick was on patrol on State Road 905 just before 1 a.m. when he noticed a yellow Mitsubishi Lancer parked alongside the road with its flashers on.  He stopped to see if everything was alright. He found two men outside the vehicle. They had what looked like brand new pieces of dive gear. They were pulling red and green tags off the gear and throwing the tags onto the ground.

When he asked them what they were doing, one of them said he was making room in the back of his car for his dive gear. He said he just bought the gear for $50. Sgt. Madnick saw a buoyancy compensator, dive fins, dive bags and multiple wet suits on the trunk of the car. He commented the gear was worth much more than $50. The man – later identified as a 17 year old from Homestead – then changed his story. He said he bought the gear for $450 from an unknown person in Islamorada.

Sgt. Madnick looked inside the car and saw more dive gear with tags on it. He radioed to other officers on duty, asking them to begin looking at area dive shops to see if there had been any break-ins to any of them.

Two burglaries were discovered: at Scuba Outlet at the 106 mile marker of highway U.S. One and at Sea Dweller’s Dive Center at the 99.8 mile marker of highway U.S. One. Responsible parties for each business were contacted and responded. All the stolen items were identified by the employees as coming from their dive shops.


The 17 year old and 19 year old Michel Lalcebo were both arrested. Inside the car, officers found burglary tools, including tools used to cut fencing to gain access to the businesses, gloves and hand-held radios. The two were charged with two counts each of burglary, possession of burglary tools, grand theft, criminal mischief and use of a two way communication device to facilitate a felony. 

Drug Operation / Warrant sweep nets 14 people on 27 warrants


Alain Mememdaz, 23, of Big Coppitt Key is still wanted on
charges of  trafficking in heroin and sale of counterfeit Cocaine.
Call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-346-TIPS if you know where he is.
On Monday and Tuesday of this week, detectives from the Sheriff’s Office Special Operations Unit wrapped up a lengthy drug investigation by conducting a two day warrant sweep in the Lower Keys with the assistance and support of the Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Unit, road patrol deputies, jail transportation officers, Monroe-HIDTA and agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration. During the two day operation, they served 27 warrants; seized three cars, one scooter and one handgun; recovered $50 in counterfeit currency and 14 people are now facing 47 separate charges as a result of the operation.

One person is still wanted in connection with this operation:

Alain Menendez, 23, of Big Copitt Key (see attached photo).  He is wanted for trafficking in heroin and sale of counterfeit cocaine.

Anyone with information about where Menendez is should call the Sheriff’s Office at 305-289-2351 or Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. Tipsters who contact Crime Stoppers may remain anonymous and could be eligible for a cash reward if their information leads to an arrest. The Crime Stoppers hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS.

The following people were arrested on the listed charges:

Luis Camejo, 59, of Big Coppitt Key:
Charges:
1 Felony Count(s) of 893.13.1a2 - DRUGS-SELL - OTHER SCHEDULE III OR IV
1 Felony Count(s) of 893.13.1a1 - COCAINE-SELL - SCHEDULE II

Susan Davalos, 40, of Stock Island:
Charges:
1 Felony Count(s) of 893.135.1c1 - HEROIN-TRAFFIC - 4 GRAMS TO UNDER 30 KILOGRAMS
1 Felony Count(s) of 831.31.1a - DANGEROUS DRUGS - SELL ETC OR POSS WIT CONTRFT SCHED I II III IV

Adrian Morales, 28, of Stock Island:
Charges:
1 Felony Count(s) of 893.13.1a1 - COCAINE-SELL - SCHEDULE II
1 Felony Count(s) of 893.13.1a1 - HEROIN-SELL - SCHEDULE I
1 Felony Count(s) of 934.215 - PUBLIC ORDER CRIMES - USE 2 WAY COMM DEVICE TO FACIL FELONY
1 Felony Count(s) of 893.13.1a1 - COCAINE-SELL - SCHEDULE II
1 Felony Count(s) of 934.215 - PUBLIC ORDER CRIMES - USE 2 WAY COMM DEVICE TO FACIL FELONY
1 Felony Count(s) of 893.13.1a1 - COCAINE-SELL - SCHEDULE II
1 Felony Count(s) of 934.215 - PUBLIC ORDER CRIMES - USE 2 WAY COMM DEVICE TO FACIL FELONY
1 Felony Count(s) of 893.13.1a1 - COCAINE-SELL - SCHEDULE II
1 Felony Count(s) of 934.215 - PUBLIC ORDER CRIMES - USE 2 WAY COMM DEVICE TO FACIL FELONY
1 Misdemeanor Count(s) of 831.24 - COUNTERFEITING - ISSUE SHOP BILL SIMILAR TO BANK BILL
1 Misdemeanor Count(s) of 893.13.6b - MARIJUANA-POSSESS - NOT MORE THAN 20 GRAMS
1 Misdemeanor Count(s) of 893.147.1 - DRUG EQUIP-POSSESS - AND OR USE

Luana Simmons, 23, of Key West:
Charges:
1 Felony Count(s) of 893.13.1a2 - MARIJUANA-SELL - SCHEDULE I

Jason Wooters, 36, of Key West:
Charges:
1 Felony Count(s) of 893.13.1a1 - HEROIN-SELL - SCHEDULE I
1 Felony Count(s) of 934.215 - PUBLIC ORDER CRIMES - USE 2 WAY COMM DEVICE TO FACIL FELONY

Robert Struckus, 22, of Key West:
Charges:
1 Felony Count(s) of 893.13.1a2 - MARIJUANA-SELL - SCHEDULE I
1 Felony Count(s) of 934.215 - PUBLIC ORDER CRIMES - USE 2 WAY COMM DEVICE TO FACIL FELONY
1 Felony Count(s) of 893.13.1a1 - COCAINE-SELL - SCHEDULE II
1 Felony Count(s) of 893.13.1a2 - MARIJUANA-DISTRIB - SCHEDULE I
1 Felony Count(s) of 934.215 - PUBLIC ORDER CRIMES - USE 2 WAY COMM DEVICE TO FACIL FELONY

Christopher  Garcia, 30, of Key West:
Charges:
1 Felony Count(s) of 893.13.1a1 - OPIUM OR DERIV-SELL - SCHEDULE I OR II
1 Felony Count(s) of 934.215 - PUBLIC ORDER CRIMES - USE 2 WAY COMM DEVICE TO FACIL FELONY
1 Felony Count(s) of 893.13.1a1 - OPIUM OR DERIV-SELL - SCHEDULE I OR II
1 Felony Count(s) of 934.215 - PUBLIC ORDER CRIMES - USE 2 WAY COMM DEVICE TO FACIL FELONY
1 Misdemeanor Count(s) of 843.02 - RESIST OFFICER - OBSTRUCT WO VIOLENCE

Samuel Montalvo Pizzaro, 32, of Stock Island:
Charges:
1 Misdemeanor Count(s) of 810.09.2a - TRESPASSING - PROPERTY NOT STRUCTURE OR CONVEY

Deanna Palacios, 39, of Stock Island:
Charges:
1 Felony Count(s) of 893.13.6a - DRUGS-POSSESS - CNTRL SUB WO PRESCRIPTION
1 Felony Count(s) of 893.13.1a1 - OPIUM OR DERIV-SELL - SCHEDULE I OR II
1 Felony Count(s) of 934.215 - PUBLIC ORDER CRIMES - USE 2 WAY COMM DEVICE TO FACIL FELONY
1 Felony Count(s) of 893.13.1a1 - OPIUM OR DERIV-SELL - SCHEDULE I OR II
1 Felony Count(s) of 934.215 - PUBLIC ORDER CRIMES - USE 2 WAY COMM DEVICE TO FACIL FELONY
1 Misdemeanor Count(s) of 893.13.1a3 - OPIUM OR DERIV-SELL - SCHEDULE V

 Christopher Purcell, 26, of Stock Island:
Charges:
1 Felony Count(s) of 893.13.1a1 - OPIUM OR DERIV-SELL - SCHEDULE I OR II
1 Felony Count(s) of 934.215 - PUBLIC ORDER CRIMES - USE 2 WAY COMM DEVICE TO FACIL FELONY
1 Felony Count(s) of 893.13.1a1 - OPIUM OR DERIV-SELL - SCHEDULE I OR II
1 Felony Count(s) of 934.215 - PUBLIC ORDER CRIMES - USE 2 WAY COMM DEVICE TO FACIL FELONY

Ricky Gardner, 22, of Stock Island (Gardner was issued a notice to appear – he was not booked):
Charges:
1 Misdemeanor Count(s) of 893.13.6b - MARIJUANA-POSSESS - NOT MORE THAN 20 GRAMS
1 Misdemeanor Count(s) of 893.147.1 - DRUG EQUIP-POSSESS - AND OR USE

Juan C. Noa, 23, of Stock Island:
Charges:
1 Felony Count(s) of 893.135.1c1 - HEROIN-TRAFFIC - 4 GRAMS TO UNDER 30 KILOGRAMS
1 Felony Count(s) of 831.31.1a - DANGEROUS DRUGS - SELL ETC OR POSS WIT CONTRFT SCHED I II III IV

John Woodson, 28, of Key West:
Charges:
1 Misdemeanor Count(s) of 893.13.1a3 - OPIUM OR DERIV-MFG - SCHEDULE V
1 Misdemeanor Count(s) of 893.13.1a3 - OPIUM OR DERIV-MFG - SCHEDULE V

Eric Myles, 37, of Florida City ( Myles was picked up a week earlier, but was charged as part of this operation) :
Charges:
1 Felony Count(s) of 893.13.1a1 - COCAINE-SELL - SCHEDULE II


May 17, 2014

Southbound lanes now open to traffic

As of 4:35 p.m. southbound lanes of Highway U.S. One are reopened to traffic. The highway has been closed for most of the day due to a brush fire at the 124 mm, near Florida City.

Brush fire closes highway U.S. One at Florida City

Photos of the brush fire at the 124mm of Highway U.S. One. These photos were taken by Sheriff’s Lt. Al Ramirez as he was northbound through the area, just before the highway closed to traffic. Both north and southbound traffic is being diverted onto Card Sound Road.

Brush fire closes U.S. One near Florida City

A brush fire near the 124 mile marker of Highway U.S. One has closed that highway to traffic. All traffic is being diverted onto Card Sound Road, north and southbound. The toll on Card Sound Road has been lifted.


If you are traveling out of or in to Monroe County plan some extra time because traffic will most likely be slower than usual due to this issue.

Two deaths while snorkeling

Two people have died while snorkeling offshore of the Florida Keys.

On Thursday, a Pennsylvania woman was snorkeling offshore of Marathon. She was on board the commercial dive vessel operated by Sea Dog Charters out of Burdine’s Waterfront. They were on a trip to Sombrero Light with a group of other snorkelers.

Witnesses told Deputies Matt O’Neill and Rosa DiGiovanni the victim was in the water when she began coughing up blood about 2:30 p.m. She was pulled on board the dive vessel, which started for shore. It was met by a Coast Guard vessel which was training in the area. The Coast Guard transported the victim the rest of the way to shore to meet with paramedics.

According to a friend who was on the trip with her, The victim - 54 year old Lesley Clark -  was on numerous medications and had a pacemaker. Clark was transported to Fishermen’s Hospital where she was pronounced dead. An autopsy will be done to determine the cause of her death.

On Friday, Deputy Kim Trullender responded to Lower Keys Hospital after a Texas man who’d been snorkeling off the Dry Tortugas was brought in and was declared dead.

59 year old Donald Tinker and his wife took the ferry to the Dry Tortugas that morning. She said they went snorkeling off of the beach. She said she was having trouble with her mask so she went back to shore. When she returned to the water, she could not find her husband.

She said two other men pulled him from the water and they began performing CPR. A rescue helicopter responded and flew him to Lower Keys Medical Center.


An autopsy will be done to determine the cause of his death.

May 16, 2014

Deputies, detectives train in many ways

Lower Keys detectives do in-service training in how to
take elimination fingerprints.
Sheriff's deputies and detectives stay on top of their game with constant training. They attend formal training put on by our training division, training offered by the Florida Keys Community College Institute of Criminal Justice as well as training offered out of the county by other agencies and organizations affiliated with law enforcement. Road patrol squads and detective squads also hold their own in-service training when the opportunity arises. Here area few photos from recent training held county-wide......
Upper Keys road patrol officers train with a ballistic shield

Law Enforcement annual retraining this year included a tense
and realistic officer-down scenario. See photo above and below.


Sergeant picks up shopping carts

When she had some time between calls for service, Sgt. Dawn Leird spent time collecting shopping carts from the bike path in Key Largo recently. All part of the Sheriff's Office effort to keep our community clean!

Clean up on Big Pine Key






 Sgt. Linda Mixon organized a clean up on Big Pine Key this week with the assistance of ICA. A large amount of trash was removed from four different areas being used for illegal camping and for other activities. 








Upper Keys road patrol squad works on graffiti

 Sgt. Jason Madnick’s squad has been working hard on graffiti in the Upper Keys. In one picture, Sgt. Madnick removes graffiti at an Upper Keys Circle K store. In the other two pictures, Deputies Greg LaRochelle and Rosary Ponce remove some graffiti roadside.



Citizen Police Academies off to a good start

 Sheriff's Office Citizen Police Academies are off to a great start. A terrific group of citizens signed up, committing to one night a week learning about law enforcement. Here area few pictures....





Employees of the Quarter

At a ceremony held in Marathon last week, the Sheriff's Office honored its employees of the quarter for the first quarter of 2014. Receiving the awards were: left to right, Deputy John Gabay, Corrections Deputy Thomas Riccio, Detention Records Asst. Brian Fox, Sheriff Rick Ramsay, Reserve Deputy Shane Suddreth and Explorer Harry Normington.

Employees recognized for distinguished service

 At the recent Employee awards ceremony, Captain Tim Age and Lt. Anne Sweeney received Distinguished Service awards for their many outstanding efforts on behalf of the Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies receive life saving awards

A number of deputies received Life Saving awards at our Employee awards ceremony, including: 


Sgt. Amanda Coleman, Lt. Charlene Sprinkle-Huff and Sgt. Joel Slough all responded to a serious traffic accident involving a truck which collided with a bicyclist. The bicyclist was unresponsive with no pulse when they arrived. They performed CPR on the victim until paramedics arrived to take over care.

A passenger at the Key West Airport collapsed shortly after disembarking a plane. Sgt. David Smith performed CPR on the man until he could be transported to the hospital.




Deputies Aaron Coller (left) and Kendall Bailey (not pictured) responded to a man armed with a gun. He was suicidal, pointing the gun at his own head. At great risk to their own lives, they managed to disarm the man, saving his life. Further investigation revealed a second loaded gun and a detailed suicide note. Also pictured, on the right, is Deputy John Gabay who recommended the two deputies for the life saving award.





Employee honored for 30 years of service

Inspector Henry Hamilton was honored for 30 years of service with the Sheriff’s Office at the Employee Awards Ceremony last week..

Sheriff’s Office is re-accredited in law enforcement; also receives national accreditation for corrections

Left to right, CALEA Chairperson J. Grayson Robinson,
MCSO Captain Chad Scibilia, MCAO Accreditation Specialists
Tondra Davis and Rachelle Gates, MCSO Lt. Cindy Peryam,
Sheriff Rick Ramsay and CALEA Executive Director Craig Hartley, Jr.

Over the past two months, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office has achieved national re-accreditation for law enforcement and was accredited for the first time nationally for its Bureau of Corrections.

The Sheriff’s Office is now professionally accredited by five separate accreditation agencies:


  •        The Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (national law enforcement accreditation)
  •        The American Correctional Association (national corrections accreditation)
  •        The Commission for Florida Law Enforcement Accreditations
  •        The Florida Corrections Accreditation Commission
  •        The National Commission on Correctional Health Care

The process for any professional accreditation is extremely difficult and requires extensive preparation, many inspections – both internal and by the accreditation agency itself – and a level of professionalism that is not easily achieved. Accreditation requires an agency to adhere to exacting standards in hundreds of different areas, including operations, record keeping, finance, equipment, training and many others.

And it doesn’t stop with accreditation being awarded. The agency must be re-accredited every two to three years by each organization. This entails more inspections and more close examination to ensure the agency continues to live up to required standards.

“I am proud that our agency continues to comply with the most stringent standards in both law enforcement and corrections,” said Sheriff Rick Ramsay. “Being accredited shows, beyond any doubt, that we operate at the highest level of professionalism.”

May 13, 2014

Detectives issue warnings to marine related businesses

Detectives would like to warn businesses involved in selling or storing boats to check their security cameras, alarm systems or other security related equipment.

“I have information that thefts of marine equipment – including boats, motors and lower units – are increasing in the south Florida area,” said Detective Sgt. Mark Coleman. “Other counties are seeing an uptick in these crimes which means it is only a matter of time before thieves try to strike here in Monroe County,” he said.

While Monroe County has not yet seen an increase in these types of crimes, typically marine thefts of all kinds increase as the summer boating season approaches. Several years ago there was a large number of boat, boat motor and lower unit thefts in the Upper Florida Keys and we also recently saw a spate of rod and reel thefts in the county.

In the past, thieves preying on marine related businesses have posed as customers in order to get a close look at perimeter fencing, cameras and merchandise. They have then returned later, after the businesses close. Often times they enter the business by cutting through chain link fencing and removing the items they are targeting.

Having good perimeter lighting, cutting back brush and trees surrounding the edges of the lot and posting operational security cameras can deter crime, or can help neighbors or passing law enforcement patrols to keep a closer eye on the property. Having dogs on the property will often act as a deterrent as well.

“If you would like us to visit your property and help you check your security, give us a call,” said Sheriff Rick Ramsay. “We can take a look at your property and your business and make some suggestions for making the property more secure. We would rather stop a crime from taking place than respond to it after the fact,” he said.


If you notice anyone in your business who is acting suspiciously or appears to be casing the property with the intent to return later and commit crime, get a detailed description of them and their vehicle. Call us. We can send a deputy by to check them out. If we have their information on record, it gives us a place to start if a crime does occur.

Police Memorial Day ceremony Friday

This Friday in recognition of Police Memorial Week there will be a ceremony to honor law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty. The ceremony will be held at 5:30 p.m. at Bayview Park in Key West. Please plan to attend and show your respect for these fallen officers and their families.

May 12, 2014

Fort Pierce man dies while diving

A Fort Pierce man died while diving offshore of State Road 905 in Key Largo Sunday afternoon.

Witness Elnora Harllee said her son, 54 year old Mark Harllee, was diving about 150 yards from shore at 1:30 p.m. She said she and his wife, Emily, were on shore and he would surface every so often so they could see he was all right.

She said she did not see him surface for a while, so she swam out to the channel marker where he’d been diving. She reportedly found his tickle stick, but could not find him so she returned to shore and called for help.

An EMT for the Key Largo Fire Department, Brian O’Conner, arrived on scene along with two officers from the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. They all began searching for Harllee. He was found by O’Conner underwater, near the channel marker where he’d been diving.


He was pulled onto one of the FWC vessels and brought to shore, but he was pronounced dead on shore. An autopsy will be done to determine the cause of his death.

Man found floating in canal; apparent accidental drowning

Detectives say a man who was found floating face down in a canal behind his home most likely drowned by accident.

A neighbor who lives on San Remo Drive in Islamorada called the Sheriff’s Office Saturday shortly after 5 p.m. He said he was on his dock with friends when he saw what looked like  a body floating in the canal. When Deputy Ray Jodlowski arrived, he found the body of 69 year old William George in the canal. George lived in a house at 120 San Remo Drive. He was floating next to a boat in the canal. On the boat were numerous tools as if someone had been working on it.

Inside the house, deputies found food in the kitchen which looked like it had been taken out to be cooked later. Documents, a cell phone, a black bag and other items belonging to George were also found in the house.


There were no signs of foul play in evidence at the scene. The body was taken by the Medical Examiner for an autopsy to determine the cause of his death.

May 9, 2014

Layton woman appears to have accidentally drowned

A Layton woman appears to have accidentally drowned in a canal Thursday afternoon.

A neighbor told Deputy James Hager she heard yelling at about 4:30 p.m. and looked outside, seeing a woman in the canal hanging on to a jet ski which was docked there. She was yelling for help and her husband was trying to throw her a rope. She said she looked away for a few minutes, but the yelling continued. When she looked back the woman was drifting away from the jet ski.

At that point, she said she jumped in the canal and pulled 71 year old Layton resident Dalia Maria Perez from the water. She said she began performing CPR until paramedics arrived and took over. Perez was transported to Fishermen’s Hospital where she was pronounced dead.

An autopsy will be done to determine the cause of her death but detectives say it appears she accidentally drowned after falling in to the canal.


Marathon man arrested on marine charges

A Sheriff’s Office marine deputy arrested a Marathon man in possession of lobster out of season, undersized stone crab claws and a mutilated turtle.

Deputy Wilfredo Guerra received a tip Thursday at 8:45 p.m. The caller said a man on a small skiff had just placed a cooler in some mangroves at the south end of the Ohio-Missouri Bridge. Deputy Guerra went to that location and found the cooler. Inside were a large number of lobster tails, stone crab claws and a turtle that had been butchered for its meat.

Deputy Guerra hid nearby to wait for someone to pick the cooler up. A short time later, a Toyota Camry pulled in to the bridge parking area and backed up toward the trail where the cooler was concealed.

A man later identified as 37 year old Serguei Perez-Perdomo of Marathon got out and put the cooler into the trunk of the car. Deputy Guerra then followed the Camry as it traveled north on highway U.S. One. He radioed ahead to Deputy Orlando Alvarez, asking him to stop the Camry once it entered Marathon.

The vehicle was stopped and Deputy Guerra confronted Perez-Perdomo about the cooler he’d placed in his trunk. Perez-Perdomo admitted it was his, along with the contents. Inside the cooler was the butchered turtle meat, along with 212 lobster tails, all of them out of season. 145 of them were undersized. There were 12 stone crab claws, two of which were undersized.


Perez-Perdomo was placed under arrest. He was booked into jail on multiple marine violations.

May 8, 2014

Miami man charged with driving recklessly in Ocean Reef

A Miami man was arrested on multiple charges after forcing his way onto Ocean Reef property, then driving recklessly.

According to reports, 27 year old Jorge Gabrie first came to the attention of deputies while he was northbound on U.S. One at the 103 mile marker on his motorcycle. Gabrie was riding with another motorcyclist, later identified as ***record expunged***. The two were traveling at a high rate of speed when Deputy Brian Cross spotted them. Deputy Cross chose not to chase them due to crowded conditions on the roadway and the dangers of such a pursuit under those conditions. Instead, he issued a notice to be on the lookout for them over his police radio.

A short time later, Ocean Reef Public Safety manning the gates of the gated community called for assistance because a motorcycle had just ridden through their gate, damaging it in the process. They said they told Gabrie no motorcycles were allowed on the property, but he rode through the gate anyway.

Deputy Tim Hunsberger was working at Ocean Reef at the time and he responded. Deputy Cross also responded from the Key Largo area. On his way from Key Largo, Deputy Cross spotted one of the motorcycles he’d seen earlier. It was parked alongside the road with no one around it. He checked the tag, which was valid and came back as belonging to***record expunged***. Deputy Cross then proceeded on to Ocean Reef to assist there.

In the meantime, Deputy Hunsberger spotted the other motorcycle operated by Gabrie. The motorcycle almost hit a pedestrian and forced a golf cart off the road before stopping for the deputy. Gabrie was placed into custody. His driver’s license had a restriction on it saying he could only drive to and from work. Gabrie later indicated in comments to deputies that he thought he was in Key Biscayne.

As Deputies Hunsberger and Cross were dealing with Gabrie, ***record expunged*** rode up on his motorcycle. Public Safety Officers at the gate said ***record expunged*** entered the property against their orders not to do so.


Gabrie was arrested and charged with hit and run, reckless driving, criminal mischief, trespassing and violating his license restrictions. ***record expunged***was charged with trespassing. Both men were booked into jail.

Key Largo man steals neighbors car, crashes it

A Key Largo man was arrested Wednesday night after he stole a neighbor’s car, drove it while drinking alcohol and then crashed it into rocks and a utility pole at Bahama Avenue and Ocean Drive in Key Largo.

Deputy Vaughn O’Keefe responded to that location at 7:40 p.m. after witnesses called to report the incident. When he arrived, several people were on hand to tell him what happened. One man said he was following the blue Jaguar northbound on U.S. One when it turned rapidly off the highway onto East Drive. The Jaguar, driven by 34 year old Timothy Gorman, continued driving recklessly until it crashed into a utility pole and several large rocks. The witnesses said they saw the driver, Gorman, get out of the vehicle. They said he drank from a can of Budweiser Lime-a-Rita, then dumped the remainder of the liquid in a grassy area. Gorman then took off his shirt and walked away.

When Deputy O’Keefe arrived, Gorman was gone. The passenger was still on the scene, however, and complained of pain in his chest. He was treated at the scene by paramedics, then taken to Mariner’s Hospital. He later told the deputy that Gorman and he had both been drinking while in the car.

Deputies ran the tag on the Jaguar and found out the driver lived nearby. They went to her house and she said was unaware her car was gone and didn’t know who took it. When they asked her where they could find “Tim” she said he is a neighbor who lives in a downstairs apartment in a nearby home. She told them she keeps the keys to the Jaguar inside her truck, parked nearby.

Deputy O’Keefe knocked on the door of Gorman’s apartment and he answered the door. He had facial injuries that were bleeding and made a statement that he should not have been driving and his actions had been “stupid”.


Gorman was arrested. He was taken to Mariner’s Hospital for treatment of his injuries and then released into the custody of law enforcement. He was charged with burglary of a vehicle, grand theft of a vehicle, theft, hit and run, reckless driving and driving with a suspended license. He was booked into jail.

One attempted boat theft suspect arrested

One man has been apprehended in connection with the attempted theft of a boat in Islamorada Tuesday night.

Tuesday just before midnight, deputies responded to a report of two men in a black Jeep attempting to steal a flats boat that was on a trailer parked at the 84.3 mile marker of the highway near Abel’s Marina. When Deputy Michael Onsgard arrived, he saw the two men. He ordered them to stop, but both of them fled – one on foot and one in the Jeep with the trailer still attached by chains.

Deputies chased both men. The man in the Jeep, later identified as 48 year old Ricardo Jimenez of Cape Coral, Florida, pulled off the road and jumped out of the vehicle, running into a wooded area in the vicinity of the 84 mile marker. Neither man was initially caught, but investigations continued. The vehicle was impounded.

At 10 a.m., Sheriff’s dispatchers got a call of a suspicious man on the old highway in Islamorada near the 84 mile marker. The man was Jimenez. He was taken into custody. Deputy Onsgard positively identified him as one of the men he saw trying to steal the boat on the trailer.


Jimenez was charged with fleeing from police, grand theft, resisting arrest and driving with his license suspended multiple times. He was booked into jail.


Investigations into the incident are continuing. Detective Yunier Galvez has been assigned as lead investigator in the case.

May 7, 2014

Detectives investigate attempted boat theft

Investigations into the attempted theft of a boat and trailer Tuesday night in Islamorada are continuing this morning.

Deputies responded to the 84.3 mile marker at 11:30 p.m. after a man called the Sheriff’s Office to report two men in a black SUV were attempting to steal a boat and trailer that belonged to his boss.

When Deputy Michael Onsgard arrived on the scene, he saw the reporting person standing beside the bait shop at Abel’s Marina. He pointed toward the south side of the building. Deputy Onsgard then saw a black SUV backed up to a boat trailer with a flats boat on it. Two men were standing beside the trailer attempting to hook it up.

He ordered them to stop what they were doing. At that point, one of the men jumped into the SUV and took off in it, towing the trailer and boat, which were only hooked up with safety chains. The other man fled on foot.

The SUV crashed a short distance away and the man inside jumped out and fled into a wooded area. A perimeter of the area was set up and the area was searched, but neither man was found. The SUV – a black colored Jeep - was impounded and processed for evidence.


Detectives are continuing to investigate in an attempt to identify the two men who were attempting to steal the boat.

May 6, 2014

Sobriety Checkpoint planned

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office will be operating a sobriety checkpoint Friday, May 9th in the vicinity of the 103 mile marker of U.S. One southbound 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.


Florida law requires law enforcement agencies announce such checkpoints to the public in advance.

May 5, 2014

Stock Island man charged with incest

A Stock Island man was arrested Monday, charged with incest.

31 year old Brandon Williams was arrested, charged with having sexual relations with someone he is related to, a third degree felony crime. He was also charged with being over 24 years of age and having sexual relations with someone aged 16 or 17, a second degree felony crime.

According to detectives with the Sheriff’s Major Crimes Unit, Williams repeatedly had sexual relations with the victim, and had a child with her as a result.


Under Florida law, the identity of a victim of these crimes, or any information which might identify the victim is not public information. 

May 3, 2014

Man arrested for burglary, criminal mischief

 A Big Pine Key man was arrested after he entered his ex-girlfriend’s vehicle and house and damaged several items.

The victim called the Sheriff’s Office at 8:30 p.m. Friday after she returned to her Koehn Avenue home on Big Pine Key to find the damage. She told Deputy Ian Cooper she broke up with 29 year old Drew Sterling earlier that day. She said he moved all of his stuff out, but still had a key to the residence.

She said she left with a friend at 5:15 p.m. When she returned, her Ipad had been taken from her car and smashed under her house. Inside her house, she found her television screen smashed and her makeup dumped out on the floor and thrown around.

While processing the scene, Deputy Cooper found a distinctive shoe print on the smashed TV screen.

Deputy Cooper went to the Avenue D residence where Sterling was staying. As he was speaking with Sterling, he asked to see his shoes. The sandals Sterling was wearing had nautical flags on the sole – the same imprint found on the TV screen. They were also the same size as the print.


Sterling was arrested. He was charged with burglary of a vehicle, burglary of a dwelling, grand theft and two counts of criminal mischief. He was booked into jail.

May 2, 2014

Men honored for support of Florida Sheriff's Youth Ranches


Sheriff Rick Ramsay had the opportunity this past week to present a Florida Sheriff’s Association certificate to John Chalbeck for his 30 years of support for Florida Sheriff’s Youth Ranches. The youth ranches are long term residential programs for troubled youth that provide structure, discipline and education in an effort to bring them back on track and help them on the road to being productive members of society. The youth ranches also hold summer camps for youth as well.

Sheriff Rick Ramsay had the opportunity this past week to present a Florida Sheriff’s Association certificate to Edward Toppino for his 40 years of support for Florida Sheriff’s Youth Ranches. The youth ranches are long term residential programs for troubled youth that provide structure, discipline and education in an effort to bring them back on track and help them on the road to being productive members of society. The youth ranches also hold summer camps for youth as well.


Deputies undergo annual re-training

Deputies have been undergoing annual re-training for the past few weeks. Here is a group from Court Security who went through the four hour course recently. This year’s ARM covered handcuffing, Taser re-qualification, searching suspects and a realistic and stressful Officer Down scenario.

Explorers tour ship

Sheriff’s Explorers and Advisors had the opportunity to travel to Hollywood and
tour the USS New York during Fleet Week recently.

Stinger spike training

Deputies throughout the county have been practicing the fine art of throwing the Stinger Spike system. In the photo, Sgt. Susan Keene’s squad in the Upper Keys practices with the spikes. The Stinger Spike system is used to stop a fleeing car by puncturing it's tires. The spikes cause the tires to slowly deflate so the car stops safely.

Captain retires after 30 years

30 year employee, Captain Bruce Winegarden, retired and a luncheon was held to honor him as he leaves the agency. We will miss him, but he plans to keep working as a reserve deputy with the agency.

Employee Awards Ceremony

Our next quarterly Employee Awards ceremony will be held Friday, May 9th at 2 p.m. at the Marathon Government Center. We will be honoring quarterly award winners and employees with 5, 10, 15, 20, 25 and 30 years of service. Anyone who wants to help honor these exemplary employees is welcome to attend.

Quarterly Awards:
Deputy Sheriff: John Gabay
Detention Deputy: Thomas Riccio
Support Member: Brian Fox
Reserve Deputy: Shane Suddreth
Explorer: Harry Normington

5 Years of Service
Maureen Smith

10 Years of Service
Luis Gomez
Lisa Knowles
Michael Sielicki Jr.

15 Years of Service
Gary Baginski
Sever Hustad
Karen King
Roxanne Rahming

20 Years of Service
Colleen Carter

30 Years of Service
Henry Hamilton