July 29, 2016

DNA leads to sexual battery arrest

A Stock Island man is in jail charged with sexually battering a woman in December.

52 year old Raul Morejon was arrested Thursday on sexual battery charges. He is accused of sexually battering a 22 year old girl at a Stock Island residence in the early morning hours of December 30th.

Morejon’s ex-wife was at the residence when the incident took place. She and the victim had been out drinking at a local bar prior to the rape taking place. She said was sleeping and awoke when Morejon  grabbed her by the hair and dragged her toward a bedroom demanding she “see what he had done.”

She said the victim was not conscious, but she said his comments and the condition she saw the victim in led her to believe a sexual battery may have taken place. She called 911 for assistance.

The victim later told detectives she remembered at one point waking up and finding a man on top of her with his face close to hers. She said he was wearing blue shorts.

At the time of the sexual battery report, Morejon was taken into custody for violation of a domestic violence injunction. When he was arrested, he was wearing blue shorts.

Major Crimes Detective Lissette Quintero was assigned to investigate the case. DNA collected during the investigation was sent to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for analysis. On July 8th, results from FDLE were received and the DNA was identified as coming from Morejon.

On Thursday, Morejon was arrested and charged with sexual battery. Bond on the warrant for sexual battery is set at $200,000. At the time of his arrest, cocaine was found in his wallet. He was additionally charged with possessing cocaine.

Found property list for August

Here is a list list of found or abandoned property. The Sheriff's Office has exhausted all other avenues for finding the owners, so thank you to all of you for taking a look at this current list to see if you know who these items might belong to. If you know, please contact one of our Property offices and refer to the Offense # associated with the item.

July 27, 2016

Marine violations

In the photo, Deputy Hager measures a lobster that is obviously short of the required size.

Lower Keys Marine Deputy James Hager was patrolling  during the two day sport lobster season today when he saw three men harvesting lobster near the north end of Spanish Harbor Bridge on the bay side. Upon inspecting their catch, he observed several violations.

Maksim Parshin of Miami, Alexey Ivanenko of Hollywood and Valeriy Gerber of Sunny Isles beach were all cited for possession of undersize lobster, possession of speared lobster and harvesting lobster without a measuring device.

This is just one of a number of marine violations deputies found both on land and on the water during the course of the day.

Little Torch man dies diving for lobster

A 60 year old Little Torch Key man died today while scuba diving for lobster offshore of Cudjoe Key.

At 10:30 a.m., off the gulf side of Cudjoe Key, William Simko was diving in 10 to 12 feet of water for lobster when he reportedly became distressed. He called for help. His son was on board their vessel with four others. They heard him calling for help, jumped into the water and brought him back to the boat.

They began to perform CPR on Simko while calling for assistance on their VHF radio. A Navy helicopter heard the call for assistance and responded. They picked up Simko and flew him to Lower Keys Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Major Crimes Detective Manny Cuervo has been assigned to investigate the case. An autopsy will be performed to determine the cause of his death.

Bondsman charged with open carry of firearm

A bondsman was arrested Tuesday for openly carrying a firearm.

On July 8th, the Sheriff’s Office responded to the Circle K store at the 92.7 mile marker of the highway. The clerk told Deputy Paul Rocha she was concerned about a man who had come in the store wearing two badges she said looked like police badges and with a gun in a holster on his hip and another tucked in the back of his pants. She became more alarmed after he said “in light of recent events if you have any problems or anyone resists just shoot them.”

Deputy Rocha reviewed surveillance footage from the store and saw the man on the video. He was wearing a black polo shirt, jeans, had the guns and the badges as described by the clerk. The man was also wearing handcuffs and a Taser.

Deputy Rocha was able to identify the man as 44 year old Vernon Jones, of Miami, a bondsman who operates in the Florida Keys.

A warrant was obtained for his arrest. On Tuesday he was booked into jail on charges of open carrying of a firearm.

Key Largo man arrested for drugs

Following citizen complaints of suspected drug activity a Key Largo man was arrested Tuesday on drug charges.

Sheriff’s detectives from the Special Investigations Unit received citizen complaints about possible drug activity on Lakeview Drive in Key Largo. The person making the complaint specifically spoke about a man operating a motorcycle on the street frequently in a reckless manner.

 On Tuesday, at 5 p.m., detectives were in that area when they spotted 35 year old Kristian Demblans, who lives on Lakeview Drive, operating a motorcycle on the street. The detectives knew Demblans had a suspended driver’s license and had no motorcycle endorsement on his license. They pulled him over and placed him into custody for the violations.

A search of Demblans and the motorcycle turned up crack cocaine, heroin, marijuana and drug paraphernalia along with a large amount of cash. Demblans was additionally charged with possession of all of those illegal substances. He was booked into jail.

July 26, 2016

Arrest for prescription fraud

A Key Largo woman was arrested Monday, charged with forging prescriptions for Percocet.

On July 15th, Deputy James Jenkins responded to Mariner’s Hospital to speak with a doctor there who was concerned that someone had forged two prescriptions for Percocet and that his signature was forged on the prescription forms.

He told Deputy Jenkins there were a number of irregularities about the prescriptions. He said they were written using his name, but utilizing a Mariner’s Hospital prescription pad. He said he only writes prescriptions on his personal prescription pad, not the hospital’s. He also said the prescriptions were written for 30 pills the first time and 40 pills the second time. He said he never writes prescriptions for that many pills.

The doctor said he was contacted by a pharmacist at the CVS Pharmacy about it because she was suspicious about the prescriptions. The pharmacist sent him copies of the prescriptions and he verified the signature was not his actual signature and the DEA # used was not his correct number.

The prescriptions were written on February 13th and April 13th to 30 year old Key Largo resident Heather Born, who at the time worked as a nurse at Mariner’s Hospital. The doctor said he has never seen Born as a patient, nor did he write the two prescriptions to her for Percocet.

A warrant was issued for Born and on Monday she was arrested and charged with two counts forgery to obtain a controlled prescription, two counts possession of a controlled substance without a prescription and two counts of theft.

Lobster-Palooza Bahia Honda State Park

Anyone with questions about the two day sport lobster season, or about boating safety and fishing regulations can stop by Lobster Palooza today at Bahia Honda State Park between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Sheriff's deputies and Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will be there to help! Here is Deputy James Hager showing someone how to measure a lobster properly.

July 25, 2016

Reminder: lock up your fishing and diving equipment

A theft of fishing equipment was prevented Sunday when an alert witness confronted the suspect, causing him to flee.

Deputies Jon Riggs and Shawn Steele responded to the Big Pine Fishing Lodge at 6:30 a.m. to a report of someone trying to steal fishing poles. When they arrived they talked with a witness who said he saw a man walking near the docks, out of the camping area, carrying a large number of fishing poles. He said the man was attempting to put the fishing poles into a vehicle and they wouldn’t fit. He said he confronted the man, who then got into the vehicle and fled. A second vehicle fled the area as well. The two vehicles appeared to be traveling together.

The deputies found the fishing poles the suspect was trying to steal in a pile on a picnic table. They found the victim, who was staying in one of the camping lots. He identified the poles as his.

A notice to be on the lookout was issued for the vehicles that fled the area, but they were not located. They were a dark colored Ford Explorer and an unknown type silver car.

Sheriff Rick Ramsay would like to take this opportunity to remind everyone to lock up their fishing and diving equipment and electronics. This week is the two day sport lobster season and there are many people in the Florida Keys visiting with lots of boats and boating equipment. Along with all the visitors are thieves here to prey on them. Don’t leave your equipment on the boat overnight or on the dock to dry. Don’t leave it outside your house either – people drive around neighborhoods at night just looking for items to steal. 

Three cited for conservation violations

On Friday at 4:15 a.m. Deputy Seth Hopp spotted a Toyota Highlander northbound at 20th Street with a taillight and tag light out. He pulled the car over at 63rd Street. He asked the driver, 42 year old Juan Ortiz of Miami, for permission to search a cooler in the rear of the vehicle. Inside, he found 25 mangrove snapper. The bag limit for the snapper is five per person and there were three people in the car, so the allowable limit for all three people is 15 fish. Ortiz took responsibility for the cooler and, thus, for the fish inside. He was cited for having 10 fish over the limit. He received verbal warnings for the vehicle equipment violations.

Also on Friday, at 6:10 p.m., Deputy Wilfredo Guerra spotted a man at the 60 mile marker of the highway on the bayside wearing a mask, snorkel and fins without a dive flag. He stopped to check the man out and saw him spear a lobster and put it in his dive bag. The man was identified as Alexander Sanguinety of Cape Coral, Florida. Sanguinety received citations for possession of spiny lobster out of season and possession of speared spiny lobster.

Deputy Joshua Baer responded to Banana Bay Resort in Marathon Saturday shortly after midnight to a report of two men catching lobster in the marina. When he arrived, a witness said he and his girlfriend saw two men taking lobster from the water and putting them in a white mesh bag. He said one man stayed on the dock and located the lobster with a flashlight while the other man was in the water retrieving the lobster and putting them into the bag. The witness confronted the two men, who threw the bag off the dock into some bushes and began to walk away. The two men were still in the area when the deputy arrived and were identified by Deputy Baer as 33 year old Yasser Benavides-Cabreras and 41 year old Yunior Benavides. Both men are from Miami. Both men denied taking any lobster from the water, but Yasser’s shorts and the lower part of his back were wet.

Deputy Baer found the bag with three dead lobster inside where the witness said it was. Of the three lobster, two were undersized; two more lobster were found near the bag, barely alive. Yasser was issued two citations, one for three counts of possession of spiny lobster out of season and one for two counts possession of undersized spiny lobster.

Thank you for the support!

We love our citizens! Over the past few days we have seen many more people showing support for law enforcement in Monroe County. Someone delivered a bouquet of candy to the Cudjoe Substation and two young men stopped by to deliver two loaves of homemade Mango bread; at the Roth Building, they were treated to a delivery of pastries along with a wonderful thank you card; and in Marathon, some thoughtful person (or persons) put hearts on all of the patrol cars in the parking lot of the substation. And today, Kylie Turso stopped by the headquarters building to deliver cookies, brownies and a thank you card to Sheriff Rick Ramsay.

Deputies throughout the Keys are reporting many, many people just walking up to shake a hand and say thanks. It is really nice to know that we have the support of the citizens we serve. Thank you!

Two charged with drug sales

A Marathon man and a Stock Island man were arrested Friday on outstanding warrants related to drug sales. The warrants were issued as part of an ongoing investigation by Sheriff’s Special Investigations detectives into drug sales in the Florida Keys.

29 year old Austin Nichols of Marathon was arrested Friday for three counts sale of heroin and one count sale of cocaine. Nichols sold the illegal substances to an undercover operative on three occasions outside a Marathon residence.

46 year old William Roberts was arrested Friday for cocaine trafficking, sale of cocaine and two counts use of a two way communications device to facilitate a felony. He sold 1.5 ounces of cocaine in January to an undercover operative in a parking lot on MacDonald Avenue, Stock Island. He subsequently sold a crack cocaine cookie in February to an undercover operative at a store on Emma Street in Key West.

Both men were booked into jail. 

Key Largo man charged with fraudulent credit card use

A Key Largo man was arrested Sunday, charged with fraudulently using someone else’s credit card to purchase items from several stores in the Upper Keys.

The credit cards were stolen during a vehicle burglary reported to the Sheriff’s Office on March 20th.  The vehicle was parked on Jewfish Avenue in Key Largo when someone entered it and took a wallet from inside.

That same day, the credit cards in the wallet were used several times, at World Wide Sportsman in Islamorada, at Diver’s Direct in Key Largo and at West Marine in Key Largo.

Detective Barney Sajdak was assigned to investigate the cases. When he went to World Wide Sportsman, he found out the person who’d used the fraudulent credit cards had also used a Rewards Card in the name of Omar Pupo, 41 years old of Key Largo.

He went to Diver’s Direct and West Marine. At both businesses, clerks at the stores were able to identify Pupo from a photo lineup as the man that used the fraudulent credit cards in their stores.

Detective Sajdak obtained warrants for Pupo for the fraudulent purchases. On Saturday, he was arrested. He was charged with three counts of grand theft, one count of theft, four counts fraudulent use of a credit card and nine counts of obtaining property by fraud. He was booked into jail.

Marathon man arrested Saturday for stealing truck

A Marathon man was arrested Saturday after he stole his girlfriend’s truck.

The owner of the 2006 GMC truck called the Sheriff’s Office on Saturday to report her truck stolen. She said she knew her boyfriend, 46 year old Roger Green, stole the truck because she saw him driving it.

She said she and her sister went out on Saturday evening; she said Green found her in a local bar and asked to borrow the truck. She said she refused because she knew his license was suspended. She said when she got to her 107th Street home later that night, the truck was gone from her house. She discovered money missing from the house as well. The money was kept in a large 5 gallon plastic water bottle, which had been taken from inside the house.

She said she drove around town and spotted him driving the truck. She tried to follow him but lost him. She called the Sheriff’s Office and Deputy William Daniels responded. While the deputy was at her house taking a report, the victim reviewed surveillance video. Green was on the video walking out of her house carrying something; the video shows him leaving the house driving the truck.

While Deputy Daniels was still with the victim, Deputy Orlando Alvarez spotted the truck northbound at the 49 mile marker of the highway at 11 p.m. He pulled it over. Green was driving. A check on his name revealed his license was suspended. A large plastic jar of cash was in the back seat of the truck.

Green was arrested. He was charged with driving with license suspended, grand theft and grand theft of a vehicle. He was booked into jail.

July 22, 2016

Convicted felon faces drug, weapons charges

A traffic stop in Marathon just after midnight resulted in the arrest of the driver for a large amount of cocaine. The man, a convicted felon, was driving a car with a headlight out when Deputies Vincent Torres and Garrett Brag stopped him just after midnight at U.S. One and 33rd Street. The car was driven by Sugarloaf resident 53 year old Francisco Gonzalez Abrante.

Abrante was smoking a cigarette when he was stopped, and Deputy Bragg, who was on the passenger side of the car, saw him trying to hide something which turned out to be a bottle of tequila. A check on his name through computers revealed past felony convictions for attempted homicide and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.

Abrante granted permission for the deputies to search his vehicle. In the vehicle, they found an open pack of cigarettes with a plastic bag inside; the bag contained cocaine residue. In the trunk, deputies found a laundry basket with clothes in it. Hidden in the clothes they found a loaded .38 caliber revolver and a large plastic bag with a white powder inside which tested positive for cocaine. The bag of cocaine weighted 112 grams.

Abrante was arrested. He faces charges of possession of a weapon by a convicted felon, trafficking in cocaine, possession of cocaine, committing a first degree felony with a weapon and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Two Marathon men arrested for selling heroin

Two Marathon men were arrested Thursday for selling illegal narcotics.

25 year old John Kornetti was arrested and charged with two outstanding warrants for selling heroin. He is accused of selling the illegal substance to an undercover operative twice, once in April and once in May.

41 year old Adam Blankenship was arrested and charged with two outstanding warrants for selling cocaine. He is accused of selling the illegal substance to an undercover operative twice in April. At the time he sold the cocaine, he was in a vehicle driven by 30 year old Allison Peryam, who was also arrested Thursday and charged with being a principal to Blankenship’s crimes.

July 21, 2016

Caregiver for elderly man steals his money

A woman who cares for elderly people who need assistance was arrested today and charged with stealing money from a 95 year old Tavernier man.

52 year old Nancy Bevis was previously arrested on July 2nd for two similar cases involving theft from two elderly women. In this newest case, Bevis wrote unauthorized checks and altered checks to larger amounts than they were originally written for. She stole over $2,000 from the victim before the crimes were discovered by Wells Fargo Bank in Key Largo.

The bank called the victim and his daughter to notify them about their suspicions on July 18th. After checking records, the bank and the victim called the Sheriff’s Office on July 20th to document the theft.

Bevis was arrested; she was charged with four counts of grand theft and she was booked into jail.

Marathon man charged with cocaine, heroin sales

A Marathon man, originally arrested in April on multiple drug related charges, was further charged today with outstanding warrants for sale of cocaine and heroin.

42 year old Shayon Bryant, nicknamed “Tall”, is accused of selling the illegal substances on three occasions in April – cocaine once and heroin twice.

He has been in jail since April 20th when he was arrested during a search warrant. His original charges included child neglect, trafficking in heroin, possession of cocaine, sale of cocaine, possession of a controlled substance, tampering with evidence, possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

National Night Out – Mark your calendars and have some fun!

On Tuesday, August 2nd, the Sheriff's Office will sponsor National Night Out events in the Upper, Middle and Lower Keys. All of the events will feature food, refreshments, and a great chance to meet your neighbors, members of the Sheriff’s Office from a wide variety of divisions, departments and special teams and many others who are involved in the field of public safety here in the Florida Keys.

The goal of National Night Out is to bring the community together to discuss how we can all make our neighborhoods cleaner, safer and more secure. The Sheriff's Office will have crime prevention information to share at the event. Community members will learn how to heighten their crime and drug prevention awareness.

The Sheriff’s Office hopes to generate support for, and participation in, local anti-crime programs and strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships. Everyone participating will send a message to criminals letting them know that Monroe County neighborhoods are organized and fighting back against crime.

“This yearly event is an important one for our agency. We get the opportunity to meet the people we are charged with serving and protecting in a less formal, more fun setting,” said Sheriff Rick Ramsay. “I hope everyone will take this opportunity to meet their neighbors, learn about crime prevention and meet the deputies who are out there patrolling our community and keeping it safe,” he said.

The Key Largo event will be Tuesday, August 2nd from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at Key Largo Community Park. Captain Don Fanelli and Lieutenant Al Ramirez want to invite the entire community to attend their free event. Members of the Sheriff’s Office will be on hand, along with others from the public safety community including Florida Highway Patrol, Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Key Largo and Tavernier Fire and EMS; there will be food donated and prepared by Smoking Eddy’s BBQ, refreshments, a local band will play music and everyone will have lots of fun.

The Islamorada National Night Out event will be held at Founder’s Park in Islamorada Tuesday, August 2nd at 5:30 p.m. Captain Corey Bryan and Lt. David Carey invite everyone to join them and have some fun. Visit with members of the Sheriff’s Office, Islamorada Fire/Rescue and other public safety and community groups. There will be free food – hot dogs, hamburgers and chicken - and refreshments.
The Marathon event will be held on Tuesday, August 2nd from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Stanley Switlik School. Captain Gene Thompson and Lt. Derek Paul invite everyone to join them and have some fun. There will be free food and refreshments, live music and residents will be able to visit many law enforcement, public safety and community groups at the event.

The Stock Island event will be at Sheriffs Headquarters Building, 5525 College Road on Stock Island, Tuesday, August 2nd  from 5 – 7 p.m. Captain Don Hiller and Lieutenant Donnie Catala want to welcome the Lower Keys community to come on out for a great time. There will be free food and refreshments and a wide variety of law enforcement and other public safety agencies will be on hand to talk with community members. The Sheriff’s Office Animal Farm will be open to the public during this event!

Two day sport lobster season is next week

The Sheriff’s Office would like to remind everyone the two day sport lobster season is coming up next week. Anyone who plans to participate catching lobster in Monroe County during the two day season on July 27th and 28th should make sure to familiarize themselves with both state law and with local ordinances in the Florida Keys.

Additionally, Sheriff Rick Ramsay would like to remind everyone who lives here and who is visiting: marine thefts are a real problem in the Florida Keys and thieves may see the two day sport season as an opportunity to target people who aren’t being careful with their valuables. Make sure you remove electronics, fishing and diving gear from your boat when you aren’t on it and store this valuable equipment somewhere secure.

During the two day sport season, the Sheriff’s Office will have extra patrols at boat ramps, bridges and on the water. Anyone caught with illegal lobster will be charged accordingly. All Sheriff’s Office boats will be on patrol, and deputies will also be operating a number of Wave Runners donated to the Sheriff’s Office by Riva South Motorsports. Riva South donates the Wave Runners  each year to be used for law enforcement purposes such as this, as well as for regular patrols of hard to reach shoreline areas and residential canals.

Remember: You must have a recreational saltwater fishing license and a spiny lobster permit to recreationally harvest spiny lobsters unless you are exempt from recreational license requirements. Information about these licenses and permits is available online at MyFWC.com/License. Attached is a detailed brochure with information about the various rules that apply in different areas of the Keys. Make sure to review the rules for the area in which you will be harvesting lobster. Rules and laws vary depending on where you are in the  Florida Keys.

Before, during and just after the two day sport season there will be more boats and trailers on the roadways, and more traffic in general. Sheriff Ramsay wants to remind everyone to drive carefully. Pay attention to those around you, be patient and don’t pass in no passing zones. Drinking and driving is, of course, illegal; drunk boating is also illegal and our officers will be watching for this dangerous behavior on the water as well as on the roadways of the county.

“We enjoy all the visitors here in the Keys during the two day sport season,” said Sheriff Ramsay. “But we want to make sure everyone is aware of the law, and is behaving in a responsible, and safe, manner.”

Planned Road Closure, Key Largo

Tomorrow, July 22nd, there will be a temporary road closure at the 103 mile marker between midnight and 4 a.m. on. An FDOT contractor will be placing beams across Adams Cut for the planned pedestrian bridge. The southbound lanes of the highway will be closed at 20 minute intervals and reopened in between to allow traffic to proceed. The waterway itself will be completely closed during the entire time period.

July 20, 2016

Attempted murder suspect returned to Monroe County to face charges

A Big Coppitt Key man wanted for attempted murder was arrested in Miami-Dade County July 18th. He was returned to Monroe County today to face the charges against him.

26 year old Yordan Alvarez is accused of striking the victim in the neck with a broken bottle on February 7th of this year. The incident took place at 316 Avenue D on Big Coppitt Key. The victim – 39 year old Oleimys Abal Clemente – was airlifted to Jackson Memorial’s Ryder Trauma Center for the injury, a cut to his side of his neck which was judged by medical personnel to be life threatening. He has since recovered from his injuries.

The victim told detectives he was visiting his sister’s house when Alvarez attacked him. He hit the victim on the head with a bottle, breaking it and causing a laceration on the victim’s forehead. He then slashed the victim on the throat with the bottle. Alvarez’ cousin, Amaury Alvarez was also on the scene when the attack occurred. While the victim’s throat was being slashed with the bottle, Amaury struck him in the face. The victim later told detectives he believed the punch to the face deflected the bottle and kept the cut from being more serious than it was. Amaury was arrested March 19th in Hernando County, Florida on an outstanding warrant for battery in connection with the case.

The victim’s sister told detectives she walked outside just in time to see her brother on the ground and the two men running away from the scene. She was able to identify the two men whom she said she knows well because at the time of the attack, they were both living on the same property as her.

Yordan Alvarez is in the Monroe County jail. Bond on the attempted murder warrant is set at $50,000.

Law Enforcement support

 Wonderful gestures of support from Monroe County citizens who wanted us to know they appreciate our local law enforcement agency! Thanks to everyone for letting us know!

Sexual Predator notification

As required by Florida law, the Sheriff’s Office is making a public notification of two sexual predators that are living in Monroe County.

Miguel Lloren, 46 years old.  He has registered his address as 109 Giardino Drive in Islamorada. Lloren was convicted in 1996 of two counts lewd and lascivious acts on a child.

Miguel Soto, 38 years old. He has registered his address as 321 Mahogany Drive in Key Largo. Soto was convicted in 1997 of three counts sexual battery.

July 19, 2016

Cuban migrants, Sugarloaf Key

A group of 8 Cuban migrants landed on Sugarloaf Key this morning. This is in addition to a large group of 42 migrants who arrived in the same area last night around 8:40 p.m. In that group, one 4 year old child was transported to an area hospital to be treated for dehydration. Otherwise all the migrants in both groups were in good condition and were turned over to Customs and Border Protection. Photo taken by Sgt. Evan Calhoun of the large group Monday night.

July 18, 2016

Refugee arrivals

We had three Cuban immigrant arrivals since yesterday:

On Sunday at 2:30 a.m., 13 male Cuban migrants arrived in the vicinity of the 99 mile marker of the highway in Key Largo.

(In the picture) Today, at 1 a.m., deputies were notified a group of 13 male Cuban migrants arrived on State Road 905 between U.S. One and Card Sound Road. They were transported to the Circle K at the 106 mile marker of the highway to await Customs and Border Protection agents.

At 9:30 a.m., three male Cuban migrants arrived in Key Colony Beach.

All three groups were in good condition and were turned over to CBP agents.

July 15, 2016

Wanted man also charged with drugs

A man wanted on an outstanding warrant was also charged with possessing illegal drugs after a traffic stop Thursday.

Traffic Enforcement Deputy Greg Korzen was at the 18 mile marker watching for speeding vehicles when spotted the green Nissan southbound just before 6 p.m. He recognized the passenger in the car as 28 year old Antwane Anglin of Miami whom he knew to be wanted on an outstanding warrant. The warrant was a Key West Police case carrying charges of aggravated battery and criminal mischief.

Detectives from the Sheriff’s Special Investigations Unit had alerted Deputy Korzen earlier in the day that Anglin might be traveling in the Lower Keys in that particular vehicle.

Deputy Korzen stopped the vehicle on Sugarloaf Boulevard. The detectives arrived on the scene a short time later as backup.

Anglin was arrested on the outstanding warrant. A Sheriff’s Office K-9 team also responded and alerted on the car, indicating the presence of narcotics inside. A search of the car did, indeed, turn up illegal drugs. Detectives found both cocaine and MDMA, known on the street as “Molly”.

Anglin’s girlfriend was driving the vehicle at the time of the stop. She denied knowing about the illegal substances, and Anglin told the detectives the drugs were his and she had nothing to do with them.

Anglin was further charged with possession of cocaine with intent to sell, trafficking in MDMA, possession of drug paraphernalia. He was booked into jail.

Man arrested for threats with sword

A Big Coppitt Key man was arrested Thursday for making threats to kill his family with a samurai sword.

Deputies responded to a house on Jade Drive at 12:30 p.m. A man called Sheriff’s dispatchers and said his son had a knife and was making threats. When officers arrived, they found 24 year old Dwayne Day II standing in the yard with a sword in his hand, still in its sheath. They were finally able to convince Day to give up the sword and surrender peacefully.

His father, who was also on the scene, said Day had made threats to kill his whole family with a machete.

Day was arrested; he was charged with improper exhibition of a dangerous weapon and he was booked into jail.

July 14, 2016

Man’s death may be suicide

Update: Next of kin has been notified in the Big Pine Key man’s death. He is identified as 59 year old Fred Joseph McDonough.

Sheriff’s detectives say their investigation into the death of a 59 year old homeless man on Big Pine Key may have been the result of a suicide, but their investigations  are still active into the death.

The man was found near a homeless camp off of Quail Roost Trail just before 5 p.m. Wednesday. All indications found at the scene and upon examination of the body indicate the man appears to have used a knife to kill himself. He had a sharp force injury on his neck; a knife was found still on the scene, in his hand. The man is known to have had an episode of depression recently. An autopsy was done by the Monroe County Medical Examiner today. Results of that autopsy are pending the return of toxicology reports.

Detectives are still attempting to locate the man’s family to notify them of his death, and are still requesting the name be withheld until they can exhaust those efforts. They are still actively investigating due to the unusual nature of the death.

Man found dead on Big Pine Key

A man was found dead in a wooded area of Big Pine Key Wednesday evening. Detectives from the Sheriff’s Office Major Crimes Unit are currently assigned to investigate the case.

Deputies responded to the scene near Quail Roost Trail just before 5 p.m. after a man called Sheriff’s dispatchers and reported finding someone dead in that location. Detectives from the Major Crimes Unit responded as well. Initial investigations indicate the death is not a natural one and may involve suspicious circumstances.

The man’s body was turned over to the Medical Examiner’s Office and an autopsy will be done as part of the ongoing investigation into the cause of the man’s death. Investigators say the victim is a 59 year old local homeless man. They are working to locate his next of kin.

July 13, 2016

Sheriff’s Office Drug Drop program: Environmentally friendly way to dispose of medications

Note: The Sheriff's Office will not accept medications from commercial establishments. Also, we have seen a lot of items being deposited in our drug disposal bins that are trash items like empty pill bottles, superglue and nail polish. Please do not dispose of trash in this manner.

Monroe County – The Monroe County The Sheriff’s Office would like to remind everyone about the drug disposal program offered at all our county Sheriff's Substations and the reasons why it is important to dispose of medications in the right way. The program has been an ongoing success. The Sheriff’s Office regularly collects hundreds of pounds of medications county wide each year. In the first six months of 2016, we collected and disposed of 276 pounds of medications county-wide.

Anyone – with the exception of commercial establishments - may bring no-longer-needed prescription drugs and other over the counter medications in, or call and someone will pick the medications up for disposal.

People who call to have medications picked up can do so with no questions asked. The goal of this program is to dispose of them properly, not to catch people with illegal drugs.

Proper disposal of prescription and over the counter medications is important. Flushing them down the toilet or sink can introduce dangerous and environmentally damaging substances into the water system; throwing them away in the trash can also introduce them into the environment, and runs the risk of them winding up in the wrong hands. The medications collected by the Sheriff’s Office are safely burned in the Sheriff's Burn Unit.

·        In the Upper Keys, medications will be accepted at the Islamorada and Plantation Key Substations Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. For pickup, call 305-853-3211 during office hours.
·        In the Middle Keys, the Marathon Substation will accept any medications Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. For pickup, call 305-289-2430 during office hours.
·        In the Lower Keys, citizens can drop off medications at the Freeman Substation on Cudjoe Key or at the Sheriff's Office headquarters building on Stock Island Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. or call 305-745-3184 for pickup.

Caution: people who are going to bring their medications in themselves need to make sure to keep prescriptions in the prescription bottle until they drop them off to show proof the prescription is legitimately theirs. Possession of a controlled substance without proof of a prescription in your name is against the law.

Two charged with burglary

Two Stock Island women were arrested today for a burglary that took place at a Stock Island residence on March 31st.

The victim lives on 2nd Terrace. He told deputies he and his wife left the house in the morning and locked the doors. When they returned that evening, they found the house in disarray and many items stolen including a large amount of jewelry, a gun, sunglasses, several purses, an Apple MacBook, an iPad, a PlayStation, an Xbox, a safe and miscellaneous identification documents.

On June 13th, Detectives David Cruz and Spencer Curry got a call from the victim. He said he was checking his iCloud Shared photo album on his cell phone. He said he found a photo taken with his stolen iPad uploaded to the album. The picture was a woman who he recognized as his neighbor, 23 year old Shakiya Cruz. She was sitting on a bed looking through a black colored safe he recognized as his, which had been stolen in the burglary. The photo was dated the day of the burglary, March 31st at 11:24 a.m. The geographical tag on the photo  showed it was taken at an apartment where Cruz and a woman named Ashley Grinion were confirmed to have been staying.

A search warrant was served at that apartment on June 15th. Cruz and Grinion were not there at the time, but several items related to the burglary were found inside; some of the furnishings in the apartment also matched those depicted in the photo.

Warrants were obtained for the two women charging them with burglary, grand theft and grand theft of a firearm. They were both booked into jail today on those charges.

July 12, 2016

Thank you for the support!

The Sheriff's Office received these flowers from members of the community in Marathon (on the left) and from The Tennyson family, owners of Southernmost Pawn Shop. They wanted to say thank you and wanted to express their support for local law enforcement after the tragic and horrible killings of police this week. We at the Sheriff's Office truly appreciate all the support we receive from our community! Thank you!

July 11, 2016

Sheriff releases list of unclaimed bond funds

The Sheriff's Office would like to return unclaimed bond money. Anyone who is owed such funds has until September 1st to claim them. A list of unclaimed funds is featured on the Sheriff’s Office web site, www.keysso.net. It is also posted on the Sheriff’s blog at floridakeyssheriff.blogspot.com and on their Facebook page at MCSO-Florida Keys.

The money is now in the custody of Sheriff Rick Ramsay and unless it is claimed on or before September 1, 2016, the funds shall be forfeited to Monroe County.

To make a claim, contact the Monroe County Sheriff's Office Finance Division via phone at 305-292-7015, by email at esheehy@keysso.net or send a written claim notice to:

Monroe County Sheriff's Office
Attn: Erin Sheehy, Finance Division
5525 College Road

Key West, FL 33040

Two arrested for fight over dead dog

Two Marathon men were arrested after they fought with a man who ran over their dog.

Deputy Rosary Ponce responded to reports of a fight at 1337 Ocean Breeze Avenue in Marathon just after 11 p.m. Sunday. Callers said there was a bat and a machete involved. When she arrived, she found a group clustered around a woman and a man who were on the ground. The woman said her boyfriend had been attacked by two males. She identified the two, who were still on the scene.

The older of the two, 56 year old Rolando Lopez Valdivia told the deputy the victim was speeding through the trailer park earlier in the day and ran over his dog and killed it. He said he spent all day looking for him to confront him. He said the victim came to his house that night and said “I ran over your dog. So what?” At that point, Valdivia said he became angry and started to fight with the victim.

Valdivia’s step son, 25 year old Randolph Martinez-Fernandez came home and found the two men fighting. He said he tried to break them up but ended up fighting with the victim as well.

Witnesses say Valdivia grabbed a machete at one point, but someone took it away from him before he could use it. They also said Fernandez had a baseball bat. The victim said he was hit once in the head with the bat before someone took the bat away from Fernandez.

The victim had a number of minor injuries to his head, face and chest. He refused medical treatment. Valdivia was charged with aggravated assault and battery; Fernandez was charged with aggravated battery. Both men were booked into jail.

Woman found dead on Stock Island

A 38 year old woman was found dead in the yard of a Stock Island home early Sunday.

The woman was staying with a friend at a home on 5th Avenue. The friend walked outside at 7:45 a.m. and found her unresponsive in the side yard of the house. She called 911 for help. Deputies and paramedics responded. She was pronounced dead at the scene and may have been dead for several hours at that time.

There were no obvious signs of foul play and an autopsy will be done to determine the cause of her death. Detectives are asking that her name not be released until they have the opportunity to locate next of kin and let them know about her death.

July 10, 2016

Four charged with burglary

Four young Stock Island men were arrested for the early morning burglary of a home on 12th Avenue.

An alert neighbor heard glass breaking next door just after 3 a.m. today. He looked outside and saw a broken window and flashlights inside the home. As he was looking, he saw a black Toyota Camry pull up and saw three men wearing black clothing run from the house and get into the car, which fled the area toward 5th Street. He was able to get the last two digits of the car’s license tag. He called all of the information in to Sheriff’s dispatchers.

Deputy Wendy Negron was in the area and spotted the car. It matched the description and had the same last two numbers on the tag. She pulled it over at 3rd Avenue and 5th Street. When Deputy Alexandria Davis arrived on the scene, the two deputies identified the four men inside as 23 year old Julio Lot, 18 year old Carl Nicolas and two juvenile males aged 17 and 15. All four were dressed in black clothing. Lot, the driver, gave permission for the deputies to search the car. Inside, they found an Xbox, a BB gun and Nike sandals all of which had been stolen from the 12th Avenue home that had been burglarized. A number of other items were found in the car, including marijuana, brand new RayBan sunglasses, an IPad and some headphones. These were all taken as part of the ongoing investigation into the young men’s activities. Flashlights and latex gloves were also found which were believed to have been used to perpetrate the burglary.

All four young men were arrested. They were charged with criminal mischief, burglary, possession of burglary tools and grand theft. The 17 year old told Deputy Negron the marijuana in the car was his so he was additionally charged with possession of marijuana.

July 8, 2016

Cleaning up the beach

Deputies Darren Jensen and Aaron Roddy found a large amount of trash on Higgs Beach when they were on patrol the day after fourth of July celebrations in that area. They took the time to pick up all of it from the sand and from picnic areas at the beach. Here are before and after pictures.

Explorers compete state-wide

The State Explorer Delegates Conference was in Leon County this year. Twenty two counties participated, competing in many law enforcement events including firearms, high risk traffic stops, building searches, firearms, crisis intervention, physical agility and domestic battery response. Monroe County fielded a small but competitive team this year which did very well, taking first place in firearms and tying for first place with Leon County in the Team challenge.

Deputy cleans up on his day off

The ever vigilant Deputy Mark Martin was enjoying his day off on the boat when he found a bunch of trash on an offshore island near Marathon. Before going home, he made sure to collect all of the trash and dispose of it properly. Way to go!

Making an intersection safer

Traffic Enforcement Deputy Jason Keith became aware of this obscured stop sign on Kay Drive in Key Largo after a crash. One of the driver’s didn’t see the stop sign and t-boned another car. One of the parties involved in the crash was the owner of a landscaping business. They loaned some equipment to Deputy Keith so he could cut back the foliage from around the sign.

July 7, 2016

Planned road closure, 103mm

Mark your calendars. There will be a temporary road closure at the 103 mile marker between midnight and 4 a.m. on Friday, July 22nd. An FDOT contractor will be placing beams across Adams Cut for the planned pedestrian bridge. The road will be closed at 20 minute intervals and reopened in between to allow traffic to proceed.

July 6, 2016

Detectives looking for two wanted sex offenders who failed to register

Sheriff’s detectives in the Major Crimes Unit say they have outstanding warrants for two male sex offenders who are no longer at the addresses they officially registered in Monroe County.

Sex offenders are required by the courts to register their home addresses with law enforcement; each time they move, they must make official notification of the new address where they are living. Detectives with the Major Crimes Unit periodically go to those registered addresses to verify they are, indeed, living there.

Recently, detectives did these periodic checks and discovered two sex offenders were not living where they said they were. Warrants were subsequently issued for their arrest. The charge of failing to report vacating a permanent residence is a third degree felony crime.

The two wanted men are:

Gustavo Barrera, also known as Gustavo Acosta.  Barrera is 57 years old and was last known to drive a white 2006 Chevrolet Silverado truck with Florida tag: CUFG41. Barrera may have moved to Orlando, but has not registered there. He is a sex offender convicted in Miami Dade for unlawful sexual activity with certain minors 16-17 years of age. Barrera’s last known address was on 1st Street East in Key Largo.

Travis Dodge, 32 years old, is reportedly homeless and is known to travel between Florida, Michigan and California. He is a
sex offender convicted in Michigan for criminal sexual conduct, assault with intent to commit sexual penetration. His last address was listed as homeless in Marathon area; at last contact he said he was leaving for Michigan, but he has not registered there or anywhere else.

Anyone who knows where these men are should contact the Sheriff's Office. Callers who wish to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. If a Crimestoppers tip leads to an arrest, the caller would be eligible for a cash reward. The Crimestoppers hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS. Tips may be made anonymously on line at www.tipsubmit.com.

July 5, 2016

Deputy saves dog

Anyone who follows our Facebook page knows Deputy Josh Gordon likes to take care of animals while he is out and about on road patrol. Here is his latest, in his own words:

"Today I found this German Shepard named "Bella" running loose at US 1 and Key Deer Blvd. After a short lights and siren chase back and forth across the highway I secured Bella and she was returned to her thankful owner. It turns out Bella really likes chasing iguanas. Bella jumped out of the widow of her owners car to pursue an iguana. Luckily the drivers in the area were paying attention and she was not struck by a vehicle."

Bella is now safe and sound with her owners. Thanks Josh!

Bay Point man charged with multiple felony warrants

A Bay Point man was arrested today on a traffic stop. A check on his name revealed numerous outstanding warrants from Florida and from other states.

Deputy Richard Wang was on Big Coppitt Key when he saw a black Jeep driven by 44 year old Thomas Andrews pass a stopped school bus that was picking up children at a bus stop. When he stopped the Jeep, Andrews told him he didn’t stop for the school bus because another driver was following him too closely and he was afraid he would get rear-ended. He also told Deputy Wang he did not have a valid driver’s license.

A check of Andrews name through computers revealed he had numerous outstanding warrants for his arrest in Florida and in other states. He is wanted in Polk County, Florida for fraud and grand theft; he is wanted in Ohio and Michigan for failure to appear in court and he is also wanted in Kentucky for unknown charges.

Andrews was placed under arrest and he was booked into jail. All of the outstanding warrants indicated the states would extradite him on the charges.

Man dies snorkeling

An Atlanta, Georgia man died while snorkeling offshore of Key Largo Sunday.

The 39 year old victim was on a snorkeling trip on board the vessel Sundowner III at White Banks Reef. Just after 1 p.m., he was in the water when he yelled for help. Crewmembers on the boat jumped into the water and pulled  him on board the boat. He was unresponsive and not breathing so they began performing CPR.

He was brought back to shore and then transported to Mariner’s Hospital where he was pronounced dead. Detectives are withholding his name from release until they can notify his next of kin.

Father arrested, then son for domestic incidents

A father and son from Key Largo are both in jail today after domestic related confrontations with the same victim.

44 year old John Tuckus III was arrested Sunday at his home on Lee Avenue. When deputies arrived  at 1:30 a.m., Tuckus and his wife and her daughter were all at the scene. The two women said Tuckus had attacked them after an argument over an upcoming vacation.

At first, Tuckus refused to cooperate and did not follow deputies orders as they told him to stop walking away and show them his hands.  During the course of the investigation into events, Tuckus admitted to being a convicted felon and to illegally having a gun and ammunition which he had recently obtained.

Tuckus was arrested and charged with battery, resisting arrest and possession of a weapon by a convicted felon.

On Monday, his son, 22 year old John Tuckus IV, showed up at the same residence just after noon. His stepmother was there. She told deputies Tuckus has been upset with her since his father got arrested. Tuckus reportedly began yelling at his stepmother “I am going to kill you”; he then backed his car into a fence on the property, breaking the fence; as he left the scene, he spun the tires of his car, spraying pea rock gravel toward the victim and toward the home.

When Deputy Dave Campbell responded to the scene, he saw minor injuries to the victim from the gravel and saw damage to the fence and the house as well. He and Sgt. Sydney Whitehouse found Tuckus nearby with his girlfriend. The girlfriend confirmed there had been an altercation at the home. She showed deputies where Tuckus’ car was and there was damage on the car consistent with the victim’s story.

Tuckus was arrested. He was booked into jail for aggravated assault, battery and criminal mischief.

July 3, 2016

Caregiver for the elderly and sick stealing instead

A woman acting as caregiver for two Upper Keys women was caught stealing from one of them and using the other’s name in the process.

A 94 year old Key Largo woman called the Sheriff’s Office after receiving a letter from her bank saying she’d tried to cash a check on a frozen account. She said she never tried to cash a check, so she knew something was wrong.

Deputy Deanna Torres went to Capital Bank at the 99 mile marker and discovered the check had been written to the 94 year old on the account of another woman who lives in Islamorada. The two women are not acquainted with one another. The bank was very cooperative and told the deputy they, also were investigating the case, which is why they’d frozen the account. Deputy Torres contacted the Islamorada woman to look into it further.

That woman told Deputy Torres a former care giver of hers, 52 year old Nancy Bevis, may have been the one who took her checks and tried to cash them. When she looked, she discovered two of her checks were missing.

Further investigation at the bank revealed Bevis was, indeed, the person who tried to cash the check on the frozen account. She also made a mobile deposit into her own bank account using the other check stolen from the Islamorada victim.  Deputy Torres discovered Bevis, who had been acting as care giver for the Islamorada woman was now acting as a care giver for the 94 year old woman in Key Largo.

A warrant was issued for Bevis and on Saturday, she was arrested on the warrant. Charges include grand theft from a person 65 years of age or older; theft and uttering forged checks.

Deputy issues marine violation citations

Sheriff’s Deputy Seth Hopp handled several marine violation cases on Saturday and would like to remind everyone how important it is to know the fishing rules and regulations before coming to Monroe County to go fishing.

A man from Pahokee, Florida received multiple citations for possessing dead Porkfish. Deputy Seth Hopp was on patrol, checking for marine violations at the Long Key Bridge Saturday afternoon. At 6 p.m., he stopped to talk to Phokee resident 63 year old Lonnie Spry. He asked Spry if he’d caught any fish. Spry opened his cooler and showed the deputy the fish he and his family had caught.

In the cooler the deputy found 19 dead Porkfish. State regulations require Porkfish, which are a species harvested for use in aquariums, be caught and kept alive by someone holding a proper recreational license to harvest marine life. Spry also had an undersized schoolmaster snapper in the cooler. He was cited for all the violations.

At 9:30 p.m. Saturday, Deputy Hopp was on patrol and stopped at the 61 mile marker to check on two people fishing. On the ground near the pair he saw a stringer with numerous small fish on it. Closer inspection revealed three Lane snapper that were below the legal size limit. 31 year old Daniesky Rayes Orfila of Miami said he thought they were grunts and didn’t know they were Lane snapper. He later admitted to knowing they were snapper, but said he didn’t know the size limit. He was issued citations for the violations.

Deputy Hopp was on patrol later at 11 p.m. that same night when he was called to assist Sgt. Nick Whiteman at 12650 Overseas Highway in Marathon. Sgt. Whiteman had stopped to talk with two men who were there fishing. The men were found to be in possession of four undersized fish – two Schoolmaster and two Mangrove snappers.

One of the men took responsibility for the fish and was charged with the marine violations. 32 year old Jose Camona Tinoco of Hialeah said he had nothing to measure with and was not aware of the size limits for the fish. He at one point also said another man had given him the fish. He received citations for all the violations.

The Sheriff’s Office would like to remind everyone to know the rules before fishing in the Florida Keys. Ignorance is not an excuse. Deputies are on patrol both on land and on the water and will cite violators. The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office takes marine violations in our community very seriously.

Family, detectives looking for information about missing man

Sheriff’s detectives are hoping to help locate a Marathon man whose family and friends say they have not seen nor heard from him since June 16th.
48 year old Paul Thomas Murray, who lives on a boat in Boot Key Harbor in Marathon, told family members he was going to help a friend move a sailboat from Robbie’s Marina on Stock Island to Boot Key Harbor on June 16th. A short time after that, the sailboat he was supposed to help move, called the “Hornet” was located, grounded on some rocks a short distance away from Robbie’s Marina. No one was on board.
A friend of Murray spoke with Murray’s father. He said the owner of the boat, Donny Vanaria, Murray and a man whose nickname is “Red” were all going to move the boat together on the 16th. “Red” reportedly told Murray’s father he woke up at 4 a.m. on the 17th and the boat was aground; he said neither Murray nor Vanaria were on board, but Vanaria returned by dingy and asked Red if he would take care of his dog because he had to leave town.
Since that time, there have been no reports from anyone who has seen or heard from Murray and his family says there has been no activity on his credit/debit card or cell phone.
Anyone who knows anything about Murray that might help find him, or find out what happened to him, should contact Major Crimes Detective Dawn Agusto at 305-289-2410.

Two charged with credit card skimming devices

Two Miami men were arrested in the early morning hours after they were caught putting a credit card skimming device on a gas station pump.

Sgt. Nick Whiteman was on patrol at 3 a.m. when he passed by the Valero gas station in Marathon and saw a car parked at the gas pumps. The station was closed, all the lights were off. He was suspicious because a number of credit card skimming devices have been found installed in gas pumps at various locations in Monroe County.

He pulled in to the station, behind the car. He noticed the car’s license tag was bent so it could not be read. The car began to pull away from the pumps and he turned on his overhead lights to stop it from leaving.

Sgt. Whiteman made contact with the two men in the car, identified as Alberto Fombellida-Manso and Pavel Morejon-Martinez, both Miami residents. He called for backup officers to assist. Deputies Garrett Bragg, Vincent Torres and Debra Johnson arrived, followed shortly by Deputy Annette Simo.

The two men were placed in the back of Deputy Simo’s patrol car while the investigation continued into what they were doing there. An examination of the gas pumps revealed one of them appeared to have been tampered with. The owners of the gas station were notified and responded along with Detective Amanda Coleman.

Once the owners arrived, the pumps were all opened and inspected. A credit card skimming device was found installed inside one of the pumps – the one closest to where the two men’s car had been parked. The two men were removed from the patrol car and a second skimming device was found shoved down into the back seat where one of them had been sitting.

Both men were arrested. They were charged with using a credit card skimming device to commit fraud and with loitering; Manso was also charged with tampering with evidence. They were booked into jail.

July 1, 2016

FSA Summer Camp

Sheriff Rick Ramsay talks to kids at the FSA / Sheriff’s Office Summer camp which wrapped up last Friday. Bomb Squad Leader Lt. Mike DiGiovanni showing the kids how the Bomb robot works.