Monroe County Sheriff’s Office
Daily Crime and Information Report

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


Dec. 30, 2003

Deputy involved in traffic wreck

A Sheriff’s Deputy escaped injury this morning when her patrol car skidded into the mangroves near the 13 mile-marker on U.S. One this morning.  Deputy Maretta McNichol was apparently passing another vehicle when her patrol car went out of control and crashed.  McNichol called in the crash herself. She was not hurt, but was taken to the Lower Keys Medical Center as a precaution. Her patrol vehicle sustained damage estimated at twenty-five hundred dollars. The Florida Highway Patrol is investigating the accident.

Busy Day on the Highway

The influx of winter visitors to the Keys caused bumper-to-bumper traffic and numerous accidents on U.S. Highway One Monday.  Sheriff’s Deputies responded to 13 traffic accidents, including a hit and run incident with an arrest.  Deputies also responded to five reports of burglaries of vehicles parked along the highway.  The Sheriff’s Office urges visitors to lock their vehicles and place valuables in the trunk and not in plain sight.  Deputies also responded to several complaints about recreational vehicles camping overnight in parking lots and county parks.  Sheriff’s traffic deputies were also busy Monday.  Deputy Andrew Ensminger Monday stopped a Big Coppitt Key man for speeding through Marathon. The driver, 34-year old William A. Robinson, was wanted for failing to appear in court for a misdemeanor drug offense.  A search of his car also turned up a small amount of marijuana and prescription pills.  Robinson was taken to jail for possession of the marijuana and for possession of the prescription drug without a prescription.

 

Plane skids off runway

Sheriff’s deputies responded to the Marathon airport Monday morning after an airplane skidded off the runway while landing.  The plane’s nose landing gear reportedly collapsed during the landing.  There were no injuries reported. The airport was closed briefly. The Florida Highway Patrol is investigating the accident.

 

Fire damages Summerland Key home

Fire damaged a residence at the Summerland Palms Trailer Park Monday.  Deputies responded to a call about smoke coming from a residence shortly after one p.m.  Fire department units arrived and reportedly had the blaze under control at about 1:30 p.m.  The residents were not injured.  The Red Cross is providing assistance to the residents.

 

Traffic Enforcement Targets

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Traffic Enforcement Unit reviews accident statistics and targets those areas that show a substantially high rate of traffic crashes.  We actively solicit your complaints, input, and ideas on problem areas that present a safety threat to motorists, cyclists or pedestrians.  Your concerns are very important to us and will be investigated.

 

The following are Selective Traffic Enforcement Targeted areas scheduled for intense enforcement.  Keep in mind that Traffic Enforcement Deputies will be in these areas using Laser, Radar and Video Cameras at least once for a substantial period of time and will be showing Zero Tolerance to violators.

 

“Violation of the Month is “Following too closely”:  Florida law states that motor vehicle operators shall not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard for speed and conditions present.  In addition, outside of business and residential areas, you must provide sufficient following distance that another vehicle can enter and occupy that space without danger.  Not providing sufficient space, or accelerating to prevent a vehicle from entering the space, is a moving violation.  The only exception to this statute is for Funeral Processions.

 

TARGETS FOR THE PERIOD OF JAN 08 to JAN 21

 

LOCATION                                                                                       PROBLEM

 

LOWER KEYS

 

US1, Stock Island                                                      Red light/intersection violations

US1, Cudjoe Key 20 MM – 23 MM                                    Improper passing

Watson Blvd, Big Pine Key                                       Speeding

 

MIDDLE KEYS

 

Marathon, 47MM-49MM                                        Speeding

Marathon, Aviation Blvd                                           Speed

US1, Long Key                                                          Speeding/improper passing

 

UPPER KEYS

 

Old highway 87 MM – 91 MM                                 Speeding

US1 93 MM – 97 MM Key Largo                           Speeding

US1 18 mile stretch                                                   Speeding/Passing

 

 

***Be advised that School Zone Fines are DOUBLED***

 

Please contact Sergeant Glenn Test, Supervisor of the Traffic Enforcement Unit at 289-2410 if you have any traffic concerns or wish to report any areas that require additional Traffic Enforcement attention.  If you have a traffic concern in the City of Key West please contact Sgt. Scott Smith at the Key West Police Department at

809-1000.  Remember, speed kills!  Slow down and drive safely, don’t you become a highway statistic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 December 19, 2003

Safety Checks on Stock Island

Monroe County Sheriff’s Deputies will be conducting driver safety checkpoints at two locations on Stock Island.  The first will be Saturday, December 27 at Cross Street and Fifth Avenue from eight p.m. until midnight and at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and Fifth Street also from eight p.m. until midnight.  The second safety check will be on Friday, January 2 at the intersection of Fifth Street and Shrimp Road and at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and Fourth Avenue.  The checkpoints on January 2 will also be from eight p.m. until midnight.  Sheriff’s deputies will be stopping vehicles at these locations in order to check drivers’ licenses and to make quick safety inspections of the vehicles.

Florida City Drug Dealer Arrested

Members of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Special Operations Unit arrested a Florida City man during a drug sting in Key Largo Thursday afternoon.  Narcotics investigators received information that the suspect, identified as 23-year old Alton Griggs of Florida City, was dealing drugs in the Upper Keys.  Arrangements were made with Griggs to buy three hundred dollars worth of crack cocaine at a Key Largo convenience store parking lot at approximately 2:30 p.m. Thursday.  Griggs showed up and was arrested after making the drug deal.  A search of his vehicle turned up three large pieces of crack cocaine. Detectives seized the suspect’s Mercy automobile for possible forfeiture.  Griggs was taken into custody and booked into the Plantation Key jail on charges of possession of cocaine with intent to sell 

 

Traffic Enforcement Schedule

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Traffic Enforcement Unit reviews accident statistics and targets those areas that show a substantially high rate of traffic crashes.  We actively solicit your complaints, input, and ideas on problem areas that present a safety threat to motorists, cyclists or pedestrians.  Your concerns are very important to us and will be investigated.

The following are Selective Traffic Enforcement Targeted areas scheduled for intense enforcement.  Keep in mind that Traffic Enforcement Deputies will be in these areas using Laser, Radar and Video Cameras at least once for a substantial period of time and will be showing Zero Tolerance to violators.

“Violation of the Month is “Following too closely”:  Florida law states that motor vehicle operators shall not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard for speed and conditions present.  In addition, outside of business and residential areas, you must provide sufficient following distance that another vehicle can enter and occupy that space without danger.  Not providing sufficient space, or accelerating to prevent a vehicle from entering the space, is a moving violation.  The only exception to this statute is for Funeral Processions.

TARGETS FOR THE PERIOD OF DEC 25 to JAN 07

LOCATION                                                                                                                          PROBLEM

LOWER KEYS

Boca Chica, US1                                                        Speed, move over act

Upper Sugarloaf Key, Crane Blvd.                           Speeding, “Go-Ped” violations

Little Torch Key, Pirates Rd.                                    Speeding

 

MIDDLE KEYS

Marathon, 47MM-49MM                                        Speeding

Marathon, Sombrero Bch. School zone                    Speed

Duck Key                                                                   Speeding

 

UPPER KEYS

Islamorada, 80 MM – 83 MM                                 Speeding, Passing, Move Over Act

Key largo, Julep Dr., 92.5 MM                                Intersection violations

Key Largo, Card Sound Rd.                          Speeding/Passing

 

 

***Be advised that School Zone Fines are DOUBLED***

Please contact Sergeant Glenn Test, Supervisor of the Traffic Enforcement Unit at 289-2410 if you have any traffic concerns or wish to report any areas that require additional Traffic Enforcement attention.  If you have a traffic concern in the City of Key West please contact Sgt. Scott Smith at the Key West Police Department at

809-1000.  Remember, speed kills!  Slow down and drive safely, don’t you become a highway statistic.

 

Dec. 17, 2003

Undercover officers arrest drug suspect

 

A Stock Island woman was arrested last night after selling cocaine to undercover narcotics officers.  The woman, identified as 39-year old Jackie Lynn Redmon, approached the officers as they drove down Fifth Avenue on Stock Island.  Redmon told the officers that she knew one of them, but then stated that she was mistaken.  The officers asked if she had anything and Redmon replied by asking them what they wanted.  The officer said he was looking for a “forty,” which means forty dollars worth of cocaine.  Redmon told the officer she didn’t have it, but could get the drugs. Arrangements were made to meet Redmon at a nearby convenience store where the undercover officer purchased forty dollars worth of crack cocaine using marked bills.

After completing the sale, Redmon was placed under arrest for sale of cocaine.  The suspected crack rocks tested positive for cocaine.  Redmon was taken to the detention center on Stock Island where she was booked on the drug charges.

 

Dec. 10. 2003

Search warrant

 

Acting on complaints and Crime Stopper tips, Sheriff narcotics investigators served a search warrant at 6453 6th Street on Stock Island Tuesday night.  Members of the Special Investigations Unit arrested 37-year old Lourdes Maria Nodal on charges of possession of cocaine with intent to sell and possession of marijuana.  A search of Nodal’s residence turned up 12 crack cocaine rocks in a glass case, two small plastic bags filled with marijuana, and narcotics paraphernalia, including suspected crack cocaine pipes.  Officers also seized two hundred and forty dollars in cash.

The investigation included several undercover drug buys at Nodal’s residence. After completing the search warrant, officers booked Nodal into the county detention center on Stock Island.


December 9, 2003

Two men charged with burglary

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Islamorada – Deputies responding to a burglary in progress arrested the two men who were committing the crime.

Deputies David Minor and Sheila Seago responded to a house on Giardino Drive in Islamorada just before midnight to reports that someone was taking things from the yard of a house there. The victim in the case saw them taking a number of items from his boat, docked at the house and he called the Sheriff’s Office to report the crime in progress.

When the deputies arrived, they began searching the immediate area. The two suspects were found hiding in a car parked in the driveway of a neighboring house. Also in the car were a number of the items they had taken from the boat.

21 year old Carlos Chong of Tavernier and 23 year old Luis Torres of Hialeah, Florida were both arrested. They were charged with burglary and grand theft and they were booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

Man dies following dive off of Marathon

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Marathon – An Austin, Texas man died after diving with his nephew off of Marathon Monday afternoon.

58 year old Robert Johnson was visiting Marathon with his nephew and his nephew’s wife when they decided to go diving on board the “Vitamin-C”, a commercial dive vessel out of the Abyss Dive Center in Marathon.

The boat took them to a dive location off of Marathon called “Critter Ridge”. They arrived at about 1:20 p.m. and began their dive in about 30 feet of water. Just after 2 p.m., they surfaced from their dive and began returning to the boat. According to the captain of the vessel, Johnson grabbed a safety line extending from the back of the boat and was pulled in. As he reached the boat, the Captain said Johnson “appeared to be lifeless”. The captain pulled him on board the boat and began performing Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation. He directed others on the boat to call the U.S. Coast Guard for help.

Johnson was brought to shore on board a U.S. Customs vessel that happened to be in the area. An ambulance picked him up and transported him to Fishermen’s Hospital where he was pronounced dead. An autopsy will be performed to determine the cause of his death.

December 4, 2003

Two men cut with a knife during fight at upper Keys resort

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Key Largo – A fight at an upper Keys resort Wednesday night left two men with apparent knife wounds. Detectives are still trying to sort out what happened.

Deputies were called to Gilbert’s resort at 10:15 p.m. to reports of a man being stabbed. When they arrived, they found two men with injuries. One, Maykel Gonzalez, had a cut on his arm; the other man, Raciel Cruz, was apparently stabbed in the side. He was taken to Mariner’s Hospital, then airlifted to Miami for treatment of his injuries, which were reportedly not life threatening.

Witnesses and victims were interviewed. They all said a fight broke out on the dance floor of the resort. It was unclear from the interviews exactly who started the fight, or who had weapons. Some of those involved left the scene before deputies arrived. They were found later, a short distance away and were also interviewed about the fight.

Detective Mike Wilkinson is investigating.

December 3, 2003

Marathon man charged with possessing large amount of Marijuana

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Marathon – Sheriff’s deputies stopped a Marathon man for having window tinting on his car that was too dark. They ended up arresting him for possessing almost a thousand grams of marijuana.

Deputy Chuck Kellenberger stopped the Chevy pickup truck on Grouper Drive at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday. When he approached the driver’s side of the truck, he smelled a strong odor of marijuana. The driver, 30 year old Lonnie Hutcheson, admitted to the deputy that he’d just smoked a marijuana cigarette.

A Border Patrol K-9 team was called to the scene and did an outside search of the truck, alerting on several areas. A subsequent search turned up several partially smoked marijuana cigarettes. A search of Hutcheson turned up a plastic bag of marijuana stuck in the front of his pants. The marijuana turned out to weigh 113 grams.

Hutcheson was placed under arrest. He consented to a search of his house at 7601 Overseas Highway in Marathon, admitting he had more of the illegal substance there. The search turned up over 850 grams of marijuana in a number of different areas of the residence, including a brick of compressed marijuana weighing 476 grams. A loaded firearm was also found at the home, along with a scale like those used for weighing marijuana, and $595.00 in cash.

Hutcheson was charged with possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia and he was taken to jail. His truck and the cash were seized for possible forfeiture.

December 1, 2003

Florida City man charged with drug possession

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Grassy Key – A Florida City man was arrested on drug charges after a deputy saw the car he was in passing in a no passing zone Sunday in the early morning hours.

Deputy Joel Slough was northbound near the 60 mile marker at 4 a.m. when he saw a car pass another car in a no passing zone. He attempted a traffic stop on the car, but it didn’t immediately stop. Instead, the deputy saw the passenger in the front of the car throw something out the window.

The car finally did stop. A check on all three of the vehicle’s occupants showed the driver to have a valid license. The back seat passenger, an 18 year old woman from Miami, was wanted on a juvenile pickup order issued prior to her becoming an adult. The front seat passenger, who initially identified himself as “Edward Stevens” said he had no identification with him.

Several deputies arrived on the scene as back up. A search was done and the small item which was thrown from the vehicle was recovered. Inside the package was crack cocaine. Upon questioning, the passenger finally admitted his real name was Peter Steibel, 18, of Florida City. Steibel was also found to have an outstanding juvenile pickup order issued prior to him becoming an adult. He admitted to knowing the package he threw contained crack cocaine.

The driver, Julius Simpson of Naranja, Florida, received a citation for improper passing and he was released, along with his car. The female passenger was taken into custody on the juvenile pickup order. Steibel was arrested, charged with possession of cocaine, tampering with evidence and with giving a false name to a Law Enforcement Officer and he was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

Man arrested for burglary after city police investigate reckless driver

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Key West – City police, investigating reports of a reckless driver Sunday just after midnight, discovered a man who’d just broken into a Stock Island business and stolen a car.

A Key West Police Officer responding to reports of a reckless driver near the 1200 block of First Street Sunday morning, found the car fitting the caller’s description parked in back of George Allen Apartments. He saw a man, later identified as 35 year old William Ray of Stock Island, knocking on an apartment door and questioned him about the car. The man claimed he’d just seen someone running down the street, but couldn’t describe the person.

Inside the car, a gold colored Ford Taurus, the officer noticed a large amount of electronic equipment. The equipment was in boxes, with packing slips attached. The officer contacted the person whose name was on the packing slip. The person owned a business on Stock Island, called Sable Productions and he agreed to drive to the business to check for a possible burglary there. He found the business had been broken into. At that point, the Sheriff’s Office was notified and began an investigation of the business burglary. Missing items included almost $3,000.00 worth of computer equipment and other electronics equipment. The stolen items matched those found in the car.

A search of Ray’s pockets turned up a hinge pin for a door. The hinge pin was later identified as one missing from a door at the burglarized business. The gold Ford Taurus turned out to be stolen from a business located next door to Sable Productions.

Ray was charged with burglary and two counts of grand theft and he was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

Three teens charged with burglarizing Summerland Key home

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Summerland Key – Three Summerland Key teens have been arrested on outstanding warrants for burglary. They are accused of breaking in to a Summerland Key residence and stealing several bottles of liquor along with $2,000 worth of cigars.

The victim discovered the theft of liquor and cigars on November 4th. The items were taken from an enclosed screened porch area under his home on Bay Drive. Deputy Gerald Fisher investigated the initial reports of the burglary, which was assigned to Detective Manuel Cuervo for further investigation.

During the course of the investigation, witnesses came forward and identified three possible suspects. According to the witnesses, they heard the three teens talking about talking the liquor and cigars from the Bay Drive home. The boys then allegedly took the items to a vacant residence on Caribbean Drive, Summerland Key, where they consumed the liquor.

The three boys were taken into custody today (Monday) on the outstanding warrants. 16 year old Carlin Springer, 14 year old Dan Springer and 14 year old Casey Cardinal were all charged with burglary and grand theft and they were booked at the Monroe County Detention Center.