Monroe County Sheriff’s Office
Daily Crime and Information Report

Issued by the Media Relations Office,
Public Information Officer Deputy Becky Herrin

Follow us on Twitter @mcsonews and on Facebook at MCSO – Florida Keys. All of our press releases can be found on our blog at floridakeyssheriff.blogspot.com

April 30, 2014

Search Warrant on Stock Island

Stock Island - A search warrant was served Tuesday at a Stock Island residence. 

Detectives from the Special Investigations Unit, along with Lower Keys Criminal Investigation detectives and agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration served the warrant at 6529 Maloney Avenue, Lot 6, on Stock Island just before 2 p.m.  Inside the trailer, detectives found 30 year old Delila Bryant, 57 year old William Kirkpatrick, 37 year old Eric Myles and 43 year old Elizabeth Ebinger. 

The search of the residence turned up 5.3 grams of methamphetamine, 19 Dronabinol pills, 2 grams of cocaine, 3 grams of powdered amphetamine, over 50 miscellaneous prescription pills, a small amount of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.  Additionally, inside the residence was equipment and precursor chemicals required for a portable methamphetamine lab.  A search of a vehicle on the property turned up two methadone pills, more marijuana and drug paraphernalia. 

Kirkpatrick was charged with the production of methamphetamines, possession of methamphetamine with intent to sell\manufacture\deliver, possession of a controlled substance without a prescription, possession of drug paraphernalia and providing a false name to a law enforcement officer.  Kirkpatrick originally told detectives his first name was “Jack” and gave a different date of birth to them when they asked for his identification information. Myles was charged with the possession of cocaine, and possession of drug paraphernalia. Bryant was charged with marijuana possession. Ebinger was charged with possession of a controlled substance without a prescription, marijuana possession, and possession of drug paraphernalia.  

They were all booked into the Key West jail.

April 29, 2014

Search warrant results in one arrest

Key Largo - A search warrant was served this morning in a Key Largo residence.  Detectives from the Special Investigations Division, Special Operations Unit served the warrant at 50 Andros Road, in Key Largo.  Inside the residence Detectives found 27 year old Kevin J. Cornell. 

The search of the residence turned up over 60 grams of marijuana, drug paraphernalia and $4,000.00 in cash - suspected proceeds from drug sales.  Cornell was charged with possession of Marijuana with intent to distribute and possession of drug paraphernalia.  Additionally,  Cornell was charged with three active warrants for sale of marijuana with a bond totaling over $32,500.  Cornell was booked into the Plantation Key jail.

Marathon man charged in road rage incident

A Marathon man was arrested after he showed another driver a gun during the course of a road rage incident.

The victim called the Sheriff’s Office just before 9 p.m. Monday to report the incident. He ssaid a man in a blue Ford minivan had pointed a black colored handgun at him in the parking lot of the Mobile gas station on Big Coppitt Key. He was able to give dispatchers the vehicle’s license tag number.

The van was stopped on Stock Island by Deputies Andrew Hudson and Donald Stulken. 26 year old Andrew Bermudez of Marathon was driving. When the deputies questioned Bermudez, he admitted to having a handgun in the van. He said he was driving on highway U.S. One when a Mercedes was behind him, following closely. He said he put on his brakes to let the car’s driver know he was following too closely. He said the Mercedes then passed him and did the same thing in front of him. He said later in the incident, he took his gun out of his glove compartment and tapped it against his driver’s side window to let the other driver know he had a gun.

The victim said he was southbound at the 16 mile marker when a blue van in front of him pulled off the road, then pulled back in behind him. He said the van was following closely behind him so he pulled off the roadway into the parking lot of a Big Coppitt gas station. He said the van pulled in as well, so he got out and approached it. That is when he said the driver of the van pointed a handgun at him.

Bermudez was arrested. He was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and he was booked into jail.

Man arrested for reckless driving, fleeing police

A Brazilian man was arrested Monday night after he was seen driving recklessly then tried to flee from deputies into a residential neighborhood.

Deputy Ralph Williams was parked beside the highway at the 89 mile marker when he saw a silver colored Mustang convertible pass him northbound at a high rate of speed. As he pulled out and turned on his lights and siren, he saw the car pass three vehicles using the center turn lane. The vehicle then braked hard and turned onto Fontaine Drive, a residential neighborhood. Several vehicles had to brake suddenly to avoid accidents as the car performed these maneuvers.

Since there was no other outlet for the road, Deputy Williams parked at the intersection of Fontaine Drive and Riviera Drive, waiting for the Mustang to exit, which it did a short time later. At that point, Deputy Williams again activated his lights and siren and this time, the Mustang stopped.

The driver, 28 year old Thiago De Torres Bilek, told the deputy he was in a hurry to get to Diver’s Direct before it closed. He said he was coming from Key West.

Deputy Patricia Garcia arrived to assist. When she called in the driver’s name and license number with Sheriff’s dispatchers, they told her the same vehicle had been the subject of a number of calls from other drivers in the lower and middle Keys reporting reckless behavior.

De Torres Bilek was arrested. He was charged with reckless driving and fleeing and eluding police. He was booked into jail.

Woman charged with burglary, dealing stolen property

A Marathon woman was arrested Monday for stealing jewelry from her roommate and then pawning it at a local pawn shop.

The victim called the Sheriff’s Office on April 23rd to report her roommate, 27 year old Allison Peryam, took jewelry from her bedroom. Investigations revealed Peryam then took the jewelry to a Marathon pawn shop and pawned it for cash. The victim rents a room in the same house as Peryam.

A warrant was issued for her arrest. On Monday she was booked into jail on charges of burglary, grand theft, dealing in stolen property and fraud.

April 27, 2014

Corrections officer arrested in Miami-Dade County

A Monroe County Sheriff’s Office corrections deputy was arrested Saturday morning by Miami-Dade police.

19 year old Juan Morales Jr. was booked into the Miami-Dade County jail with two other men on charges of grand theft and criminal mischief. According to a report by Miami-Dade police, they were caught with a tire and rim they had allegedly stolen off of a vehicle on S.W. 149th Avenue.

Morales Jr. has been employed by the Sheriff’s Office since September of 2013.

April 24, 2014

Neighbors, smoking crack together, have dispute involving machete

Key Largo – A couple who was smoking crack with a neighbor called the Sheriff’s Office after the neighbor started swinging a machete at them.

Deputies responded to Point Pleasant Drive in Key Largo at 11:15 p.m. to reports someone was swinging a machete at people. When they arrived, they found a couple who said their neighbor, 53 year old Antonio Motes-Diaz had swung his machete at them after a dispute. As the deputies investigated the incident, the couple admitted they’d been drinking beer and smoking crack cocaine with Motes before the incident.

Motes told deputies the couple became upset when he ran out of crack cocaine. Motes said the woman spat at him, and the man attacked him. Motes said he retreated into his apartment where he got first a baseball bat and then a machete to “defend himself”.

Motes was arrested and charged with aggravated assault. The male half of the couple, 26 year old Christopher Stevens, was also arrested after he was found to be in possession of Alprazolam, the generic form of Xanax, which he did not have a prescription for. Both men were taken to jail.

New Hampshire man dies while diving

A 48 year old man from New Hampshire died while diving offshore of Duck Key Wednesday afternoon.

Matthew Prior was on a dive trip with his family on board a vessel named “Seafari”. According to witnesses, he and a number of others were diving on a hooka rig and he’d been underwater about 15 minutes. A dive instructor underwater with Prior said Prior indicated several times he was alright before signaling he wanted to surface. As he was surfacing, Prior suddenly became unresponsive.

The instructor grabbed him, took him to the surface and called for help. Prior was taken on board the boat and CPR was started. All divers and snorkelers were gathered and the boat headed back to shore.

Prior was pronounced dead at Fishermen’s Hospital. An autopsy will be done to determine the cause of his death.

April 20, 2014

Three from Miami arrested for rod and reel thefts

Detectives say they have cleared numerous rod and reel theft cases that have taken place between Duck Key and Key Largo over the last three months. Three Miami men were arrested Saturday, caught stealing equipment from boats at Robbie’s Marina in Islamorada.

Deputies were called to Robbie’s Marina in Islamorada just before 7 a.m. A witness at the marina called the Sheriff’s Office after a confrontation with three people over stolen fishing equipment.

The witness – a charter boat captain at the marina – said he was getting his boat ready for a charter when he noticed he was missing a bait cooler and a couple of rods and reels. He said two other people on nearby boats also said they were missing gear.

He said he noticed three men at the marina he didn’t recognize who were on an outer dock feeding Tarpon. He said it is unusual for anyone to be at the marina at that hour, so he became suspicious. He and the other theft victims went to the parking lot and saw a green Toyota 4-Runner parked there. Inside the vehicle, through open windows, he saw all the stolen rods and reels and his bait cooler. He took a picture of the truck’s license tag and the stolen items inside.

At that point, the three men who’d been feeding Tarpon walked up and confronted the victims. The victims told the men to return their stolen items but the men refused, got in their truck and drove away. The victims then called the Sheriff’s Office.

A notice to be on the lookout for the truck was issued over police radios and the vehicle was stopped at the 86 mile marker by Sgt. Eric Mixon and Deputies Nelson Sanchez and Todd Wyatt. The three men inside were identified by the first witness as the men he had a confrontation with at the marina. Inside the vehicle was the stolen property. Deputies also found burglary tools inside the vehicle, including bolt cutters, screw drivers, two head lamps, two flashlights and a face covering.

18 year old Hector Torres, 18 year old Alfredo Melian Casanova and 18 year old Kristofer LLuis were arrested. During subsequent interviews by detectives, they admitted to committing multiple burglaries and thefts between January and April from various locations in middle and upper Florida Keys. They said the property they stole was subsequently sold at the Homestead Flea Market.

All three were booked into jail on multiple counts of burglary, grand theft and possession of burglary tools. The vehicle was seized for possible forfeiture. The investigation is continuing and more charges are expected.

April 18, 2014

Two arrested in connection with rod and reel thefts

A Big Pine Key man and a Cudjoe Key man have been arrested in connection with recent rod and reel thefts in the Lower Keys.

On April 13th at 6 a.m., deputies were called to a home on Cudjoe Key. 33 year old John Farley said he’d just seen someone take rods and reels from underneath his home on Cutlass Drive. He gave dispatchers a description of the car the man fled in, along with a license tag number. Just minutes later, the car was stopped by Deputy Linda Kohout. The driver was identified as 32 year old Joshua Causey. In the car, deputies found 11 rod and reel combinations, along with a radio controlled boat motor.

Farley identified Causey as the man he saw stealing his rods and reels. He identified six of the rods and reels as his along with the boat motor. The property was returned to him. He said he did not want to press charges against Causey. The other items in the car were taken by the deputies for further investigation. At the time of the traffic stop, Causey told deputies he and Farley were friends. He said he’d been at Farley’s house and they’d argued. He said Farley told him to take the fishing equipment and to leave. He said Farley must have called the Sheriff’s Office after he left. Due to conflicting stories, Causey was not arrested and the case was assigned to detectives.

The case began to get more complicated after three more reports of rod and reel thefts came in over the next two days. A man on Big Coppitt Key, a man on Summerland Key and a man on Sugarloaf Key all reported their fishing equipment stolen; two of from storage areas under their residences and one from a porch area where they had been propped up to dry. Detectives from the Lower Keys Criminal Investigative Unit were assigned to all the cases and began to unravel the details.

Some of the rods and reels reported stolen from the other residences turned out to be the ones seized in the traffic stop. Some of the stolen rods and reels turned out to be ones returned to Farley after he identified them as his. Some of the stolen rods and reels turned up at Farley’s house when detectives went to talk to him as they investigated.

Both men were arrested Thursday. Causey was charged with two counts of grand theft in connection with the crimes in Summerland Key and Sugarloaf Key. Farley was charged with two counts of grand theft in connection with the crimes on Big Coppitt Key and on Sugarloaf Key. Investigations are continuing.

April 16, 2014

Man dies after being pinned under vehicle while working on it

A 77 year old Marathon man was working on his vehicle at his home on Avenue H, Coco Plum Road in Marathon when it fell on him, killing him on Tuesday morning.

Manuel Perez reportedly used a forklift to pick up his truck. He was underneath it working on it when it somehow slipped off the forklift, falling on top of him.

Family members found him and called for help. They used the forklift to lift the truck off Perez and began performing CPR. He was transported to Fishermen’s Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

April 14, 2014

Miami man charged with vehicle burglaries

A Miami man was arrested Sunday after surveillance video in a parking lot helped to identify him as the suspect in two vehicle burglaries.

Deputies Chuck Kellenberger and Rosary Ponce responded to a vehicle burglary at 4 p.m. at Island Fish Company in Marathon. When they arrived they met with the victim, who said someone smashed the window of his car and stole his Ipad Mini from inside. He said it happened between 3:40 p.m. when he’d parked and 4 p.m. when he discovered the crime. He described a distinctive image on the lock screen of the Ipad as a way to identify it. A second burglary was also discovered by deputies who were checking the parking lot and found it’s window smashed. The car’s owner was found inside the business and she confirmed her wallet had been stolen..

Surveillance video of the parking lot showed a Dodge Charger pull up beside the first vehicle. It showed a man later identified as 40 year old Nelson Gonzalez of Miami beside the vehicle walking around it. A second person was in the car with him. A notice to be on the lookout for the charger was issued, along with a description of the suspect.

Key Colony Beach Police Officer Colleen Gonzalez was dispatched to a disabled vehicle across the street from KCB City Hall a short time later. She found a red Charger with a flat tire. A woman was with the car. She said her boyfriend was getting a new tire for the car. Officer Gonzalez notified the deputies about the car and they responded to the scene.

When the boyfriend returned, he fit the description of the suspect in the vehicle burglaries. An Ipad Mini was found underneath the driver’s seat of the Charger. The lock screen image identified it as the one stolen in the first vehicle burglary. Gonzalez then admitted he’d burglarized the two vehicles. He assisted deputies in recovering items stolen in the second burglary as well.

Gonzalez was arrested. He was charged with two counts each of burglary of a vehicle and grand theft. He was booked into jail.

April 13, 2014

Man arrested for abusing animal

A Marathon man was arrested for abusing his dog Saturday.

Deputies responded to Winn Dixie shopping center in Marathon to reports a witness had seen a man yanking a dog by a chain and kicking the dog in the face. The man was described as wearing a white tank top and camouflage pants and his vehicle was an RV parked near McDonalds.

When Deputies Chuck Kellenberger and Rosary Ponce arrived at 11 a.m., they saw a man fitting the description with a chain hooked to the bumper of his RV. The man – identified later as 32 year old Anthony Wollweber – was trying to hook the other end of the chain to a dog’s collar. The dog – a 10 month old brown pit bull – was clearly afraid of Wollweber. It was laying on it’s belly, tail tucked under, cringing away from him.

The witness was still on scene and she told deputies she saw Wollweber dragging the dog by a chain and kicking the dog in the face.

Wollweber told deputies he woke up to find the dog had ingested seawater and had vomited and was covered in feces. He said he’d taken the dog to a nearby convenience store and hosed the dog off. He said the dog was normally cooperative, but wasn’t today so he admitted to kicking the dog “but not hard”.

Animal Control was called to the scene and took custody of the dog. Wollweber was arrested and charged with cruelty to animals and was booked into jail.

April 12, 2014

Man almost shot in confrontation with sergeant

A disturbed man who pointed what looked like a real firearm at a Sheriff’s sergeant Friday was almost shot. He later told deputies he was “protecting 110th street from drug dealers and prostitutes.”

Sgt. Dennis Coleman was on patrol on Highway U.S. One at 12:45 p.m. near Marathon City Hall when he saw 44 year old Wayne Michaelson waving a handgun around. He pulled up behind Michaelson and, with his own firearm at the ready, told him to put down the gun. Michaelson did lay down on the ground, but he kept the gun and a plastic bag at his side. As the sergeant continued to give him orders, Michaelson brought the firearm in front of him and pointed it at Sgt. Coleman. At that point, Sgt. Coleman said he began to put pressure on the trigger of his gun in preparation to shoot Michaelson. Suddenly, Michaelson put the gun down, placing it in the plastic bag and saving his own life.

Other officers arrived as back-up and Michaelson was taken into custody. Michaelson told Deputy Vince Weiner he’d just purchased what turned out to be an airsoft pistol to “protect 110th Street from prostitutes and drug dealers”. He also said he felt threatened by passing cars when the “passed him at 55-60 miles an hour and made noises.”

Michaelson was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and resisting arrest with violence. He was taken to jail.

April 11, 2014

Deputy stops illegal dump truck full of gravel

Thanks to reports from observant citizens a dump truck with numerous violations was stopped at the 104 mile marker of the highway Thursday.

The Sheriff’s Office received calls from drivers about a dump truck full of gravel southbound on the 18 mile stretch. The tarp which was supposed to be covering the load was askew and it was losing gravel as it traveled. Callers said the truck did not appear to have a license tag.

Deputy Dave Campbell was at the 105 mile marker when he saw the truck pass by. He pulled it over. The license tag on the back was unreadable and the tag on the front was bent under. A check of the registration revealed it expired in December.

An FHP Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) Compliance Officer responded to the scene. She found two bad tires on the truck. Because the truck was not properly registered, the law says it is only qualified to carry a 10,000 pound load. The truck was weighed roadside and was found to be carrying 66,000 pounds putting it way over its legal weight limit.

With all the citations issued, the driver, 36 year old Mairon Perez of Miami will have to pay over $4,000 in fines.

April 8, 2014

Woman arrested for attempting to strangle child

A Rock Harbor woman was arrested Monday night after she used a belt in an attempt to strangle a 10 year old boy.

A second child who witnessed the incident called a relative for help. The relative in turn called the Sheriff’s Office and then responded to the residence at the 95.3 mile marker of the highway to meet with deputies at 10:30 p.m. When Deputy Greg LaRochelle arrived on the scene he found the suspect, 31 year old Ada Orellana Dubon extremely intoxicated and she could barely speak. The relative said Dubon has ongoing issues involving alcohol.

Both children told the same story. They said Dubon put a belt around the boy’s neck and began tightening it. They said during the incident Dubon said she was going to kill the victim.

Dubon was charged with aggravated battery on a child and she was taken to jail.

April 7, 2014

Man arrested for shipped Marijuana

Detectives arrested a man in Marathon Saturday after someone shipped Marijuana to him via Fed Ex.

The operations manager of Fed Ex called Homeland Security Investigations (HIS) to report a package which smelled strongly of marijuana. HSI contacted the Sheriff’s Office. Special Investigations detectives took charge of the package and made arrangements to deliver it to the person it was addressed to: David Stegemeier, Boot Key Harbor, City Marina in Marathon.

They called Stegemeier and told him they had a package for him, agreeing to meet him at the marina. When they arrived with the package, he was waiting for them. He identified himself as Stegemeier with a Colorado driver’s license. The detective identified himself as a law enforcement officer and asked to see what was in the package. Stegemeier agreed. Inside was a cereal box. In the cereal box were several small Ziploc bags with a total of 45 grams of the illegal substance inside.

Stegemeier was arrested. He was charged with possession of a felony amount of marijuana and he was booked into jail.

Man arrested for burglary, battery

An Islamorada man was arrested Saturday for forcing his way into a home and battering the occupant.

The victim said she and a friend returned to her home at the 90.2 mile marker in Islamorada at 5 a.m. Saturday when someone began banging on her door. When she opened the door, she saw a friend of hers, 29 year old Daniel Bradley. She said Bradley appeared angry and was yelling “Where is Dude?”  She asked who “Dude” is? He yelled “You know Dude. Where the hell is he?” She said he grabbed her and pushed her so she shoved him outside and shut and locked the door.

She said a few minutes later, he kicked in the front door. She said he headed straight for her still yelling “Where is Dude?” She said at that point she and her friend pushed him over the couch and punched him. She said he jumped up and attacked her again. She fought him off and he finally ran out the door, yelling “Where is Dude?”

Bradley was found walking on the highway a short distance away and he was taken into custody. When Deputy Ray Jodlowski asked for his side of the story, he said he had nothing to say. He was charged with burglary with battery on the occupant.

Man found dead offshore of Rockland Key

Detectives say no foul play is suspected in the death of a man offshore of Rockland Key Saturday.

Deputy Kim Trullender responded to a report of a body in the water on the gulf side at the 9 mile marker of Highway U.S. One at 1 p.m. Saturday. When he arrived he met with two men who’d found the victim. They said they were snorkeling when they saw the body just offshore.

The body was a 52 year old white male wearing cut off shorts. He had a snorkel, fins and a mask on, as if he’d been snorkeling when he died. He was identified after his wallet, social security card, credit cards and some check stubs belonging to him were found nearby. It appeared he may have been camping in that area. Deputy Trullender found a tent, cooking utensils, a cooler and a fire pit in the area, along with a large pile of empty beer cans and a yellow bicycle. Detectives say out of concern for the man’s family they will release his identity to the public after they notify his next of kin.

There were no obvious signs of foul play and Detective Manny Cuervo said the death is most likely due to an accident or to natural causes. The body was turned over to the Medical Examiner, however, to determine the specific cause of death.

Kentucky woman arrested after fleeing police

A Kentucky woman was arrested on numerous charges after she fled police in a stolen car Saturday night.

Deputy Orlando Alvarez was at 28th Street in Marathon just before midnight when the red Ford SUV passed him northbound at 60 miles per hour in a 45 mile per hour zone. He attempted to pull the vehicle over, but it would not stop. He called in the car’s tag number and  followed the vehicle with his lights and siren activated until he reached the 60 mile marker. At that point he radioed ahead for other deputies to be on the lookout for it, and he broke off his pursuit for safety reasons.

Deputies at the 74 mile marker spotted the vehicle and began pursuit of it again after Sheriff’s dispatchers discovered the vehicle was reported stolen from Broward County. Sergeants on duty who were monitoring radio traffic from the pursuit directed deputies to set up stinger spikes at the south end of the Snake Creek Bridge. The spikes were successful at stopping the car. All three people in the car were detained.

The driver, 38 year old Rebecca Adams said she didn’t stop the car for law enforcement because “she was scared”. She also admitted to knowing her driver’s license was suspended. A passenger in the car told Deputy Alvarez Adams offered him a ride from Key West to north Florida. He said he told Adams to pull over for officers but she reportedly told him “I’m not going back to jail. I’m going to keep going until I run out of gas.”

Adams was arrested. She was charged with fleeing and eluding police, driving with her license suspended, grand theft of a vehicle and she was issued a citation for unlawful speed. She was booked into jail.

Dispute ends in jail on drug charges

Sheriff’s deputies took a man to jail on drug charges after responding to a disturbance early Sunday.

When they arrived at 5 a.m. they found George Johnson outside his house on Hibiscus Lane in Key Largo. They could see a woman inside the residence. While Deputy Pedro Garcia spoke with Johnson, Deputy Vaughn O’Keefe made contact with the woman who was inside.

The woman invited the deputies inside the house. When they entered they saw a pile of white powder suspected to be cocaine in the kitchen. Other evidence in the kitchen indicated someone was cooking the powdered cocaine to create crack cocaine. A pot on the stove contained a liquid with white powder floating in it; a glass bottle on the top of the refrigerator contained a clear crystal substance. All the suspicious substances were taken into custody and will be sent to a lab for analysis.

Johnson was confronted with the evidence of drugs and said another man was at his residence earlier cooking crack cocaine. He claimed the substances found in his home did not belong to him.

Johnson was arrested. He was charged with trafficking in cocaine, possession of cocaine and possession of drug paraphernalia.

April 4, 2014

Search warrant in Marathon

Marathon - A search warrant was served Thursday evening at a Marathon residence. 

Detectives from the Sheriff’s Office Special Investigations Unit served the warrant at 600 51st Street, Apartment-#4, in Marathon.  The residence was under the control of 23 year old Javier Porter-Fleming. 

The search of the residence turned up 54 grams of Marijuana, 20 grams of powder Cocaine, 15 Oxycodone pills and drug paraphernalia.  Porter-Fleming was charged with possession of Marijuana with intent to distribute, possession of Cocaine with intent to distribute, trafficking in opium and possession of drug paraphernalia.  

He was booked into the Marathon jail.

Dive death offshore of Islamorada

A New Mexico man died while diving offshore of Islamorada Thursday.

55 year old Stephen Benavidez of Albuquerque, New Mexico was in the Keys visiting with his wife. He was on a three day dive trip on board the vessel “Giant Stride” with Key Dives out of Bud and Mary’s Marina. He started on Wednesday with two dives and completed his third dive of the trip Thursday morning with no trouble. He was on the fourth dive of the trip  when he suddenly surfaced, yelling for help.

The captain threw out a tow line, but Benavidez couldn’t grasp it. Two dive guides from the boat were sent out to get him. By the time they reached him, he was not breathing. Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation was performed as they brought Benavidez in to the dock at the marina. The boat was met by paramedics who transported him to Mariner’s Hospital where he was pronounced dead just after noon.

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

Key Largo man charged with illegally dumping small boat

A Key Largo man was booked into jail, charged with illegally dumping a small vessel on the side of the road on Coral Way near the 105 mile marker of the highway.

Sgt. Jason Madnick responded March 10th to a report of an abandoned boat left blocking a driveway on Coral Way in Key Largo. He found a small catamaran on the side of the road. A witness told him he’d seen the same boat in the back of a truck the day before. He told Sgt. Madnick the person who owns the truck lives on Ryan Avenue.

Subsequent investigation identified 63 year old Reinaldo Carballero as the owner of the truck. When Sgt. Madnick confronted Carballero about the dumping case, the man said he’d picked the boat up to take it home, then realized it wasn’t worth keeping and returned to the place he found it.

Sgt. Madnick obtained a warrant for Carballero’s arrest and he was picked up on Thursday and charged with illegal dumping. He was booked into jail.

April 3, 2014

Drunk man arrested after fleeing from deputies

A Michigan man driving a moped drunk was stopped by deputies late Wednesday. He fled into the water and was apprehended on an offshore mangrove island with the help of a good Samaritan.

Deputy Joshua Gordon spotted 34 year old David Burns driving erratically on a moped on Maloney Avenue at 11 p.m. He saw Burns almost tip over several times, and almost hit another moped so he attempted to catch up with him to do a traffic stop. The moped turned into a campground on Maloney Avenue and, when Deputy Gordon turned in also, he saw the moped on the ground and saw Burns crawling underneath a parked truck in an attempt to hide. He ordered Burns out from under the truck. Burns attempted again to flee on foot, but was detained. The deputy could smell the odor of alcohol on his breath. He called for backup and Deputy Edgar Piniero responded to assist.

Deputy Gordon asked Burns to participate in field sobriety exercises and he agreed. Just prior to starting, however, Burns again ran from the officers, jumping into the water and beginning to swim away. A man on a skiff was passing by and Burns climbed onto the vessel. The man operating the skiff began to head back in to shore. When Burns realized where the man was taking him, he again jumped into the water.

Burns swam to a small mangrove island just offshore. The man with the small boat agreed to take the deputies to the island to apprehend Burns. The deputies found Burns and took him into custody. The good Samaritan boater took all of them back to shore. The tag on the moped belonged to another vehicle so the moped was towed.

Burns failed field sobriety exercises and, when given a breathalyzer test to measure his blood alcohol content, he registered above .20 both times he was given the test. He was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol., two counts of resisting arrest, attaching a tag not assigned to a vehicle and careless driving. He was booked into jail.

April 2, 2014

Man arrested for hitting another man with a car

A Stock Island man who hit another man with his car was arrested early this morning for aggravated battery.

23 year old Ricardo Blanco was arguing with his girlfriend in the early morning hours today in front of an apartment building on 10th Avenue. A neighbor – the victim in the case – came outside and asked them to be quiet because he was trying to sleep. Blanco got into his car and began to drive away. The victim said he was standing behind Blanco’s vehicle when Blanco suddenly put it into reverse and backed into him, knocking him down and pinning him beneath the car.

The victim called a friend to take him to the hospital. The friend subsequently called the Sheriff’s Office. The victim was treated at the hospital for a broken hand, cuts and abrasions.

After being released from the hospital, the victim made contact with Deputy Freddy Rodriguez and told him who had caused his injuries. Blanco was taken into custody, charged with aggravated battery.

April 1, 2014

Three arrested in  connection with gun thefts

Sheriff’s detectives in the Upper Keys arrested three men in connection with two armed burglaries last week. The guns stolen during the crimes were recovered during the course of the investigation.

The first burglary took place the afternoon of March 26th at a home on Meridian Avenue in Key Largo. 23 year old Matthew Berry and 25 year old David Pothier stole a Glock handgun, an AR15 rifle and a pellet rifle from the home while the homeowner was out of town. They also stole his Ford F150 pickup truck. The truck was found a short time later, destroyed by fire in Florida City. The two men tried to sell the guns to a man who lives on Azalea Street in Tavernier that same afternoon. He refused to purchase the guns. The following day, his home on Azalea Street was also burglarized by Berry and Pothier, who stole a 12 gauge shotgun and a lap top computer from the home.

Detectives Ian Barnett and Robert Dosh were assigned to investigate the crimes. During the course of their investigation, they identified Berry as a suspect and spoke to him several times on the phone in an attempt to have him surrender and return the weapons safely. Berry refused to cooperate. A notice to be on the lookout for him and his vehicle – a Chevrolet 2500 truck – was issued to agencies in South Florida. He was located at a home in Homestead on March 27th. He was taken into custody with the help of Homestead Police.

During interviews with Berry, he identified Pothier, known to him as “DJ”, as his accomplice in the crimes. A third suspect was also identified as David Gilliland. Information led detectives to believe Gilliland was in possession of the stolen firearms. On the afternoon of the 27th, Gilliland was seen driving his white Ford Mustang near the 89 mile marker of the highway. He fled from officers southbound, but was apprehended after a short chase by car and on foot. He told detectives the guns were at a residence in Islamorada and they were recovered without further incident.

Parts of this investigation are still ongoing and Florida City police are currently investigating the arson case in which the truck was destroyed. Berry is in custody in Miami-Dade County on a Monroe County arrest warrant for armed burglary, grand theft and dealing in stolen property.  Pothier was arrested in Monroe County on charges of being a principle to armed burglary, grand theft and dealing in stolen property. Gilliland was charged with fleeing and eluding police, driving with a suspended driver’s license with knowledge and possession of cocaine. He will most likely also face charges of possession of firearms by a convicted felon.

“Our detectives did an outstanding job of quickly recovering these stolen weapons and apprehending the suspects involved,” said Sheriff Rick Ramsay. “Having these weapons out on the street was dangerous for our officers and for the public and I am happy to report they are now secure and won’t be in the wrong hands.”

Detective asks for help in fishing equipment thefts

Visit our blog to see pictures of the suspects: floridakeyssheriff.blogspot.com

Sheriff’s Detective Nick Whiteman is asking for the public’s help identifying suspects who stole fishing equipment and a small boat motor from three homes in Layton.

The victims live on Sands Lane, Primrose Lane and Buttonwood Lane. Between the evening of the 21st and the morning of the 22nd of March, Detective Whiteman believes two suspects stole fishing rods and reels from the homes on Primrose Lane and Sands Lane. A 9.9 HP Mercury engine was stolen from a small dinghy at the Buttonwood Lane address during the same time frame.

The home on Primrose Lane was equipped with a surveillance camera and photos of the suspects were captured by the camera. The photos show the men looking inside a cooler on the property and then stealing rods and reels from the home.

Anyone who recognizes the two men depicted in the photos should contact Detective Whiteman at 305-289-2430.  Callers may also contact Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. Tipsters can remain anonymous and, if a tip leads to an arrest in the case, the caller would be eligible for a cash reward. The Crime Stoppers hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS. Tips may also be submitted on line at www.tipsubmit.com.

Road rage incident leads to arrest

A Lower Keys man was arrested Monday after he became angry over a driving incident and almost hit a man with his car.

The victim told Deputy Kim Trullender he was at the intersection of North Roosevelt Boulevard and Highway U.S. One, turning onto the highway just after 1 p.m. A black colored Lexus was merging into traffic from South Roosevelt Boulevard. The victim said the Lexus got too close to his car and he honked his horn to let the driver know he was there. He said the Lexus, driven my 79 year old James Robert Cooper of Key Haven followed him.

The victim said he pulled into Chico’s Restaurant to have lunch. He said Cooper followed him and began yelling threats at him. The victim took pictures of the Lexus and the driver so he could document the threats. He said as he was taking a picture of the front of the car, Cooper suddenly stepped on the gas as if to hit the victim. Cooper then drive away in the Lexus and the victim flagged down a nearby patrol car.

A witness corroborated the victim’s story. Deputy Trullender went to Cooper’s house on Amaryllis Drive. Cooper was arrested and charged with Aggravated Assault.

“Violent Sexual Predator” arrested in Marathon

Sheriff’s deputies initially investigating a trespassing call in Marathon Friday morning arrested a man who turned out to be designated as a “violent sexual predator” in two other states.

Deputy Chuck Kellenberger was behind Gulfside Village in Marathon when he asked a homeless man sleeping in the area for his identification. The man said he had no identification, but gave his name as Jean Paul Sebastian, along with a date of birth and a social security number. A check on that name returned as “no record found” so Deputy Kellenberger asked him again for his correct identification. This time he gave his name as first name “Sebastian”, then changed it to first name of “Paul”, then said he could not remember his date of birth of his social security number.

Sgt. Dennis Coleman responded to back up Deputy Kellenberger. As Deputy Kellenberger was on the radio with Sheriff’s dispatchers, the man began to act in an agitated fashion with Sgt. Coleman. He kept reaching in his pocket and refused orders to keep his hands in sight.

Sheriff’s dispatchers continued trying to discover who the man was using various permutations of the name and other information he had given. Dispatcher Andrea Fricke finally found the name he had given attached to a record belonging to Alan Bruce Robinson. Robinson is designated as a “sexually violent predator” from the State of Illinois. Robinson is also wanted in the state of Minnesota fro being a “Sex Offender – Predatory Off Viol.” With no further information available regarding the charges. His identity was confirmed using photographs available from the Minnesota Predatory Offender Registry.

Robinson was arrested and charged with resisting arrest, giving a false name to a law enforcement officer and failing to register as a sexual offender. He was booked into jail.