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

January 30, 2017

Third suspect turns himself in

The third man wanted in connection with a Marathon aggravated battery case turned himself in to the Sheriff’s Office Sunday.

20 year old Ottoniel Garcia was booked into jail on aggravated battery charges Sunday after turning himself in at the Marathon Sheriff’s Substation. The charges stem from a fight which took place in the early morning hours of January 22nd on 65th Street Oceanside in Marathon

The victim was airlifted to a Miami hospital for treatment of injuries to his face and head. The three men reportedly attacked the victim in an argument about nationality; the suspects are Guatemalan and the victim is Cuban.

January 27, 2017

Woman attacked, beaten; detectives investigating

An Islamorada woman told detectives she was attacked in her home by another woman early today. The suspect held her against her will and threatened her with a knife.

The attack reportedly took place at 1:20 a.m. The victim eventually managed to break away from her attacker and flee; the suspect ran after her. The two women fought and the victim was assisted by two good Samaritans who saw the fight and pulled the suspect off the victim, allowing the victim to escape.

The suspect ran from the scene. Detectives say they have been able to identify her with help from the victim, who knows who she is. They are continuing to investigate and anticipate making an arrest in the case soon.

Two aggravated battery suspects in custody

Two out of the three men wanted for putting a Marathon man in the hospital this past turned themselves in today.

24 year old Luis Garcia Barrera and 21 year old Carlitos Garcia were booked into jail on aggravated battery charges. The charges stem from a fight which took place early Sunday on 65th Street Oceanside in Marathon. A third man who took part in the fight is still wanted on an outstanding warrant. Detectives say they are still looking for 20 year old Ottoniel Garcia, who may be hiding out in the Miami area.

The victim was airlifted to a Miami hospital for treatment of injuries to his face and head. The three men reportedly attacked the victim in an argument about nationality; the suspects are Guatemalan and the victim is Cuban.

Anyone who knows where Ottoniel Garcia is should contact the Sheriff’s Office at 305-289-2430 or 305-289-2351. 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 or via a text message to 274637 using the keyword TIP136.

January 26, 2017

Man arrested for sexual battery attempt, false imprisonment

A 42 year old Key Largo man was arrested today, accused of attempting to rape a co-worker while holding her against her will and choking her.

The incident took place in the early morning hours in the vicinity of employee housing at the Ocean Reef Resort in Key Largo. Deputies and detectives responded to investigate at 3:20 a.m.

The female victim told investigators she and Jeremiah Kielman went to his room to get some cigarettes. Once in the room, she says he threw her on the bed, held her down, choked her and attempted to rape her.

The victim managed to fight him off and escaped from the room, reporting the incident to her boyfriend, and then to Ocean Reef Public Safety. Ocean Reef Public Safety officers in turn called the Sheriff’s Office.

After an investigation by Major Crimes detectives, Kielman was arrested. He was charged with attempted sexual battery, aggravated battery and false imprisonment. He was booked into jail.

January 24, 2017

Two charged with home invasion robbery

Two brothers were arrested Tuesday, charged with home invasion robbery.

Deputies Matt Dowling, Freddy Rodriguez and Lazaro Valdes responded to a trailer at 6500 Maloney Avenue, #28 at 11:30 a.m. and met with the 23 year old  victim who was bleeding from injuries to his head. He told them two men had just robbed him and pistol whipped him with a black semi-automatic handgun. He was able to identify his attackers as 32 year old Orlando Grimon of Stock Island and 26 year old Alain Menendez who is from West Palm Beach. He said he recognized Grimon from pervious contacts. He said Menendez was wearing a mask to disguise himself, but he recognized his voice as Grimon’s brother, Menendez. He said Menendez had a gun, demanded money, and they stole $1,500 in cash from him.

A witness said she saw the two men get into a black four door vehicle parked in front of the trailer. She said at the time she saw them, one was wearing a mask and carrying a handgun.

Grimon is on probation and wears an ankle bracelet. The GPS on the bracelet confirmed he’d been in that location on Stock Island at the time of the robbery. A further check on the current  location of the bracelet showed it to be at a residence on Verde Drive, Big Coppitt Key. Deputies Jenna Moeller and Dyllon Hansen responded to that location, assisted by an agent from Homeland Security and an FHP trooper. They found Grimon at the home and placed him under arrest. They then found Menendez hiding in a shower at the residence and placed him under arrest as well.

Both men were charged with Home Invasion Robbery. Menendez, who was the one armed with a handgun during the robbery, was also charged with aggravated battery for pistol whipping the victim. Grimon was charged with being a principle to the crime. They were booked into jail. The gun used in the crime was recovered and charges related to its possession are pending.

The victim was taken to the hospital for treatment of his injuries.

During the course of investigating the home invasion robbery, drugs were found inside the victim’s home as well as inside the house where the suspects were arrested. Search warrants were obtained for both residences and were served by detectives with the Sheriff’s Special Investigations Unit. Those drug investigations are continuing. Charges are pending against both the victim of the home invasion robbery, against Grimon and Menendez, as well as some others connected with the Big Coppitt home.

January 23, 2017

Key West man charged with illegal dumping

A Key West man is in jail, charged with illegally dumping a felony amount of trash on Sugarloaf Key.

In December, Deputies James Hager, Todd Jones and Ken Fricke investigated the dumping of a large pile of debris on Old Pappy Road, Lower Sugarloaf Key. The pile had been dumped on the right of way at the end of the road. In the pile of trash, they found shipping lables on several card board boxes along with a bill of lading in one of the bags that had been dumped. This evidence led back to an Estate Liquidating business located on Duval Street in Key West.

The owner of the business said he paid 26 year old David Pulido $100 to properly dispose of the trash at the landfill. When Deputy Fricke met with Pulido, he admitted to illegally dumping the trash even though he saw a no dumping sign at that location and knew he was doing something wrong.

The deputies properly disposed of the trash and a warrant was issued for the arrest of Pulido. He was booked into jail last week on felony illegal dumping charges.

January 22, 2017

Woman arrested for slashing Trump sign

A woman from Oakland, California who slashed a Trump sign on Big Pine Key was arrested Friday. She told deputies she did it because the sign “ruined her chill”.

Deputies Josh Baer and James Pettorini responded to R & T Vinyl Signs at 5 p.m. The owners of the business told them a woman had slashed their vinyl “Trump” sign. They said she also threatened them while holding a knife in her hand. One of the men was able to take a picture of her vehicle as she was leaving, traveling southbound on highway U.S. One.

Lt. Derek Paul spotted the vehicle at the 19 mile marker of the highway and pulled it over. The driver was identified as 30 year old Elizabeth McSurdy. At first she denied slashing the signs and threatening the men; after she was confronted with the photo and after the victim identified her as the suspect, she admitted to doing the damage to the sign. She denied threatening the men, but admitted to holding the knife during the confrontation. The knife she used was found in the glove compartment.

McSurdy was arrested. She was charged with criminal mischief and aggravated assault and she was booked into jail.

Man arrested for ramming golf cart with truck

A man from Sunrise, Florida was arrested after he rammed his truck into an occupied golf cart at Calusa Campground in Key Largo.

A security guard at the campground told Deputies Titus Hodges and Cody Jackson he went to Lot 361 at 11:30 p.m. Saturday to a report of a disturbance. He said he pulled up in his golf cart, behind a pickup truck parked at the residence.

He said he was sitting in the golf cart when 40 year old Christopher Soccol got into the truck and backed up into the golf cart. He then pulled the truck forward and parked it. A short time later, Soccol got back into the truck and backed into the golf cart a second time.

When deputies arrived, they found Soccol still on the scene. He showed clear signs of intoxication and refused any communication with the deputies. Witnesses at the scene corroborated the victim’s story.

Soccol was arrested. He was charged with aggravated battery and with driving under the influence of alcohol. He was booked into jail.

Man airlifted after fight

A Marathon man was airlifted to Jackson Memorial Hospital after a fight with three other men early this morning on 65th Street Oceanside in Marathon.

The 30 year old victim, Yandy Carrillo, was at the Nowhere Bar and Grill with friends. The group had a dispute amongst themselves at the bar and the victim and two women who were with him left the bar.

When they got out side and were waiting for a taxi, an acquaintance offered them a ride home. There were two other men in the car with him. The group got into the car and they all drove to 65th Street.

Once there, the two women got out of the car and began walking across the street to go home. They heard arguing behind them. The three men in the car, who are from Guatemala, were arguing with the victim, who is Cuban. The argument was reportedly over the difference in their nationalities.

The three men attacked the victim, hitting and punching him. One of the women intervened and tried to stop the fight. She was pushed to the ground and punched numerous times.

When deputies arrived just after 4 a.m., the three attackers had fled the scene. The victim had to be airlifted to Jackson Memorial Hospital for treatment of severe injuries to his face and head. The women were able to identify the attackers. Their car was found parked at a nearby apartment complex, but deputies were unable to locate the suspects at that location.

Detectives will be investigating the case.

Burglar apprehended by homeowner in Marathon

A Marathon man was charged with burglary early Saturday after he was caught inside a home on 4th Avenue in Marathon.

The owner of the home told Deputies Vincent Torres and Shannon O’Connell he was sleeping at 6 a.m. when he heard the door to his downstairs garage open and close. He went downstairs to check and found 34 year old Jeffrey Preston in the garage, staring at his workbench.

He confronted Preston, asking what he was doing. Preston said he was “just trying to help his people”. The victim told Preston to follow him upstairs and instructed his wife to call the police.

As the victim was waiting for deputies to arrive, Preston became agitated. When deputies arrived, the victim was controlling Preston by holding him in a choke hold from behind.

Preston was arrested. When deputies asked him what he was doing in the home, he could not explain. He said he’d been drinking at the Hurricane Bar and Grill and does not know why he was inside the home on 4th Avenue. When the deputies asked what he meant when he said he wanted to “help his people”, he could not elaborate. A search of his pockets turned up a cigarette pack with marijuana inside.

Preston was charged with burglary and possession of marijuana. He was booked into jail.

Homeless man faces multiple burglary and theft charges

A 54 year old homeless man was arrested Saturday. He is accused of burglarizing several boats at Strike Zone Charters on Big Pine Key.

Deputy Ken Fricke responded to the business on Friday after the owner reported catching 54 year old Bart Hesson rummaging through boats on the property and taking items. He said he confronted Hesson and told him to leave the area. He snapped a photo of Hesson as he left and then called the Sheriff’s Office to report it.

Deputy Fricke searched for Hesson in the area but could not find him. The following day, Deputy Fricke responded back to the charter business. The owner said video surveillance of the property showed Hesson returning to the property and going through more boats. He is also shown on video trying to pry open a shed door. The shed has an alarm, which went off and interrupted the attempt.  He said he thinks Hesson slept on one of the boats because he found a bed made out of towels.

Deputy Fricke found Hesson at Winn Dixie Plaza on Big Pine Key later on Saturday. Hesson was caught leaving the Winn Dixie store without paying for a Foster’s beer he had in his pocket. Hesson admitted to going on to boats on both days and taking items from them that did not belong to him. He was charged with four counts of burglary, four counts of theft and one count of attempted burglary. He was also charged with theft of the beer from the store.

Hesson was booked into jail.

January 20, 2017

Man arrested for gun threats on Big Coppitt Key

A 21 year old Big Coppitt Key man was arrested this morning for making threats with a gun.

Sheriff’s dispatchers received a call at 7:45 a.m. of a man waving a gun in the vicinity of Barcelona Drive on Big Coppitt Key. Detectives David Cruz and Spencer Curry were in the area and responded. The suspect was reported to be wearing a gold sweater and a belt with a Chrome belt buckle.

They found Douby Ernest in the area. He fit the description. He was walking, straddling a bike, with a woman beside him. When the Detectives ordered him to stop, he failed to comply.

He finally began to get off of his bike and fell into some bushes. When the detectives finally got him handcuffed on the ground, they found he was in possession of a .22 caliber handgun. He was also found to have a bag full of ammunition for the gun and some marijuana.

Deputy Darren Jensen arrived as backup. He took custody of Douby and took him to jail. Witnesses interviewed by the detectives said they saw Douby talking with a man and waving the gun around. One witness said she heard him making threats.

Douby was charged with aggravated assault, carrying a concealed weapon without a license, improper exhibition of a firearm and possession of marijuana.

January 19, 2017

Naked wanted woman arrested for hitting deputy

A woman wanted on an outstanding warrant answered her door with no clothes on when deputies went there to serve the warrant. She then attacked the deputies and threatened to kill them.

53 year old Kim Larman of Silver Springs Drive in Key Largo was wanted for contempt of court reference a violation of an injunction for stalking. Sgt. Scott Ward and Deputy Christopher Kilmurray knocked on her door at 9 p.m. Wednesday. She answered the door completely unclothed.

When they told her they were there to serve a warrant, she used obscene language to let them know she was not going to cooperate and go with them. As she turned and walked away from the door, they followed her inside.

She walked toward the bedroom as the officers continued to order her to stop. As she lay down on her bed, they asked her if she had any weapons in the residence. She replied, “If I had a gun then I would shoot you and kill you.”

They attempted to take her into custody and she fought with them, charging at Sgt. Ward and pushing him in the chest with both hands. They were finally able to handcuff her. They covered her with a blanket and took her to jail.

Larman was charged with the warrant. She was also charged with battery on a law enforcement officer, making threats against a law enforcement officer and resisting arrest with violence and she was booked into jail.

January 18, 2017

Drug arrest after traffic stop

Erratic driving led to the arrest of a Big Coppitt Key man for marijuana possession.

Detectives with the Monroe County HIDTA Task Force this morning saw a gray colored Dodge RAM truck southbound at the 21 mile marker at 3 a.m. The truck was driving erratically, swerving from side to side. The detectives called for assistance in stopping the truck. Deputy Garrett Bragg was in the area and stopped the truck at the 17 mile marker of the highway.

A Key West Police K-9 team responded to the traffic stop as backup, along with agents from Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations and Border Patrol.

The driver of the truck was identified as 52 year old Tony Morejon; the passenger was identified as 27 year old Chad Wassman.

During the traffic stop, Wassman was found to have a small amount of marijuana in his pocket. The K-9, trained in drug detection, alerted to the presence of drugs in the truck. A search of the truck turned up three large vacuum seal bags filled with a total of 820 grams of marijuana; rolling papers and other drug paraphernalia were also found in the truck.

After questioning the two men, it was determined the marijuana in the truck belonged to Morejon. Morejon was arrested, charged with possessing a felony amount of marijuana and with possession of drug paraphernalia and he was booked into jail. Wassman was not charged.

January 16, 2017

Detectives investigating deaths of three men

Sheriff’s Office Major Crimes Detectives are investigating the circumstances surrounding the deaths of three men underground in a neighborhood of Key Largo.

The three men worked for Douglas N. Higgins, a construction company contracted to do the work by Monroe County. They were in an underground drainage pipe this morning when they collapsed.

A Key Largo firefighter who went down to rescue them also collapsed. He and two of the workers were brought up to the surface by firefighters and deputies on the scene. The two workers were confirmed dead at the scene; CPR was performed on the firefighter who was later airlifted to the Ryder Trauma Center, where he is still being treated. The third worker’s body was brought to the surface this afternoon.

The deceased workers are identified as 34 year old  Elway Gray of Fort Lauderdale, 49 year old  Louis O’Keefe of Little Torch Key and 24 year old Robert Wilson of Summerland Key.

Three Sheriff’s deputies who were exposed to fumes taken to Mariner’s hospital for treatment.

Five households at the end of Long Key Road were evacuated .They were allowed to return home just after 2 p.m. after tests showed it was safe for them to do so.

A Miami-Dade County Hazmat team responded to assist with the scene. They performed tests in the pipe where the workers collapsed. Their tests revealed there was both Methane gas and Hydrogen Sulphide gas coupled with low levels of oxygen in the pipe.

The Medical Examiner’s Office responded and transported the bodies to their offices where autopsies will be performed. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)  is responding to the scene for their own investigation into the circumstances of the workers deaths.

Men working underground in Key Largo dead for unknown reasons

Deputies and firefighters are on the scene of an fatal incident underground in a Key Largo neighborhood.

Three contract employees working underground on  Long Key Road in the vicinity of the 106 mile marker in Key Largo collapsed for unknown reasons this morning. Key Largo firefighters and deputies arrived after a 911 call to Sheriff’s dispatchers at 8:28 a.m.; a firefighter who went underground to help the trapped workers also collapsed and had to be rescued.

The firefighter and two of the three workers were pulled from the hole; the two workers were confirmed dead at the scene. The firefighter was rushed to Mariner’s Hospital and airlifted to Ryder Trauma Center in Miami. The third man who was working underground has still not been recovered and is presumed dead. Two deputies who were on scene were also affected and were taken to Mariner’s Hospital for evaluation.

Five homes in the area were evacuated. A specially trained HAZMAT team from Miami-Dade County was called to the scene to assist.

The workers were employees of Douglas N. Higgins, under contract with Monroe County to perform road repairs on the street.

Detectives from the Sheriff’s Major Crimes Unit will be investigating.

January 15, 2017

Boat and other marine related thefts

Update: The two boats reported stolen from the Marathon area on Friday have been recovered.

The Wellcraft stolen from Harbor Drive was recovered by Marine Deputy Wilfredo Guerra in a mangrove area near Burdines Restaurant in Marathon.

The Twin Vee stolen from North Angler’s Drive was located by Lt. Derek Paul and Captain Gene Thompson Sunday in mangroves behind Marathon High School in a mangrove area. Both boats will be returned to the owners. Detectives are still investigating in an effort to discover who may have stolen them.

Two boats and a large amount of fishing equipment were reported stolen over the past few days in the county.

In Marathon, the two boats were stolen sometime between the evening of the 12th and the morning of the 13th. One, a 1987 Wellcraft V20 with a 225 Hp two stroke Mercury engine on it, was taken from behind a house on Harbor Drive in Marathon. The owner said he was working on the boat and last saw it at 7 p.m. on Thursday. He woke the next morning at 7 a.m. and it was gone.

The second stolen boat was a 20 foot long Twin Vee Outrageous with a yellow Bimini top on it. It had two 60 Hp four stroke Mercury engines on it. It was taken from a condominium complex on Anglers Drive. The owner said he last saw it Thursday night when he was working on it. He said he woke at 7 a.m. to find it missing.

In both cases, the owners said they left the keys on the boats.

A large amount of fishing equipment was reported stolen from a boat kept on a trailer at a house on Lobster Lane in Key Largo. The owner said he last saw his equipment on the boat on January 10th. When he checked on it on Friday, it was gone. The stolen equipment included rods, reels and fishing tackle valued at over $2,000.

The Sheriff’s Office would once again like to remind everyone that it is currently our busy season in the Keys; this means we have many more visitors in our county, not all of them here to enjoy themselves. With the influx of people to the Keys, thieves also come here; they are looking out for people who are not mindful of their valuables and property.

It is impossible to prevent all crime from happening, however you can make sure you are making it as difficult as possible for someone to steal your property.

Make sure fishing equipment – and any other valuable property you might have - is secured somewhere safe and not left on board a boat or left unsecured on a dock or outside a building.

If you have a boat, never leave the keys on it; make sure it is parked or docked in a well-lighted area and that the lights are on at night when a theft is most likely to take place. If it is on a boat lift, turn off the electricity to the lift when you are not using the boat. If the boat is kept on a trailer, make sure there is a trailer lock on it so it cannot be easily towed away by thieves.

Most of the time, thieves are looking for an easy target. If your property is not easy to steal, they will move on to somewhere less difficult.

Anyone with information about these or any other crimes 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 or via a text message to 274637 using the keyword TIP136.

Grassy Key man arrested on felony warrants

A Grassy Key man fought with deputies and yelled for help from his mother before being arrested on outstanding felony warrants early today.

An anonymous caller reported just before 2 a.m. that a wanted felon – 23 year old Craig Vettinger – could be found at 58662 Overseas Highway on Grassy Key. Sergeant Nick Whiteman and Deputies Daniel Hill and Garrett Bragg were familiar with Vettinger. He is well known for fleeing from law enforcement and for fighting with deputies so they formed a plan to catch him with those things in mind.

Sgt. Whiteman and Deputy Hill went to the address where Vettinger was supposed to be and, when Vettinger fled from them, Deputy Bragg, who was hiding a short distance away, waited for him. When Vettinger approached Bragg’s location, the deputy stepped into his path.

Vettinger, startled, fell down. He was handcuffed and taken into custody. He refused orders to walk to a nearby patrol car; and he struggled and fought with the deputies as they carried him to the car. At one point, he began yelling for his mother, who was at the residence, but who did not interfere with the arrest.

Vettinger was charged with the two warrants, both of which were for violation of probation ref. battery and burglary. He was also charged with battery on a law enforcement officer, resisting arrest with violence and resisting arrest.

January 11, 2017

Couple arrested as part of an ongoing drug investigation

A Big Coppitt Key couple was arrested Tuesday as part of an ongoing drug investigation by the Sheriff’s Office Monroe County High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area task force (HIDTA – Monroe).

As a result of the ongoing investigation into drug sales, a search warrant was served at 39 1st Street on Big Coppitt Key at 8:30 a.m. Inside the home investigators found 37 year old Marisa Estopinan and 25 year old Steven Leto, who live there. A search of the home turned up cocaine, marijuana, drug paraphernalia and two handguns – a Glock 19 which was loaded with 15 rounds of ammunition and a Kahr CW380 that was not loaded.

A large amount of cash - $166,400 - was also located, hidden in a vacuum seal bag in a laundry basket.

Estopinan took responsibility for the cocaine, marijuana and drug paraphernalia found in a room where she was residing. She was charged with possessing those illegal substances and with being a felon in possession of a firearm. Leto was charged with possession of marijuana and paraphernalia. The cash was seized by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) as part of the ongoing criminal investigation.

Participating on the service of the search warrant were investigators from Customs and Border Protection’s Air and Marine Operations, Border Patrol, the DEA and the Sheriff’s Office.

Islamorada man charged with child cruelty

An Islamorada man was arrested early today, charged with child cruelty.

Deputies responded to a disturbance  just after 3 a.m. at a residence in Islamorada. When they arrived, they spoke with all the occupants of the home. During the course of these interviews, they spoke with a 10 year old boy who revealed he’d been struck in the back with a belt the day before by Aroldo Coronado Mendez. He said he’d been doing laundry and did not feel well. He said he fell down and that is when he was struck with the belt, repeatedly. When deputies looked at the boy’s back, they saw four distinct welts which were consistent with being struck by an object like a belt.

Other’s at the residence saw Mendez strike the boy with the belt and corroborated his story. Mendez was arrested. He was charged with child cruelty and he was taken to jail.

January 10, 2017

Couple charged with illegal dumping

A couple illegally camping on State Park property was arrested after they failed to clean up their campsite after being warned to do so.

On January 1st, Sgt. Joel Slough responded to Curry Hammock State Park in Marathon where he located a illegal campsite in a wooded area just north of Coco Plum Drive, on the State Park property. The campsite was occupied by two people, 22 year old Brooke Martin and 35 year old Keith Elswick. At the request of the park manager, he issued them a trespass warning for the property. He told them they had 48 hours to remove their property from the area. At the campsite, he observed  a significant amount of property and trash, including tarps, bags of personal items, various items of litter and a large number of cigarette butts.

On January 5th, Sgt. Slough returned to the area and found some personal items removed, but many of the items still there. Warrants were obtained for both of them and on Monday, Martin and Elswick were arrested. They were charged with illegal dumping and they were booked into jail.

January 9, 2017

Road rage results in arrest

A road rage incident early Saturday led to the arrest of a young Miami man for aggravated assault.

The victims called the Sheriff’s Office at 2:30 a.m. to report the occupants of another car had pointed a gun at them. They said they were southbound at the 56 mile marker of the highway when another car came up behind them flashing their lights. The vehicle passed them, then pulled over to the side of the road and got behind them again, flashing their lights some more. The victims pulled over to let the car pass; as the car passed, someone in the vehicle pointed what appeared to be a handgun out of the window. The victims described the car with the gun as an orange colored passenger car.

Deputy William Daniels pulled the suspect vehicle over at the 53 mile marker. He was backed up on the traffic stop by Deputies John Allen and Mario Benedetti. There were four people inside the vehicle; a male driver and male passenger and two 17 year old females in the back seat. A search of the car turned up two BB guns which closely resembled handguns. The driver and front passenger said the guns belonged to them.

The two men – identified as 20 year old Manuel Planas Santos and Adrian Dorta Rodriguez, both of Miami – said the other vehicle had been following them closely with high-beam headlights on. Rodriguez admitted to pointing the gun out the window. He said he did it to warn the other vehicle to turn their high-beams off.

Santos, who was the driver, had a suspended driver’s license. He was charged with driving with a suspended license and with being an accessory to aggravated assault. Rodriguez was charged with aggravated assault and with improper display of a firearm.

January 1, 2017

Fight between roommates leads to drug arrest

A dispute between two roommates Saturday afternoon led to the arrest of a Stock Island man for possession of marijuana.

Sgt. Ken Fricke and Deputies Lazaro Valdes and Freddy Rodriguez met with the victim at 1:20 p.m. He told them his roommate, Henry Fayette, had thrown him down during a dispute. The officers could see no injuries visible on the victim. As he was telling them what happened, the victim told them Fayette had marijuana at their house.

The deputies went to the home on 2nd Street, Stock Island to talk with Fayette. When Fayette answered the door, the officers could smell the odor of marijuana inside. They could see, in plain sight, a bowl containing marijuana. Fayette denied battering the victim.

Fayette gave the officers consent to search his home. He was cooperative with the search and showed them a backpack with 13 clear plastic bags containing more marijuana for a total of 238 grams of the illegal substance. He also had numerous items of drug paraphernalia.

Fayette was arrested. He was charged with possession of marijuana with intent to sell, possession of more than 20  grams of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. He was booked into jail.

Marathon man arrested for stolen handgun

A Marathon man is in jail after he was found to be in possession of a stolen handgun during a traffic stop.

Deputies Ian Douthirt and Garrett Bragg were on patrol at 11:30 p.m. Saturday when they saw a green Ford truck pull out of a convenience store parking lot at 55th Street in Marathon. They recognized the driver of the truck as 22 year old Dustin Pelletier. They knew Pelletier had a suspended driver’s license.

They turned on their emergency lights to stop the truck. As they were stopping it, they saw the driver lean over toward the back passenger side of the vehicle as if he were hiding something.

Inside the truck, behind the passenger seat they found a loaded handgun hidden beneath an orange raincoat. A check on the Taurus .357 Magnum revolver revealed it had been stolen in November from a vehicle belonging to a Marathon woman.

Pelletier was arrested. He was charged with grand theft of a firearm and with driving with his license suspended.