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 29, 2017

Miami men charged with illegal dumping

Two men from Miami were caught in the act of dumping trash on the side of the road on Big Pine Key Friday.

An alert citizen called the Sheriff’s Office to report seeing the men dumping trash from a trailer onto the side of the road on Chapman Lane, Big Pine Key at 12:15 p.m. Deputies Ken Fricke and Jon Riggs arrived in time to see the dumping taking place.

The required the two men to pick the trash back up and put it back in their trailer. 40 year old Yosvany Padron and 51 year old Osmar Cisneros were then issued notices to appear in court on charges of illegal dumping.

April 27, 2017

Key West man charged with fleeing law enforcement

A  man was arrested overnight for fleeing from police at high rates of speed.

Deputy Matthew Cory was in the vicinity of 15th Street in Marathon, traveling southbound, when he saw 40 year old Laquenton Cade driving a black 2017 Cadillac in the same direction. The deputy saw the Cadillac swerve over the center line of the roadway several times, so he turned on his lights and siren to pull the car over.

Cade pulled his car to the side of the road, as if stopping, then accelerated quickly, fleeing from Deputy Cory, who pursued him. Deputy Seth Hopp was also in the area, and joined in the pursuit.

The two patrol cars followed the Cadillac onto the Seven Mile Bridge. The Cadillac continued to accelerate, reaching speeds over 100 miles per hour and pulling rapidly away from the pursuing deputies. The deputies lost sight of the car and broke off the chase near the south end of the bridge. They radioed ahead to deputies located south of them, to be on the lookout for the vehicle.

Deputies Cory and Hopp began to look for the Cadillac as they continued to drive southbound. As Deputy Hopp reached the south end of the Bahia Honda Bridge, he turned around to head back to Marathon. Just as he was getting ready to head north, he saw the Cadillac go past him, northbound on the bridge. Deputy Hopp again turned on his lights and siren in an attempt to stop the vehicle. Deputy Cory was at the north end of the Bahia Honda Bridge, near the state park. He parked his patrol car so it was visible with emergency lights on. The Cadillac again fled from Deputy Hopp, reaching high speeds northbound across the Bahia Honda Bridge. When Cade spotted Deputy Cory’s patrol car at the north end of the bridge, he finally pulled the Cadillac over to the side of the road and surrendered.

Cade was placed under arrest for fleeing and eluding police and reckless driving. Cade has a history of fleeing from police and has been arrested twice before for the same charges.

Cade told Deputy Cory he is living in Key West and drove to Marathon to pick up his mail from his sister, who he says lives in Homestead.

April 25, 2017

Alert deputies recover large amount of drugs

Two alert deputies on Big Pine Key spotted suspicious behavior. They ended up recovering a large amount of drugs and arresting two men in connection.

Deputies Josh Gordon and Ken Fricke spotted a man acting furtively behind the CVS Pharmacy on Big Pine Key at about 5 p.m. Monday. They decided to see what the man was doing. They found him going through a backpack, which he admitted did not belong to him. The man identified himself as “Buzz Collins”, but he had no identification with him.

Deputy Fricke noticed a 2013 Volkswagon Jetta nearby, pulled into the loading dock of CVS with its headlights on and someone inside. He approached the car. The driver, 29 year old Jacob Ortiz of Key West, said he was with the other man, whose name he gave as “Matthew”. Ortiz said Matthew’s wallet was in the car, on the passenger side.

Deputy Fricke retrieved the wallet and discovered the first man’s real name was Matthew Myers, 23 years old, from Big Pine Key . He also found .7 grams of LSD in the wallet.

Ortiz gave permission for Deputy Fricke to search the passenger side of the car. He found marijuana and drug paraphernalia. A backpack belonging to Myers was located in the rear passenger seat. Inside the backpack Deputy Fricke found 19 grams of Heroin in a plastic bag and three plastic bags containing 169 grams of Cocaine.

Ortiz was found to be in possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia, which he admitted was his.

Myers was charged with giving a false name to law enforcement, possession of marijuana, drug paraphernalia and possession of LSD. He was also charged with trafficking in cocaine and heroin.

Both men were booked into jail.

April 24, 2017

Suspect arrested for second degree murder

The suspect in an early morning stabbing in Marathon was charged today with second degree murder and grand theft auto.

29 year old Kyle Ian Miller of Marathon was apprehended at 9 a.m.  as he drove the stolen 2000 tan colored Cadillac Eldorado northbound. Deputies had a description of the automobile from a resident of the park, who told them it was missing from the driveway of a trailer belonging to a man he knows as “Jack”. He said “Jack” was out of town in Ohio.

Miller reportedly stole the car after stabbing 34 year old Andre Howard. Miller was pulled over in the car on Bessie Road in Tavernier at and was taken into custody.

Howard’s body was found lying beside the road in the mobile home park at 4 a.m. today by a newspaper delivery person, who called the Sheriff’s Office. When deputies arrived at the scene, they realized Howard was dead. Initial examinations of his body indicate he died of stab wounds believed to have been inflicted by Miller. Detectives say they believe the altercation between the two men took place at about 2:30 a.m.

Arriving deputies followed a blood trail from the body back to a trailer belonging to a man named Jack Belknap, the registered owner of the stolen Cadillac.  Inside the trailer, they found evidence the stabbing may have taken place there. Miller, who has been known to reside at the trailer in the past, is an acquaintance of Belknap whom he calls “uncle”. When contacted, Belknap told detectives Miller did not have permission to use the car and he wished to press charges for the theft of it.

Miller claims he stabbed Howard after Howard made unwanted sexual advances toward him. He told Major Crimes detectives he has known Howard for about a year and the two of them sometimes did drugs together.

Homicide investigation continues

Major Crimes detectives continue to investigate the death of a Marathon man believed to be a homicide. The incident took place in the early morning hours in Marathon today.

34 year old Andre Howard of Marathon was found dead beside the road in Keys by the Sea RV Park at 4 a.m. by a newspaper delivery woman. Initial examination of the body indicates he suffered a sharp force injury.

A Cadillac was stolen from the park and was recovered in Islamorada at 9 a.m. Investigations are continuing into the circumstances of Howard’s death. More information will be released as it becomes available.

Detectives investigate death in Marathon

Sheriff’s Major Crimes detectives are investigating a death in Marathon overnight which appears to be suspicious in nature.

A newspaper delivery person was at Keys by the Sea RV Park at 4 a.m. when she found a man’s body beside the road, face down, unresponsive. She called the Sheriff’s Office to report it. When deputies arrived, they found the man dead.

Initial examinations of the body and the scene indicate the death is a homicide.

More information will be released when it becomes available. Investigations are continuing.

Michigan man dies while diving

A 61 year old Michigan man died while diving offshore of Key Largo.

Robert Gaskins of Clinton, Michigan was on board the boat Republic Diver out of Tavernier. He was diving on the wreck of the Spiegel Grove at the time of the incident.

Gaskins became unresponsive and was brought back on board the boat and then brought in to shore at the Port Largo Homeowner’s Park at approximately 10 a.m.. Paramedics met the boat and  transported him to Mariner’s Hospital. He was pronounced dead at the hospital. An autopsy will be done to determine the cause of his death.

April 23, 2017

Threatening Snapchat message investigated, cleared

Sheriff’s detectives say they have found no credible threat involved in a Snapchat message circulating amongst Key West High School students.

Investigators say they received information today about a Snapchat message circulating showing two Key West High School students holding guns – that turned out to be fake stage props – with a message that says “ No one go to school on Monday”.

Working together with Key West Police and school authorities, they found the identities of the two teens in the picture – two 15 years olds, one from Key Haven and one from Big Pine Key. Detectives contacted the parents of the two boys. All parties involved were cooperative. The two boys and their parents met with detectives.

When interviewed, both boys said they took a “selfie” while at a rehearsal at Key West Theater holding prop guns and sent it out on Snapchat. They said an acquaintance of theirs then did a “screenshot” of the photo and added the threatening message at the top. That third party then re-posted the photo on Snapchat with the threatening message on it.

Both boys said they never intended the photo to be threatening to the school or to their classmates.

Detectives questioned the boy’s parents to make sure the boys did not have access to any real firearms and are satisfied they do not. Detectives also made contact with the theater manager and made sure he completed an inventory of all the prop firearms. All of the prop firearms are accounted for. The manager said the boys did not have permission to enter the room where the prop firearms are kept.

Detectives are continuing to investigate the case and are working to make contact with the third teen who is actually accused of adding the threatening message to the photo. School Superintendent Mark Porter has been notified, as has Key West High School Principal Amber Acevedo. They will be reviewing the case and will determine what type of school discipline is called for.

At this time, detectives have ascertained there is no credible threat to the school or the students nor is there a need to disrupt school operations.

Three arrested for trying to use fraudulent credit cards

Three people were arrested Saturday afternoon in Key Largo after they tried to use a fraudulent credit card to purchase two Go Pro cameras at Diver’s Direct at the 99.6 mile marker of the highway.

Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to Diver’s Direct at 4 p.m. after employees called to report two men attempting to use a fraudulent credit card to purchase merchandise valued at $898. When the card didn’t work, the employee looked closer and realized it looked blurry. When the assistant manager of the store told the men the card was no good, they left the store. Store employees saw them leave in a white BMW with a temporary license tag on it.

Deputy Ben Elmore kept an eye out for the vehicle and spotted it at the 103 mile marker northbound. He pulled it over. There were two men and a woman inside the car. When Deputy Elmore approached the vehicle, he smelled a strong odor of Marijuana coming from inside.

All three in the vehicle turned out to have suspended driver’s licenses. Marijuana was found in numerous locations inside the car, along with drug paraphernalia. Multiple credit cards were found in the car. The cards were all crudely made, had blurry type on them and were obviously fake.

All three people in the vehicle were arrested. They were identified as 25 year old Brian Moreno Olivera of Hialeah, 25 year old Fernando Baez Romero of Miami and 26 year old Tahimi Perez of Miami.

Olivera was charged with10 counts of fraudulent use or possession of another person’s identification, possession of counterfeit credit cards, possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia and driving with his license suspended.

Romero was charged with grand theft, 10 counts fraudulent use or possession of another person’s identification, possession of counterfeit credit cards and fraudulent use of credit cards.

Perez was charged with was charged with 10 counts of fraudulent use or possession of another person’s identification, possession of counterfeit credit cards, possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

Detectives found a license plate in the trunk of the BMW which, when checked, returns to a vehicle which is suspected to have been used in a previous credit card fraud case. Investigations are continuing and more charges may be pending.

April 20, 2017

Big Pine man arrested for damaging  truck

A 19 year old Big Pine man was arrested Wednesday for damaging his mother’s 1998 Ford F-150 truck.

The victim met with Sgt. Ken Fricke and Deputy Josh Gordon at her home on Richard Road, Big Pine Key. She showed them the damage to the truck. The windshield, passenger side windows and the rear window were all broken. Inside, a wire harness had been damaged and the dashboard ripped out, rendering the truck inoperable. She said her son, Mario Bacerra, had been high on spice and alcohol and they’d gotten into an argument prior to him doing the damage.

The victim introduced the officers to a witness who told them he saw the whole thing. Bacerra was located at a trailer on Avenue A, Big Pine Key. He was arrested, charged with burglary and criminal mischief and he was booked into jail.

Two men arrested in connection with counterfeit money

Two men were arrested this afternoon in Key Largo, one for passing a counterfeit $100 bill and one for possessing a counterfeit $100 bill.

Sheriff’s dispatchers received a call at 1:30 p.m. from Keys Castaways at the 99 mile marker of Highway U.S. One. They were reporting a man just tried to use a counterfeit $100 bill in the store. The store employee refused to take the bill. The suspect left southbound in a white Nissan Altima with black front and rear bumpers.

Officers who heard the notice to be on the lookout for the car began watching for it. Sgt. Syd Whitehouse found the car parked in Tavernier Towne parking lot with two men inside. They only spoke Spanish so Detective Orlando Alvarez responded to assist with translation. Detectives Lance Hernandez and Ian Barnet also responded to the scene to investigate.

The men said they were cousins and had traveled to the Keys to “see the sights”. They agreed to allow officers to search their wallets and search the car.

In the wallet belonging to driver 48 year old Carlos Fabelo of Miami, detectives found a counterfeit $100 bill. In the vehicle, they found a walking cane 40 year old Alexander Hernandez-Ramirez of Homestead said he bought for his elderly grandmother in Cuba. A receipt was found in the car for the cane. He’d purchased it at Medical Care Services Florida Keys for $21.50 using a $100 bill.

Detectives contacted that company by phone. The owner of the store confirmed the $100 bill used to purchase the cane was counterfeit. He later positively identified Ramirez and the man who used the bill to pay for the cane.

Both men were arrested. Fabelo was charged with possession of a counterfeit bill and Ramirez with passing a counterfeit bill. They were booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

April 17, 2017

Hialeah man charged with stealing personal watercraft

A 20 year old Hialeah man was arrested Sunday in the early morning hours after he was caught on a traffic stop, towing a stolen personal watercraft.

Deputy Gil Gonzalez was on patrol at the 105 mile marker just before 1 a.m. when he saw a truck northbound on the highway, towing a personal watercraft on a trailer. The trailer had no working taillights. He pulled the truck over and identified the driver as 20 year old Lazaro Cruz of Hialeah. During the traffic stop, he asked Cruz if the personal watercraft belonged to him. Cruz said it belonged to a friend named “Albert” and he was towing for him.

A check on the personal watercraft’s registration gave the owner’s name as Carlos Pla of Miami. Deputy Gonzalez called Pla and asked him if he allowed anyone to use his watercraft. Pla said no. He said it should be parked at his second home in Key Largo, behind a closed gate with a golf cart parked in front of it to prevent it from being stolen.

Deputy Cody Kerns drove by the Pla home. He found the gate propped open and the golf cart parked across the street.

Pla responded to the scene of the traffic stop and identified the watercraft and the trailer as his. Cruz was arrested. He was charged with grand theft of the watercraft and grand theft of the trailer. He was booked into jail.

April 14, 2017

Two arrested on drug charges after traffic stop

A Sheriff’s detective arrested two women after a traffic stop in the city of Key West when he found them to be in possession of drugs and a gun.

The detective spotted the green Kia Soul southbound on Trinity Drive just after 7 p.m. He saw the car run the stop sign and turn right on Northside Drive, then quickly accelerate. As he was following the car, he measured its speed at  50 miles per hour in a 25 mile per hour zone. He pulled the car over at Kennedy Drive and North Roosevelt Boulevard, identifying the driver as 34 year old Lindsay Stephens, who also goes by Lindsay Scarborough. Her passenger was identified as 27 year old Destiny Gagliano.

A Key West Police K-9 team arrived on the scene. While the detective was talking with the two women, the dog alerted on the outside of the vehicle, indicating drugs inside.

There were two backpacks in the car. In the one belonging to Gagliano, a search turned up .3 grams of a white powdery substance that later tested positive for cocaine and methamphetamine. In the backpack belonging to Stephens, a search turned up more of the same mixture, weighing .5 grams along with drug paraphernalia. A .380 caliber handgun was also in that backpack.

Both women had suspended drivers licenses.

They were both arrested and taken to jail. Stephens was charged with possession of cocaine and methamphetamine with intent to sell, possession of a firearm in commission of a felony and possession of drug paraphernalia. She also received citations for running a stop sign and driving with her license suspended. Gagliano was charged with possession of cocaine and methamphetamine.

April 12, 2017

Traffic stop leads to drug trafficking arrest

A Key West man was arrested for cocaine trafficking and possession of a large amount of marijuana after a traffic stop Tuesday afternoon.

Detectives with the Sheriff’s Office Monroe-HIDTA task force stopped a van driven by 61 year old Paul Fraga at 2 p.m. on Atlantic Boulevard. The van had illegal window tinting on it, precipitating the stop.

A strong odor of marijuana was noticeable inside the vehicle as the detectives spoke with Fraga at the driver’s side window. A search of the van turned up small amounts of marijuana in several locations inside. A vacuum sealed bag of white powder was also found in the center console which turned out to be 32 grams of cocaine.

Fraga was cooperative with detectives and admitted to having a quarter pound of marijuana at his house on Seidenberg Avenue. He gave consent for the detectives to search his house, where they recovered a further 250 grams of the green leafy substance, along with several items of drug paraphernalia.

Fraga was arrested. He was charged with possession of a felony amount of marijuana, trafficking in cocaine and possession of drug paraphernalia. Assisting with the investigation was United States Customs and Border Protection Air & Marine Operations, United States Border Patrol, Monroe County Special Operations Narcotics Unit and the Key West Police Narcotics Unit.

April 8, 2017

Marathon man charged with sexual battery

A Marathon man was arrested today, charged with sexual battery on a 23 year old Big Pine Key woman.

The attack took place on April 5th at a hotel in Marathon. The victim reported it the following day. She told Detective Rosa DiGiovanni she got into a fight with her boyfriend, so she went to stay at the Blackfin Hotel. At one point, she said she called a taxi and asked the driver to take her to get some marijuana. The driver dropped her off on 39th Street, telling her there were lots of people around there that sell marijuana. She was walking down the street when the taxi returned with a black male inside. The taxi driver told her the black male – later identified as Terry Burgest – had what she wanted.

She told the taxi driver to take her back to the hotel. She said she went into her room and a few minutes later, Burgest knocked on the room’s door. She said he gave her cocaine, which she snorted and he smoked crack. After a while she said she told him to leave, which he did.

She said he returned later and she let him in because she thought he had more drugs for her. She said she was drinking an ice tea and left the room for a minute to go to the bathroom. She said she returned and finished the tea, then started to feel funny. She said that is when he raped her.

She told the detective she fought him off and he finally grabbed her purse and fled from the room. She said she did not report the rape right away because she is on probation and didn’t want to get in trouble.

The victim was able to positively identify her attacker as Burgest, who has a large distinctive growth on the back of his neck and always wears a towel over it to hide it.

A warrant was issued for Burgest and he was arrested today. He was charged with sexual battery and robbery and he was booked into jail.

Stock Island man charged with cocaine

Deputies following up on an anonymous tip about drug activity arrested a Stock Island man for possessing cocaine.

Deputies Lazaro Valdes and Freddy Rodriguez went to 6621 Maloney Avenue, Lot 17 at 11:30 a.m. and knocked on the door. Orlando Urbay answered the door. The deputies told him they had information there might be drug activity at the residence and asked permission to search inside. Urbay gave permission for them to search.

Urbay was cooperative. He told the deputies he’d purchased an ounce of cocaine the night before and had cooked it into a crack cocaine cookie. A fan running in the bedroom was being used to dry the cookie. He also voluntarily handed over a pill bottle which he was keeping under his pillow; it was full of crack cocaine rocks.

A total of 23 grams of cocaine were recovered from the home. Urbay was arrested. He was charged with possession of cocaine and was booked into jail.

April 7, 2017

Big Pine man arrested for fleeing

A Big Pine Key man was arrested Thursday evening for fleeing from a traffic stop.

Deputy Ryan Chlebanowski was on patrol at the 10 mile marker of the highway just before 8 p.m. when he saw a suspicious vehicle. The Dodge Caravan was parked on the side of the road, facing traffic; the driver was inside. Deputy Chlebanowski stopped his patrol car behind the van to ask the driver what he was doing there.

The driver, later identified as  39 year old Nakomus Kyle McCauley, refused to tell the deputy why he was there or what his name was. When the deputy returned to his patrol car to call his supervisor, McCauley took off, northbound. Deputy Chlebanowski followed him with his lights and siren. McCauley finally stopped at the 13 mile marker.

Backup officers arrived. McCauley was placed under arrest for fleeing from a law enforcement officer. His identification was located and a computer check on his name revealed he was wanted in Indian River County for two counts of failure to appear in court. A check on his driver’s license revealed it was suspended for failure to appear on a traffic summons. Inside his car, officers found marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

McCauley was booked into jail.

April 5, 2017

Marathon man arrested for a variety of crimes

A Marathon man is in jail, charged with vehicle burglary, theft, possessing credit cards not in his name and possessing a suspended driver’s license. He was on probation and was violating the terms of that probation, so he was also charged with that crime.

Deputy John Allen responded to Big Time Bait and Tackle on 114th Street in Marathon at 10 a.m. He met with an employee of the store who said a man had been in the store and had asked to buy a $3,500 coin with a credit card. He was told they don’t take credit cards. He later tried to steal a donation container with cash inside. The container was attached to a security cable, which the man was trying to unscrew when he was caught. The employee confronted him. The man – later identified as 25 year old John Kornetti – said he was an engineer and he was just looking at the device to see how it works.

 Kornetti then left the store on a bicycle. The store employee said after Kornetti left, he saw him checking parked vehicles for open doors. He said he saw him climb into a white van at one point. He was able to give a detailed description of Kornetti, who was still riding his bike in the area and was spotted by other responding deputies.

Deputies questioning Kornetti found he had three credit cards in his possession, none in his name. They also found a suspended driver’s license in his possession. One woman whose name was on one of the credit cards worked at a nearby bank. When deputies contacted her, she discovered her vehicle had been burglarized and her purse had been stolen from inside. Kornetti also told deputies he was on probation and only had permission to leave the house to ride his bike to work and back. He admitted he did not have permission to do anything else on the way to and from work.

Kornetti was booked into jail on the charges.

Pharmacy employee arrested for stealing drugs

A pharmacy employee in Key Largo was arrested Tuesday evening  after a fellow employee caught her stealing prescription medication while on duty.

Deputy Annette Simo responded to the CVS Pharmacy at the 99.4 mile marker at 8:30 p.m. When she arrived, she met with the store supervisor who called in the report. He said pharmacy employee 53 year old Heather Burckhard had taken Oxycodone from a prescription prepared for a customer.

Another employee discovered the theft when he noticed the prescription packaging had been tampered with. The bag was separated from its label and the bag was crumpled. When he checked the prescription, which he had filled himself, he discovered pills missing. He confronted Burckhard, who admitted to taking the pills and took them out of her pocket and gave them back.

A surveillance camera in the pharmacy provided further confirmation; it showed Burckhard taking the bottle out of the bag and removing the pills.

Burckhard was arrested. She was charged with grand theft and possession of a controlled substance without a prescription. She was booked into jail.