Monroe County Sheriff’s Office
Daily Crime and Information Report

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

Click on the highlighted headlines to hear an audio recording of the story

 

July 31, 2006

Palatka man's body recovered

Big Pine Key - The body of a Palatka man, missing since Thursday, was recovered today washed ashore on Big Pine Key.

Ronald Maloy's body was found today by officers from Florida's Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, washed up on a beach offshore of Big Pine Key on an island called Cook Key. He was still wearing his dive gear, including a tank which still contained air.

An autopsy will be done to determine the cause of his death. At this time, investigators say they do not know what might have happened to cause his death, or the death of the woman with him, 47 year old Judith Silcox, also of Palatka. Their dive equipment has been taken into custody and will be examined.

The couple was staying at the Sunshine Key Campground on Ohio Key. A motor home, a pickup truck and a boat trailer registered to them were found at the campground. Their boat, a 22 foot center console Proline, was found anchored with a dive flag posted just off shore between Big Pine Key and Little Palm Island. Silcox' body was found Thursday by other boaters, floating on the surface. They called for help and Boat Tow U.S. responded, helping to pull her on board, and performing CPR until they reached shore. Paramedics met them at the Big Pine Fishing Lodge boat ramp and continued life saving efforts, but could not revive her.

Investigations showed Maloy and Silcox, who were both certified to scuba dive, had rented four dive tanks from Paradise Divers on Summerland Key. She was found wearing one, which still had substantial air in it, and two more were found on the boat. The fourth tank was recovered with Maloy's body.

Key West man caught with crack cocaine

Stock Island - A Key West man was arrested after he was found with 40 crack rocks in his pocket.

On Saturday, at 8 p.m. Sgt. Andrew Ensminger received information that 26 year old Glenn Hanes was near the shrimp docks on Stock Island, driving a white Monte Carlo, and was in possession of cocaine and, possibly, a handgun. He and Deputy Henry Amole headed in that direction in an attempt to find Hanes. As Deputy Amole approached the area of Shrimp Road, he saw the car leaving. He and Sgt. Ensminger stopped the car in the parking lot of the Tom Thumb convenience store on Maloney Avenue.

The officers advised Hanes they had information he might have a handgun in his possession. All he said in return is, "I'm going to jail." Sgt. Ensminger asked him to get out of the car so he could pat him down for weapons. Hanes replied, "I know I'm going to jail." In one of his pockets, the search turned up a pill bottle with 40 crack cocaine "rocks" weighing a total of 5.2 grams and valued on teh street at approximately $800.00. They also found, in the same pocket, $1,000.00 in cash. No gun was found.

Hanes was charged with possession of cocaien with intent to sell and he was booked into jail. The cash was seized for possible forfeiture.

DUI Checkpoint in Marathon yeilds two arrests, 31 citations

Marathon - A sobriety checkpoint in Marathon Friday night resulted in one arrest for Driving under the influence of alcohol, one for possession of drug paraphernalia and 31 citations.

A total of 229 vehicles were checked during the checkpoint. One of the 31 citations was criminal in nature. Assisting in the checkpoint was the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Florida Highway Patrol and the U.S. Border Patrol.

Two day sport lobster season wrap up

Monroe County - The Monroe County Sheriff's Office kept busy over the two day sport lobster season last week throughout the Keys.

In the lower Keys, two boats and one personal watercraft made 90 boating contacts the first day and 40 contacts the second day. There were no citable violations observed on either day, although a small number of warnings were issued for minor safety violations such as having dive flags of an improper size, or diving too far from the posted dive flag. On the first day, there was one fatality related to the lobster season. A 66 year old woman died while getting ready to dive at Contents Key, off of Big Pine Key. On the second day, a woman died while diving off of Big Pine Key, and her dive partner is still missing.

In the middle Keys (click here to see some photos courtesy of Sgt. Dennis Cain), one boat and two personal watercraft worked offshore, between the Seven Mile Bridge and the Long Key Bridge. They made 132 boat contacts on the first day, issuing one notice to appear in court for short lobster. On the second day, they made 171 boat contacts, issuing one notice to appear in court for possession of egg bearing lobster and nine warnings for undersized lobster.

Two boats assigned to the Islamorada Sector stopped a total of 87 vessels over the two day season. They issued four notices to appear for fisheries violations and gave two verbal warnings. They responded to two suspicious boat calls, assigned the Coast Guard on one call and responded to three medical calls on the water, as well as one dive related fatality - a 36 year old man diving with a buddy on Davis Reef off of Plantation Key.

In the upper Keys, in the area from Tavernier to Key Largo, two boats and one personal water craft worked offshore. Over the two day season, they made 98 contacts, and issued two notices to appear in court for possessing short lobster, along with nine citations and eight written warnings.

July 25, 2006

Stock Island man charged with violating injunction in attempted break in

Stock Island - A Stock Island man is in jail charged with attempting to break in to the home of a woman who has an injunction against him which prohibits any contact.

Deputies Evan Calhoun and Caridad Bellon were called to a residence on Fifth Avenue in the early morning hours Monday to reports of a break in. The victim said 44 year old Vernon Scott tried to get into her house through a window. She was home and when she confronted him, he climbed back outside and got onto his bicycle. He was still in the area when the deputies arrived and the victim was able to point him out before he took off on his bike.

The deputies chased him with their patrol cars, but when they failed to catch him they set up a perimeter in the area and called for assistance from Key West Police K-9 teams. The deputies found his bicycle discarded in some weeds at the corner of Balido Terrace and Fifth Avenue. A K-9 team trained in tracking people was directed to this area and located Scott hiding behind an air conditioner in that vicinity.

A search of Scott's fanny pack turned up crack cocaine. He was arrested and charged with violating the injunction, criminal mischief, burglary, resisting arrest and possession of cocaine.

Traffic stop leads to drug arrest

Stock Island - The driver of a car with a headlight out was arrested after drugs were found in her car Friday night.

Deputy Evan Calhoun pulled over the green Isuzu SUV on MacDonald Avenue after seeing one of it's headlights out. The driver had no driver's license, but the deputy recognized her as 38 year old Terry Sakowicz of Stock Island. When he approached the driver's side door, Sakowicz told him the substance on her dashboard was not what he thought it was. She said it was dirt. The deputy, who initially had not noticed the dirt on the dashboard, became suspicious because of her comments. He asked if there was anything else in the car she wanted to point out. She said no. He then asked what was in the Tylenol bottle between the front seats. She said birth control pills and Tylenol. When he asked if he could check it out, she agreed. Inside the bottle was four grams of crack cocaine.

The deputy arrested Sakowicz, charging her with possession of cocaine. Once at the jail, a search by Corrections Officers turned up a crack cocaine pipe hidden in her pants. She was further charged with smuggling contraband into the jail and with possession of drug paraphernalia.

Traffic stop leads to drug arrest

Stock Island - A driver who failed to obey the move over law was arrested after a traffic stop revealed he was impaired, and had drugs in his possession.

Deputies Andrew Ensminger and Henry Amole were on a traffic stop at the five mile marker of Highway U.S. One at 2 a.m. today (Tuesday) when a truck drove by without slowing or moving over. Florida's Move Over Law requires drivers to move over one lane, or to slow to 15 miles below the speed limit if they see a law enforcement officer beside the road with his emergency equipment activated.

Deputy Ensminger got into his patrol car and pulled the truck over a short distance away. The driver, 28 year old Thomas Hillman of Key West, got out of the truck. The deputy immediately noticed he smelled of marijuana. The inside of the truck also smelled of the illegal substance. On the front seat of the truck was a black bag. In the bag, the deputies found one Oxycodone pill, a small amount of heroin and a plastic bag with marijuana inside. A search of Hillman's pockets turned up various pills, including 48 pieces of Xanax bars.

Hillman exhibited clear signs of impairment so he was arrested. He was charged with driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, possession of marijuana, heroin, drug paraphernalia and possession of a controlled substance and he was taken to jail. Once at the jail, Deputy Ensminger searched the back seat of his car and found cocaine hidden there which Hillman admitted was his. He was further charged with possession of cocaine and he was booked into the jail.

 

July 24, 2006

$5 million in cocaine found off shore in a week

Click the photo for a larger version:

On the left, Crime Scene Detective Jason Madnick stands with some of the kilos of cocaine recovered off of the upper Keys. On the right, a close up photo of the illegal narcotics.

Monroe County - Cocaine with a street value of five million dollars has been found floating off shore of the Florida Keys over the last week.

The cocaine, packaged in three bundles of 30 kilos each, was taken into the custody of the Sheriff's Office for destruction.

The first package was found by a dive captain working out of the Marriott Resort in Key Largo on July 15th. He'd taken a small group of people snorkeling off of the Christ of the Abyss Reef when he spotted something in the water. That something turned out to be cocaine.

The second package was found the following day, by two Key Largo men fishing off shore of Pennekamp State park. The third turned up off shore of Marathon on Saturday, found by a fisherman and turned over to the Sheriff's Office by the U.S. Coast Guard.

According to detectives, the uncut value of the narcotics is approximately $2.5 million. Street value of the drugs, once the drugs are diluted with "cut" and packaged for sale would be about $5 million.

"We are extremely happy to have removed this cocaine from circulation," said Sheriff Rick Roth. "The destruction of this cocaine will most definitely put a cramp in some drug smuggler's operation," he added.

July 18, 2006

Traffic stop ends in drug arrest

Islamorada - A Key Largo woman faces drug charges after she was stopped early today for speeding and driving erratically.

Sgt. Tom Kiffney was northbound at the 82 mile marker of the highway at 1 a.m. when he spotted an older model BMW sedan speeding southbound on the old highway. He saw the car recklessly cut through a parking lot and onto U.S. One, then the car turned back onto the old highway northbound. He turned on his lights and siren in an effort to stop the car, but the driver initially refused to pull over. The car finally pulled over and the driver got out, walking back to the patrol car.

Deputy Patrick Crozier arrived as back up. When he walked up to the car, he saw a pipe between the front seats resembling those used to smoke marijuana. He asked the driver for permission to search the car for illegal substances. 39 year old Deborah Carlson of Key Largo gave him permission, telling him there was nothing illegal in the car.

When the deputy pulled the pipe out of the car, Carlson began yelling, "It's not mine, it's not mine." She continued to yell the same thing when Deputy Crozier pulled a plastic bag from under the car's front seat. In the bag was five smaller bags, all containing a white powdery substance. The powder turned out to be 188 grams of cocaine.

When the officers told Carlson she was under arrest, she began to fight and pull away from them. She was placed into handcuffs, charged with trafficking in cocaine, resisting arrest and possession of drug paraphernalia. She was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

July 17, 2006

Man's body found at Big Pine swimming hole

Big Pine Key - A 54 year old Big Pine man was found dead in the waters of Big Pine Channel near an area called the swimming hole Friday afternoon.

Lt. Mitch Snider was flagged down as he drove past the area by a man who said he found 54 year old James Young floating in the water. The man told Sgt. Ronnie Roberts he and Young were together earlier in the day, drinking. He said Young was extremely intoxicated, and he said he last saw Young laying on the shore near where his body was found. He said he left Young with one of the life preservers from his boat because Young told him he was going swimming. The man said he returned later to retrieve his life preserver and that is when he found Young's body. He pulled the body to shore before flagging down Lt. Snider.

Homicide Detective Mark Coleman was assigned to investigate. He says he observed no obvious signs of foul play on the body. An autopsy is scheduled for today to determine the cause of Young's death.

Man with a ski mask charged with possessing drugs

Key Largo - Deputies were called to a Key Largo gas station because a man wearing a ski mask was pounding on the door early Sunday morning.

Deputy Sheila Swindle was dispatched to the Hess Station at the 99 mile marker. The clerk at the station said a man wearing a ski mask over his face pounded on the front door at 4 a.m. Sunday demanding he open up. When the clerk refused, the man, later identified as 21 year old Jesiah McShane of Tavernier, got into a red pickup truck and left northbound on the highway.

Deputy Swindle found the red truck parked at the Shell gas station nearby. She approached to speak to the driver, who was standing outside of the truck. As she approached, she saw through an open door a black ski mask on the floor of the truck. The deputy asked McShane about the mask, and if he'd been the one wearing it at the Hess Station. McShane admitted to it, telling the deputy it was a joke.

A plastic bag with cocaine inside was found on the driver's seat, along with a pipe used to smoke the drug. McShane was charged with possession of the cocaine and the drug paraphernalia and he was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

July 10, 2006

Man found dead off of Stock Island

Stock Island - A man was found dead, floating in the water off of Stock Island Saturday evening.

Passersby spotted the man's body, floating in the water near Key Haven Road at 6:30 p.m. They called the Sheriff's Office to report it. Deputy Caridad Bellon responded as did paramedics. When the man's body was pulled from the water, he was found to be wearing a white t-shirt and one blue shoe. He had no identification. There were no obvious signs of foul play.

The case was assigned to Detective Manny Cuervo. Detective Cuervo says he's made a tentative identification, but it has to be confirmed before he releases the name. Autopsy showed the preliminary cause of death to possibly be drowning, but more testing must be completed before a final autopsy result is available.

The investigation is continuing.

Tavernier man charged with breaking another man's arm with a baseball bat

Tavernier - Deputies arrested a 25 year old Tavernier man for breaking the arm of his mother's boyfriend in a domestic dispute Saturday night.

Deputy Patrick Crozier responded to 144 Coconut Palm Boulevard just before 8 p.m. to reports of a domestic dispute. When they arrived, they found 25 year old Laurence Rafford sitting in the open garage of a neighboring house. He was crying, and had an injury to the side of his head. He said his mother's boyfriend hit him with a baseball bat. Deputy Crozier went to Rafford's residence to investigate, along with Deputy Keith Albert. They found extensive damage to furnishings and to the house structure itself, including holes in doors and walls.

While they were inside, Rafford's mother returned to the house. She told them she and her boyfriend were in the bedroom watching television when her son burst into the room. He was angry about a raft tied up in the canal behind the house. He had an aluminum baseball bat and began hitting the walls and the door. When she tried to calm him, he pushed her and yelled at her. She said her boyfriend intervened and the two struggled over the bat. During the struggle her son was hit in the head. The son then got control of the bat and struck her boyfriend in the arm with the bat. X-rays later showed the arm to be broken.

Rafford was placed under arrest, charged with Aggravated Battery. He was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

July 7, 2006

Nevada man arrested for Ebay fraud

Monroe County - Sheriff's detectives say they've been successful in catching a Nevada man engaged in defrauding people on Ebay.

With the assistance of law enforcement officers in Henderson, Nevada, detectives say a warrant has been served charging 25 year old Hamlet Cloud Bernard with Communications Fraud and Grand Theft. The victim came to the Cudjoe Substation on May 11th to report being swindled. He told Captain Chad Scibilia he'd purchased computer equipment on Ebay. He paid $1,210.00 for the equipment using PayPal, but never received the equipment in return for the payment.

Detective Paul Schultz was assigned to investigate. He obtained a subpoena for detailed information about the person selling the computer equipment, who goes by the on line name of "Hamletcb". Through the information he received, he was able to trace "Hamletcb" to an address in Henderson, Nevada. He had Henderson detectives go to the address and interview the man they found there, Bernard.

Based on the interview, and the information obtained during the investigation, a warrant was obtained for Bernard's arrest. He was taken into custody by Henderson detectives Thursday on a warrant for Communications Fraud and Grand Theft. He will be brought to Monroe County to face the charges. Detective Schultz says he believes Bernard may have defrauded as many as 12 other people in the United States and Canada.

South Carolina man arrested for driving recklessly

Marathon - A South Carolina man was arrested Thursday morning for driving recklessly and for driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Sheriff's dispatchers received numerous phone calls from drivers complaining that a white Toyota SUV was driving recklessly in the vicinity of the 38 mile marker northbound. They said he was tailgating, speeding and forcing people off of the roadway. Deputy Luis Blasco was northbound at the 43 mile marker on the 7 mile bridge when he heard the call over Sheriff's Office radio system. He turned around to intercept the vehicle.

Deputy Blasco was southbound near the 41 mile marker when the same Toyota SUV, headed northbound at a high rate of speed, swerved into his lane forcing him onto the shoulder of the bridge. He quickly turned around to pursue the vehicle and stopped it, with two other deputies as back up, just past the north end of the bridge. The driver initially gave his name as Michael Roberts. He was later positively identified as 29 year old David Geddings of South Carolina. He said he knew he'd forced the officer off the road. He said he had plastic bags in the car and he was trying to keep them from flying out the window when he swerved into the other lane.

Geddings, who denied drinking any alcohol, was given a series of field sobriety exercises to complete, and he failed a number of them. He was arrested and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. A check on his name revealed he had no valid driver's license. His South Carolina license has been suspended due to driving under the influence. He was also charged with driving with a suspended license, reckless driving, giving a false name to a law enforcement officer and speeding. He also had an outstanding warrant from Tampa for violation of probation. He was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

July 6, 2006

Detectives serve search warrant; arrest one for drugs

Stock Island - Detectives from the Sheriff's Special Investigations Division served as search warrant at a Stock Island trailer Wednesday, arresting the resident for possessing drugs.

After an investigation into possible drug sales at 6529 Maloney Avenue, #9, Detectives served the search warrant just before 11 a.m. Inside, they found 26.3 grams of crack cocaine in a camera case and a digital scale, both located in the living room. The man who lives in the trailer, 58 year old Ariel Perez, was arrested. In his pants pockets, detectives found $2,760.00 in cash, all in $20 bills.

Perez was charged with possession of crack cocaine. He was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center and the cash was seized for possible forfeiture.

Detectives with the Key West Police Department assisted with service of the search warrant.

Key West man reports being stabbed

Stock Island - A Key West man reported being stabbed in a fight on Stock Island Wednesday night.

Deputies Henry Amole and Christina Parisi responded to Stock Island apartments at 7 p.m. Wednesday to reports of a fight. When they arrived, they found a group of people who said there'd been a fight and a man had been stabbed. They could not find those involved in the fight, however, or anyone who could tell them specifically who had been involved.

A short time later, they responded to Lower Keys Hospital where they met with a man who reported being stabbed in a fight. He had been treated at the hospital and received a number of stitches for a wound in his chest. He was able to tell the deputies who he'd been fighting with, but the deputies could not immediately locate the suspects. Detectives will be continuing the investigation.

July 5, 2006

Deputy collapses at fourth of July parade

Key Largo - A Sheriff's deputy collapsed while working at a parade Tuesday morning in the upper Keys.

Deputy Steve Kalogeras was working a traffic control detail at the fourth of July parade Tuesday morning in Key Largo when he suddenly collapsed at 11:20 a.m. Deputy Sean Heffron and Deputy Nick Pham were working nearby and rushed to his side. He was not breathing and showed no signs of life. They began performing CPR and continued until Fire/Rescue units arrived on scene. Deputy Kalogeras was rushed to Mariner's Hospital where he was reported to be alert and breathing on his own. He is being transferred today to Baptist Hospital in Miami. It is unknown specifically what caused the collapse.

Deputy Kalogeras, who is 55 years old, worked in the upper Keys as a Civil Deputy. He was hired by the Sheriff's Office in December of 1987 as a road patrol deputy. He was shot while responding to a burglary call in 1989. After recovering from the shooting, he was transferred to the Civil Division in October of 1991 where he has worked since then.

Brawl on offshore island leads to injuries, arrests

Boca Grande - A July fourth brawl at a popular gathering place off shore of Key West Tuesday led to a number of injuries and three arrests.

Name calling among the groups gathered at Boca Grande Tuesday evening eventually led to verbal threats and the use of weapons. According to witnesses, there were a number of children on the scene and one boy, four years old, was reportedly hit on the ribs with a full bottle of beer thrown by 20 year old Anthony Morejon of Stock Island. Another bottle just missed hitting an eight year old boy in the head. Some of those present called for help on marine radios and an officer from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission responded first to the scene.

After the officer arrived, he began questioning some of those who were on the scene. As he was investigating, Morejon jumped off of a boat holding a fishing gaff and began chasing another man with it. 34 year old Juan Soca,of Stock Island, pulled out a large knife and began yelling at another man on the beach, walking toward him with the knife. The officer pulled his gun and ordered them both to drop their weapons. They complied, but Soca continued in his attack against the other man, striking him above the right eye with a beer bottle, causing a laceration that required stitches to close.

33 year old William "Billy" Wickers of Big Coppitt Key joined the fray, attacking a man and pushing him to the ground causing lacerations to his wrist and torso.

Officers from the United States Coast Guard arrived as back up and the situation was finally settled. The investigation was turned over to Deputy Brian Luth, who conducted interviews with those present. After extensive investigation into the circumstances, he finally arrested three men. Soca was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon; Morejon was charged with child abuse for throwing full beer bottles into a crowd of children; and Wickers was charged with aggravated battery. All three men were booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

Fire destroys Marathon trailer

Marathon - A fire which appears to have started in a storage shed destroyed a trailer in the Galway Bay mobile home park in Marathon early on Monday.

The resident of the trailer said he walked outside at 6:05 a.m. to get a newspaper. As he was returning to his trailer, he heard a popping noise come from his storage shed in back of his trailer. Then, he saw flickering flames inside. He attempted to put the fire out with a garden hose, but the fire spread to his mobile home, which was a complete loss. There was also damage to a boat and a truck parked in the vicinity.

Marathon fire rescue responded and extinguished the blaze. The Red Cross also responded to assist the residents with finding a place to stay.

Traffic stop leads to drug arrest

Big Pine Key - A traffic stop Saturday evening led to the arrest of a Key West man on drug charges.

Deputy Andrew Ensminger was in the northbound lane of U.S. One on Big Pine Key, waiting to turn left when he saw a car improperly pass the vehicle behind him, on the unpaved shoulder of the road. The 2006 Pontiac then passed the deputy's car as well, also on the unpaved shoulder. He turned on his lights and siren and pulled the car over. The driver, 20 year old Aureo Hernandez, could not produce a driver's license and was driving a rental car he did not have permission to drive. He said he was just going to visit a friend on Big Pine Key.

Deputy Ensminger asked Hernandez if he had any drugs. Hernandez said no, and gave the deputy permission to search the vehicle. Deputy Marc Maison arrived as back up and began searching the trunk. Under the trunk's carpet, he found a blue sock with a bulge in it. Inside were plastic baggies with 8 grams of powdered cocaine, 30 crack cocaine "rocks", and miscellaneous pills. Hernandez was arrested and charged with two counts possession of cocaine and possession of drug paraphernalia. He was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

 


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