Monroe County Sheriff’s Office
Daily Crime and Information Report

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


April 26, 2001

Marijuana found on shrimp boat

Monroe County – Two men were arrested Wednesday after the Coast Guard discovered drugs on board the shrimp boat they were crewing.

The Coast Guard Group Key West called the Sheriff’s Office Wednesday afternoon after they stopped a shrimp boat leaving northwest channel just north of Key West. When they boarded the boat, they found a marijuana cigarette in plain view and a spoon with traces of methamphetamine on it.

They brought the vessel back to the Coast Guard base, where they were met by detectives from the Sheriff’s Special Investigations Division. The detectives questioned the three men on board, and searched the boat.

On board, they found several packages of marijuana totaling 114 grams in weight. Two of the three men were arrested. 50 year old Conrado Perez Reyna, and 46 year old Santiago Perez Reyna, both of Merritt Island, Florida were arrested and charged with possession of a felony amount of marijuana. The third man was released after it was discovered he had no knowledge of the drugs on board.

 

April 25, 2001

Escapee captured in Key Largo

Key Largo – The inmate who walked away from the work release program at the Monroe County Detention Center Saturday night was arrested by detectives in Key Largo Tuesday evening.

Detective Henry Hamilton received information that 33 year old Mitchell McCormick might be with a friend of his who was scheduled for surgery at Mariner’s Hospital in Tavernier. He called upper Keys Detective Dillon Corr and asked him to check out the information.

Detective Corr went to the hospital and found out McCormick had just left in a taxi cab. The cab company said they dropped him off at a Key Largo Hotel.

McCormick was arrested at the hotel and charged with escape. He was booked back into the Monroe County Detention Center on that charge.

 

April 23, 2001

Traffic stop leads to drug arrest

Marathon – A Marathon cab driver was arrested after he was found to be in possession of a large amount of cocaine Friday in the early morning hours.

Deputy Todd Blyth was on patrol at 1:30 a.m. when he saw a taxi cab owned by All Keys Transport, Inc. run two stop signs. He pulled the vehicle over and when he looked inside, he saw two men, with two open containers of alcohol.

Upon questioning the passenger, 36 year old Edward James Brown, Jr., he admitted to possessing drug paraphernalia. He turned over a drug smoking pipe, saying he found it in the back of the cab. Deputy Blyth then asked the driver, 52 year old Dennis Rush, for permission to search the cab. Rush agreed to allow a search, which turned up 13 gram-sized bags of powdered cocaine and 4.5 grams of marijuana.

Rush was placed under arrest for possession of cocaine with intent to distribute and possession of marijuana. A search of his pockets turned up a switchblade knife and a “Chinese style throwing star”. Rush was further charged with carrying a concealed weapon. Both men were booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

Burglary with battery on the occupant

Big Pine Key – A Big Pine Key man told deputies that six men forced their way into his home Sunday and beat up a person visiting him.

Just after 1 a.m., six men forced their way into a home on Freedom Lane on Big Pine Key. They allegedly began beating up a man inside, 20 year old Jason Beach, who was visiting 19 year old Lance Waldrop. Waldrop ran outside and got an axe handle. He returned inside and hit one of the attackers in the face. The six suspects then turned on him. He fled the residence on foot running to a nearby convenience store where he asked someone to call the Sheriff’s Office.

When officers arrived on Freedom Lane, they saw two cars pulling away from the residence. They stopped one, the other fled, backing down the road away from the patrol car.

There were two men inside the car they stopped. 17 year old Anthony Blay was driving, and 21 year old Mitchell Cameron was the passenger. Cameron was bleeding profusely from an injury to the nose area of his face.

Evidence and witness statements corroborated Waldrop’s story. Blay was arrested and charged with burglary to an occupied dwelling with battery on the occupant. Cameron is currently being treated for his injuries at Fisherman’s Hospital and will be charged when he is released.

Two more men involved in the incident, 21 year old Demetrius Randley and 22 year old Demont Johnson, both of Summerland Key, were located a couple of hours later on John Street on Summerland Key. They were arrested on the same charges. All three were booked into the Monroe County Detention Center. More arrests are expected.

Inmate dead in his cell

Monroe County – An inmate incarcerated at the Monroe County Detention Center on Stock Island died in his cell Sunday morning. The death appears to be a natural one.

An autopsy is scheduled to determine the cause of 64 year old Ramon Fernandez’s death. He was in jail on charges of possession of a controlled substance and being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm. He was arrested on those charges in June of last year.

In December, Fernandez underwent cardiac surgery in Miami, and he had a history of medical problems. He was found lying on the floor of his cell at 6:45 a.m. by a Detention Deputy. He was alone in his cell at the time of his death.

An inmate on work release failed to return to jail

Monroe County – An inmate participating in the work release program at the Monroe County Detention Center on Stock Island failed to return from his work detail Saturday night.

33 year old Mitchell McCormick, in jail for dealing in stolen property, theft and violation of probation, was supposed to return from work a local theater at 8:30 p.m. Video cameras posted around the detention center show that he was dropped off at the detention center on time, but walked away minutes later without entering the facility.

A notice to be on the lookout for McCormick has been issued. He will be charged with escape when he is found.

McCormick is a white male, five feet ten inches tall, 180 pounds with blonde hair and blue eyes. He is a Key West resident who gave an address on Whitehead Street when he was arrested in October by Key West Police.

 

April 17, 2001

Big Pine man arrested for forging checks

Big Pine Key – A Little Torch Key man was arrested Monday for forging 27 checks on an elderly woman’s bank account.

Detective John McGee, assisted by Deputies David Chavka and Martha Hillman, arrested 45 year old Guy Ranno at 2:00 p.m. on the houseboat he has been living on. Ranno was hired by a Little Torch Key woman two months ago to assist with running errands, paying bills and doing other personal business for her. She allowed him to stay on her houseboat, located near her residence on Little Torch. Over the past two months, he allegedly wrote 27 unauthorized checks on her personal account for a total of $4,600.00. She noticed the checks when she got her bank statement, and called her bank to express her concern. The manager of the bank contacted the Sheriff’s Office to report the theft of the woman’s funds.

Detective John McGee discovered that Ranno had written the checks to various businesses around the Big Pine Key area. Ranno was charged with grand theft, forgery, 27 counts of uttering a forged instrument and exploitation of the elderly. He was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

 

April 16, 2001

Four teens charged with burglary, theft

Ocean Reef – Four teens were arrested Sunday after they broke into the garage of a house and stole a golf cart.

A neighbor reported seeing the four boys drive away from the house on Caloosa Road in the Ocean Reef Club just before 2 p.m. Sunday. He said they were driving his neighbor’s golf cart, and he didn’t believe they had permission to do so.  A notice to be on the lookout for the golf cart was put out over police and public safety radios.

The golf cart was spotted a short distance away by Deputy Mike Sharp, who passed it going the opposite direction. He radioed to Sgt. Pete Johnston, who intercepted the cart, with four teenaged boys inside.

Sgt. Johnston spoke with the boys, who agreed to drive the cart back to Caloosa Street. The sergeant followed them, but on the way back, two of the boys jumped out of the cart and fled on foot. Both were found a short time later.

Further investigation revealed the boys had cut a hole in a screen door on the garage, opened the garage door and driven the golf cart out. In the process, they struck a support column on the house, and damaged a boat on a trailer inside the garage.

16 year old Taft Sibley of Miami, 15 year old Jeremy Dale of Miami, 16 year old George Khoury of Coral Gables and 16 year old Cameron Cervera of Coconut Grove were all arrested and charged with burglary and theft. They were booked at the Monroe County Detention Center.

Two men charged with burglary to autos

Stock Island – Two Stock Island men were arrested Saturday morning and charged with burglarizing two automobiles.

The owner of one of the cars walked out of an apartment on Stock Island at 5:45 a.m. and saw the two men in the process of burglarizing his car in the parking lot. When the suspects saw him, they fled in a red Chevrolet Caprice. He called the Sheriff’s Office with a description of the men and the car they were driving.

Deputies Cynthia Garcia and Jorge Morffi found the car a short distance away. The men described by the victim were standing beside the car. The victim was brought to the scene and identified 18 year old Alex Olive and 24 year old Guillermo Vallejo as the men he saw breaking into his car. While the victim was at the scene, Olive made a number of threatening comments to the victim, saying he’d get back at him when he was released from jail.

The red Caprice was searched and two car stereos were found under the front seat of the car. One of them was traced to an automobile burglary committed on Caloosa Street on Sugarloaf Key just a short time before.

Both men were arrested. They were charged with two counts of burglary and grand theft. They were also charged with criminal mischief after damage was discovered to the vehicle on Stock Island. Olive was further charged with tampering with a witness for threatening the car’s owner and Vallejo was charged with possession of burglary tools after a screwdriver was found in one of his pockets.

 

April 12, 2001

Guns, ammunition recovered from Islamorada man

Islamorada – An Islamorada man, arrested in March of 1996 after he took a taxi driver hostage and held a gun to her head in the lobby of Mariner’s Hospital, was arrested again Wednesday after he turned a number of weapons over to Sheriff’s detectives.

55 year old Robert Walker Jenks was placed under arrest Wednesday on charges of violation of probation. He was on probation for the 1996 incident, and the terms of his probation prohibited him from possessing a weapon or firearm without first obtaining permission from his probation officer.

On Tuesday, he voluntarily turned the weapons over to his probation officer, John R. Brown, and to Sheriff’s detectives who took them into custody. The weapons included a .50 Caliber fully automatic machine gun, buried outside the front of his residence at 80860 Overseas Highway in Islamorada. He said he purchased the gun in the 1960s for an unspecified amount of money. He said he used to take it out on his boat to shoot it. A large amount of ammunition for the gun was also recovered.

Detectives also recovered two semi-automatic pistols, a 9mm Browning and a .380 Colt. Jenks had parts from an M1 .30 caliber rifle, and large amounts of various ammunition hidden around his house. Some of the weapons and ammunition were recovered from hidden compartments in a hallway and a closet of the house.

Jenks original sentence for weapons offenses was 22 months of community control followed by 10 years probation.

Jenks was originally arrested March 27th, 1996. He was on the way to the hospital with his father when their car broke down. A taxi was called to pick them up. When they arrived at the hospital in the taxi, Jenks pulled out a handgun and pointed it at the driver. He accused her of being Marilyn Vos Savant, an advice columnist with Parade magazine, famous for having an exceptionally high I.Q.

He told the driver he was going to kill her. He, the driver and his father then went into the hospital lobby. After a short scuffle, Jenks and the driver wound up in a hallway off the lobby, where he held her on the ground at gunpoint. Hostage Negotiator Sgt. Tom Brazil responded and was able to talk Jenks into surrendering the gun without further incident.

He was kept at the hospital for evaluation of his psychiatric condition. Detective Tom Kiffney, who is now a sergeant with the Sheriff’s Office, was assigned to guard him. Somehow, Jenks managed to get one hand out of the handcuffs. He bolted for the door, but was tackled by Kiffney. During the struggle, he grabbed Kiffney’s gun from the holster and held it to the officer’s side. Kiffney was able to keep him from pulling the trigger by putting his finger inside the trigger guard.

He was eventually charged with kidnapping, attempted escape, carrying a concealed firearm, attempting to murder a law enforcement officer, unlawful taking of an officer’s firearm, battery on a law enforcement officer and aggravated assault.

A search of his home at the time turned up a large cache of weapons, ammunition, and material used in the manufacture of explosive devices.

Floating body, found in March, identified as Key West man

Monroe County – The body of a man found floating off shore of Bahia Honda March 11th has been identified as a missing Stock Island man.

The body has been identified as 41 year old David Jacobs. He was reported missing by his son, Justin Jacobs, March 26th. He was last seen March 5th, and his dinghy was reportedly found March 8th capsized at Pelican Shoal.

Jacobs was positively identified using comparisons of tattoos and fingerprints. The cause of his death is still under investigation by detectives with the Sheriff’s Special Investigations Unit.

 

April 11, 2001

Fight leads to stabbing and arrest

Stock Island – A Key West man was arrested early today (Wednesday) for stabbing another man in the stomach during a fight.

Deputies Jorge Morffi and Cynthia Garcia responded  to reports of a stabbing at a trailer in the Overseas Trailer Park on Stock Island. When they arrived, they found the victim bleeding from a small wound on the left side of his stomach. The victim told deputies he went to a residence on Maloney Avenue to break up with his girlfriend. He said she and three men chased him to his car. He tried to get in to drive away, but he said they pulled him out of it and hit and kicked him several times. During the course of that fight, he said one of the men stabbed him in the stomach with a small knife. Further investigation revealed that the person who stabbed the victim was 25 year old Jesus Cisneros of Key West.

The victim was transported to Florida Keys Health Systems East Hospital for treatment. Cisneros was arrested and charged with aggravated battery. He was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center. Detective Henry Hamilton has been assigned to investigate, and more arrests may be pending in the case.

 

April 9, 2001

Boat motor/lower unit thefts on the rise

Monroe County - Boat owners listen up: the Sheriff’s Office would like to remind everyone to keep an eye on their boats to prevent thefts.

Monroe County is a marine community and theft of boats, engines, boat parts and boating equipment is always a problem. Detectives would like to remind all boat owners, as well as the owners of boating related businesses, to make sure their property is as secure from theft as possible.

If you have a boat at your residence, make sure the area it is kept in is well lighted at night. Bright lights at night will keep most boat thieves away. They would prefer to prey upon a boat or equipment that is less visible to the owner and the owner’s neighbors. If your boat is on a trailer, park it in an area where it would be difficult for someone to get to the boat motor, and, if possible chain the motor and/or the boat trailer to a solid object to make them more difficult to steal.

Never leave expensive electronic equipment, fishing or diving gear on board your boat. Remove the equipment and store it in the house, or in a locked room or storage shed.

In the past month in Monroe County, five boats have been reported stolen, along with six boat engines, three personal watercraft; five people have reported engine parts stolen, and a number of other people have reported fishing, diving or boat electronics taken.

If you have any information about boating related thefts, please contact your local Sheriff’s substation immediately or call Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. Callers to the Crime Stoppers hot line may remain anonymous and will be eligible for a monetary reward if their information leads to an arrest. The Crime Stoppers hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS.

Men arrested for Marijuana Possession

Key Largo – Four teens were arrested Saturday night after a large amount of marijuana was found in their car by Sheriff’s deputies.

Deputy Bradley Sriro and Sgt. Tom Kiffney spotted a 1983 Cadillac sitting in the parking lot of Waldorf Plaza in Key Largo just after 10 p.m. Four men were in the car. When the officers approached the car, they could smell a strong odor of marijuana coming from inside. When Deputy Sriro shined his flashlight inside, he could see a number of plastic bags filled with a green leafy substance in plain view in a pocket on the back of the driver’s seat.

Further investigation turned up more marijuana in a white plastic grocery bag on the back seat. A total of 163 grams of marijuana were found inside the car. All four men were placed under arrest. 17 year old Matthew Panches if Key Largo, the driver of the car, admitted he knew the marijuana was in the car. He was charged with possession with intent to distribute marijuana; 17 year old Steve Varnadoe of Tavernier told the officers the marijuana was his. He said he found a bail of marijuana and the marijuana in the car was the last of it. He was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute. 16 year old Chad Boals, who was sitting in the back seat with the marijuana directly in front of him, was arrested and charged with possession of more than 20 grams of marijuana and 18 year old Daniel Villeneuve of Key Largo was charged with possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana.

All four men were booked at the Monroe County Detention Center.

Two young girls charged with grand theft auto

Marathon – Two young girls were arrested in Marathon in the early morning hours today (Monday) and charged with grand theft auto.

Deputy Greg Korzen was on patrol just after 2 a.m. when he spotted a red Ford Fiesta traveling southbound, exceeding the speed limit. The car matched the description of a vehicle reported to be driving recklessly, so he followed it, calling in the tag number to Sheriff’s dispatchers. Dispatchers discovered the car was reported stolen from Green Acres, Florida April 8th. Deputy Korzen pulled it over near 33rd Street and U.S. One. Both girls inside the car admitted they knew the car to be stolen. They said they were heading to Key West. Neither of the girls had a driver’s license.

14 year old Amanda Thomas and 13 year old Jennifer Guevara were both arrested and charged with grand theft auto. Guevara was also charged with driving without a license. Both girls were booked at the Marathon Detention Center.

Robbery Case finally resolved with plea bargain

Marathon – According to Sheriff’s Detective Bob Voss, a 1996 robbery case was recently closed with a plea bargain. The main suspect, already sentenced to state prison for an unrelated attempted murder, will serve 34 additional months in prison for aggravated battery.

On March 29th, 1996 a man, three women and two children were observed committing retail theft while attempting to distract the clerks at the Marathon Shellman. The manager of the store recognized the group from a description given to her by their Key Largo Shellman store and she attempted to detain the man who appeared to be their leader, Leonardo Olmos, who is now 35 years old. Olmos is from Miami and is known by many names, including Julian Juaquin Medina, Lazaro Olmo, Leonardo Calderin, Aldo Fundora and Lazaro Rodriguez.

Olmos struggled with the manager, yelling to the rest of the group to flee from the store. They jumped into a van, and Olmos made it outside the store to the parking lot where his struggle with the manager continued. She attempted to block the only exit from the parking lot, but after Olmo jumped into the van the van fled the area, forcing the manager to jump out of the way. Her leg was hit by the van’s door as it passed her.

A notice to be on the lookout was issued over police radios. The van was spotted northbound on the Long Key Bridge. The van swerved off the road into a trap yard. The occupants of the van scattered. Two other adults were arrested for their part in the crime. Olmos was found hiding  nearby, fled from officers into the water and was finally arrested. He gave four false names, but finally gave his real name, saying he knew he had an outstanding warrant.

Detective Bob Voss, who was assigned to the case, initially charged Olmos with grand theft, battery and resisting arrest. After consulting with the State Attorney’s Office, the charge was changed to robbery due to the force used during commission of the crime. The van was searched, and a large amount of property was found inside from various retail stores from Key Largo to Cutler Ridge in Miami.

Olmos posted bond March 31st, 1996 and was released. At a later date, in a separate case in another county, he committed and was convicted of attempted murder. After that conviction, he was returned to Monroe County where he plea bargained for a reduced charge of aggravated battery on the store manager. He received an additional 34 months in prison on top of the time he will be serving for attempted murder.

 

April 6, 2001

Big Pine Key man charged with sexual battery

Big Pine Key – A Big Pine Key man was charged with sexual battery after he fondled a woman staying at his home early today.

The victim told Deputy Maretta McNichol that 47 year old Warren Keperling invited she and her boyfriend to stay at his trailer at the Seahorse Campground on Big Pine Key. She said she and her boyfriend were sleeping in a bed in the trailer in the early morning hours when Keperling came into the room, walked to her side of the bed and put his hand under the covers, fondling her genital area.

Keperling was placed under arrest, charged with sexual battery and was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

April 2, 2001

Two arrested on Stock Island after search of residence

Stock Island – Sheriff’s detectives from the Special Investigations Division arrested two men after a large amount of cocaine was found during a search of a Stock Island residence on Friday afternoon.

During surveillance of the residence prior to the search warrant being served, a detective saw 42 year old Pedro Miguel Lopez put a paper bag inside a storage shed behind a trailer  located at 6621 Maloney Avenue, Lot #19, Coconut Grove Trailer Park on Stock Island. A short time later, detectives served a search warrant at the home. Lopez was present, and had possession of keys that opened the storage shed. Inside the paper bag, detectives found 178 grams of cocaine which Lopez said he was keeping there until he could sell it.

Lopez was arrested and charged with trafficking in cocaine.

Inside the trailer itself, the search turned up 21 grams of powdered cocaine, marijuana and a box of illegal Cuban cigars. 22 year old Valery Rodriguez, another resident of the trailer, was arrested. He was charged with possession of cocaine and marijuana and drug paraphernalia and more charges may be pending.

Two arrested in Key Largo after search warrant

Key Largo – Two Key Largo men were arrested Friday by detectives from the Sheriff’s Special Investigations Division after a search warrant turned up drugs in their home.

The search warrant was served by the Sheriff’s Special Weapons and Tactics Team. The search was conducted Friday at 6 a.m. at #85 Avenue C, Key Largo Trailer Village. Inside the residence, detectives found 220 grams of marijuana hidden inside a pillow in a room belonging to 19 year old Adam Baptist. They also found drug paraphernalia, and, under his bed, they found a loaded handgun with a serial number someone had tried to eradicate. Adam Baptist was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, possession of a firearm with an altered serial number and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Inside a room belonging to Everest Baptist, detectives found a marijuana plant growing in a pot, and a small amount of dried marijuana, as well as drug paraphernalia. They also found a gun in a drawer beside his bed. Everest Baptist was charged with possession of marijuana, cultivation of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

$1,500 in cash was seized from the home for possible forfeiture