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

 

August 28, 2007

Detectives investigate snorkeling death

Sheriff's detectives, with the assistance of Miami-Dade Police, are investigating a snorkeling death which occurred off shore of Key Largo Monday.

A group of five men were reportedly in a vessel near the lighthouse off shore of Ocean Reef. Initially, two were reportedly in the water snorkeling and three remained on the boat. Witnesses say 66 year old Miguel Rodrigo went into the water to snorkel with the other two. As he swam toward them, his friends say he went limp in the water. They called to him, but got no response. They loaded him onto their boat and motored in to the Rickenbacker Causeway in Miami where they were met by Miami-Dade police and paramedics.

Rodrigo, who is from Wellington, Florida, was pronounced dead. His body is currently in the custody of the Miami-Dade Medical Examiner's Office.

August 26, 2007

Found body may be that of missing teen

A body, found in a wooded area near the 99 mile marker Saturday may be that of an 18 year old missing since July.

Four men fishing on the ocean side of the highway near the 99 mile marker discovered the body and called 911 to report it shortly after noon Saturday. When detectives arrived, they found the skeletal remains still clothed in a Taco Bell uniform. 18 year old Kristopher Richardson was last seen in the early morning hours of July 21st. He was living with a friend on Oakwood Drive in Key Largo and had returned home at 3 a.m. in his Taco Bell uniform. He'd reportedly been drinking and was intoxicated. He and his friend argued and Richardson ended up leaving their residence on foot. Another friend he worked with at Taco Bell was staying at the Key Largo Inn. He said Richardson showed up at his room after that asking for a place to stay. The friend offered to open Taco Bell so Richardson could stay there, but when he went to get the Keys, Richardson left. He was not seen again.

Richardson had lived in the Keys since July 1st. He moved to Key Largo from Plymouth, Michigan. His mother, who lives in Michigan, reported him missing on July 23rd after Richardson's friend called her to say he hadn't been seen in a couple of days.. Detectives spoke with is friends, and searched the area around the Key Largo Inn, where he was last seen.

The body, found Saturday shortly after noon, has not positively been identified as Richardson, but the body was clothed in a Taco Bell uniform, and Richardson's wallet was  found nearby. There was no evidence of foul play and no obvious signs of how he may have died. An autopsy will be done in an effort to discover what may have happened to him, and to positively identify the body.

Beckner charged with murder

42 year old Andrew Beckner was charged Friday with murder, two counts of aggravated assault on law enforcement officers, firing a weapon in a dwelling and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Beckner was arrested Friday afternoon after holding law enforcement officers at bay for six hours at his upper Keys residence. Deputies responded there Friday morning to reports of a domestic dispute. When they arrived, Beckner was inside and refused to come out. He fired a gun at deputies who fired back. When he finally surrendered, it was discovered he'd killed his girlfriend, 46 year old Georgia Morgan.

Reckless drunk driver causes traffic accident

A 25 year old Nicaraguan national is in jail today after he drove recklessly, while drunk, and caused a traffic accident at the intersection of Key Haven Road and Highway U.S. One Saturday.

The accident, which took place just before 8 p.m., left one man in critical condition and another in the hospital with serious injuries. Four cars were totaled after Eric Parado swerved into the median to pass a car and lost control of the silver colored Honda he was driving.

Dispatchers received a call that a silver colored Honda, southbound at the 12 mile marker, was driving recklessly. Deputy Greg Korzen spotted the car at the 8 mile marker, traveling at a high rate of speed and passing cars recklessly. He followed the vehicle, which registered on his radar at 98 miles per hour in a 55 mile per hour zone on the Boca Chica Bridge. When Deputy Korzen turned on his lights and siren, the driver refused to stop. The car was weaving all over the road and, when the driver tried to pass a car using the median, at the intersection of Key Haven Road and U.S. One, he lost control. He swerved into the northbound lanes, causing a pickup truck and a car to collide. The truck turned over and the two vehicles skidded into the guardrail. The Honda then hit another car, with the two vehicles also coming to a rest against the guardrail.

As Deputy Korzen got out of his patrol car and began checking the wrecked cars for injured, he saw Parado trying to climb out of the Honda through the window. Parado began walking away from the scene, and when Korzen told him to stop, he began to run. Korzen caught him a short distance away and detained him.

A passenger in the Honda was critically injured and was airlifted to Miami by the Sheriff's Trauma Star helicopter. A man in the pickup truck was seriously injured and was transported to Lower Keys Hospital for treatment. The Florida Highway Patrol is investigating the accident and may have more information about who was involved in the accident, and about other possible injuries.

Parado was taken to Lower Keys Hospital where his blood alcohol level registered .245. A check on his name revealed he has no driver's license in any jurisdiction. A check on the Honda's license plate revealed it did not belong to him. The owner said Parado did not have permission to drive it. When he was released from the hospital, he was charged with aggravated fleeing and eluding police, driving under the influence of alcohol with serious property damage and serious injury and resisting arrest without violence. He was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

August 24, 2007

North Rock Harbor man in custody; woman dead

North Rock Harbor - A man from North Rock Harbor in the Florida Keys is in custody after a six hour standoff at his home in North Rock Harbor with police. His girlfriend was found in the house, dead.

At 7:30 a.m., deputies responded to reports of a domestic dispute at 914 South Emerald Drive at the 96.5 mile marker of Highway U.S. One in the Florida Keys. When they arrived, 42 year old Andrew Beckner and 46 year old Georgia Morgan were inside the home. Deputies attempted to contact them, but they did not respond. Shots were fired at the deputies from the residence and the deputies fired back. They backed off from the residence and called for assistance.

Sheriff’s hostage negotiators were called to the scene, along with the Special Weapons and Tactics Team. They set up a perimeter and began talking to Beckner. During the course of the negotiations, they received information Beckner had killed Morgan.

The SWAT team deployed gas canisters into the house on three separate occasions in an effort to get Beckner to come out. At 1:24 p.m., Beckner finally agreed to exit the residence. He walked out and was taken into custody without further incident. Morgan was found inside, dead. The medical examiner’s office was present when he surrendered. They took custody of Morgan’s body and an autopsy will be done to determine the cause of her death.

Deputies responded to the same residence Thursday evening at 7:30 p.m. to reports of a domestic disturbance. The caller said they’d seen Beckner on the front porch of the house with a gun in his hand. When they arrived, Morgan was there, but Beckner had left. Morgan reported Beckner tried to strangle her with a towel, but there were no injuries visible. She was reluctant to press charges against Beckner and, when a Victim Advocate offered her assistance with a domestic violence injunction and assistance going to the Domestic Abuse Shelter, she refused. She did hand over a number of guns that were in the residence, but told the deputies she believed Beckner had taken a .45 caliber handgun with him when he left.

Beckner has been arrested 11 times since January 2002, four times for domestic battery. Two of those incidents were battery against Morgan; one on March 18th of this year and once on May 13th of this year. He was released from jail on August 14th on the most recent battery arrest.

Charges are currently pending. When he is charged, I will send you an update with those details.

August 23, 2007

Detectives seize cash, drugs during search warrant

Marathon - Sheriff's Special Investigations Detectives arrested two men and seized drugs and cash after serving a search warrant at a Marathon residence Wednesday night.

The search warrant was served at 6:10 p.m. at 374 73rd Street Ocean, #1. Detectives, assisted by Deputy Ken Fricke and his dog Tracer, found 213 grams of cocaine in a dresser, in a safe in the bedroom and underneath a pillow in the bedroom. They also found 10 vials of anabolic steroids in a microwave and a small amount of marijuana.

42 year old Jose Agosto, who lives at the residence, was arrested and charged with trafficking in cocaine, possession with intent to distribute cocaine, possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. Another person at the residence, 18 year old Ernesto Herrada Cordova of Marathon, was charged with possession of the steroids, which were found in an envelope with his name on it.

In addition, $5,200 in cash was seized for possible forfeiture. Street value of the cocaine is estimated to be $17,500.00.

August 21, 2007

Bank Robbery in Tavernier

Surveillance photo of bank robbery suspect - the man wearing the light colored shirt and light colored baseball type hat.

Tavernier - Sheriff's detectives are investigating a robbery at an upper Keys Bank.

At 11:25 a.m., there was a bank robbery reported at TIB Bank of the Keys at the 92 mile marker of highway U.S. One. According to witnesses, a man walked into the bank and said he had a bomb. He was carrying some kind of device which had tape on it and wires protruding. He demanded money from the teller. After she handed over the money, he left the bank on foot, taking his “device” with him.

The suspect is described as a white male, 40 to 50 years old, approximately 5’8” tall, 170 pounds with short salt and pepper hair. The teller said he had a “large nose”. He was wearing shorts and a green hat. No other clothing description is available at this time.

Anyone with information about this crime should call the Sheriff's Office or call Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. Callers to Crime Stoppers may remain anonymous and are eligible for a cash reward if their information leads to an arrest. The Crime Stoppers hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS.

Plane damaged in vehicle accident


Photo courtesy of Key West Airport Security

Key West - A plane parked on the runway at Key West International Airport was damaged today when a fuel truck ran into it.

Airport Security Director Jerome Fain said the incident took place at 6:45 a.m. The plane, a 1996 Beechcraft belonging to Gulfstream Airlines (which flies as the Continental Connection) was on the runway, with only the pilot aboard, waiting to be fueled. The fuel truck was approaching the plane when the driver, 23 year old Manuel Estevez, apparently fell asleep at the wheel. As the pilot watched, the truck slowly approached the plane, then ran into it, hitting the propeller, the engine and the plane itself.

Estevez was issued a citation for careless driving. The plane is still grounded at the airport, pending repairs.

Man arrested for stabbing incident

Stock Island - A Stock Island man has been arrested for stabbing another man in the stomach.

According to Detective Henry DelValle, the incident took place August 12th at an apartment on Second Street. According to the victim and a witness who was present at the time of the stabbing, 21 year old David Casique and the victim got into an argument while drinking together. The argument became physical and Casique bit the victim's fingers, causing severe wounds to his hands. He then stabbed him in the stomach with a knife.

The victim was airlifted by Trauma Star to the Ryder Trauma Center for treatment. A warrant was issued for Casique's arrest. On Monday, he was arrested and charged with aggravated battery. Bond on the warrant is set at $50,000.00.

August 19, 2007

Detective arrests two after USCG pursuit of migrant smugglers

Lower Keys - Sheriff's detectives arrested two men after they fled from the U.S. Coast Guard Friday with 19 Cuban migrants on board their go fast boat.

According to Detective Paul Schultz, the Coast Guard was notified by the Cuban Government at 4:30 a.m. Friday of a go fast type boat headed northbound from Cuba with possible Cuban migrants on board. The Coast Guard was able to locate the vessel and launched a boat and a helicopter to intercept it. The 33 foot 2007 Avanti with twin 275 horsepower Mercury engines was located, headed for the Marquesas and the Coast Guard attempted to stop it using the lights and siren on it's pursuit vessel. The boat refused to stop.

Visible on board the boat were a number of passengers that reportedly appeared to be Cuban migrants. The operators of the boat, later identified as 26 year old Yudel Armada of Hialeah and 23 year old Dariel Sanchez of Homestead, refused to stop. Instead, they continued to flee at speeds reaching 45 knots. Several times during the pursuit, the suspects attempted to ram the Coast Guard vessel, one time actually hitting it.

Because of the extreme danger to both the passengers on the fleeing boat and the crew on the Coast Guard vessel, Detective Schultz said the Coast Guard finally had to fire a weapon into the starboard engine of the go-fast, bringing it to a stop. Sanchez and Armada were both taken into custody and were taken to U.S. Coast Guard station Key West. The Sheriff's Office was notified and responded, arresting the two men for fleeing and eluding police, aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer and reckless operation of a vessel and they were booked into the Monroe County Detention Center on Stock Island.

According to Detective Schultz, the Coast Guard took custody of the 19 Cuban migrants, who will reportedly be repatriated to Cuba. No one was reported to be injured during the incident.

Islamorada man possibly bitten by shark

Islamorada - An Islamorada man who swims every night offshore of Founder's Park in Islamorada was bitten on the side, possibly by a shark.

The incident occurred after dark, at approximately 9:15 p.m. The victim, 52 year old Chris Olstad, was reportedly swimming his normal route from the park to a sailboat about a half mile off shore and back. He'd made it to the boat and about a quarter of a mile back when he was struck in the side, he believes by a shark. After the attack, he managed to make it back to shore. He drove himself the short distance to the Sheriff's Islamorada substation, located at the entrance to Founder's Park.

An ambulance transported him to Mariner's Hospital, a short distance away. From there, he was airlifted to Ryder Trauma Center in Miami. Sgt. Tom Kiffney, who spoke with Olstad at Mariner's Hospital, said the man's wounds were extensive, from under his arm to his waist with a large chunk of his flesh missing.

August 17, 2007

Stock Island man charged with possessing drugs

Drugs seized on a houseboat off shore of the Key Haven boat ramp

Stock Island - A Stock Island man was arrested Thursday afternoon, charged with possessing cocaine and marijuana.

Detective Lazaro Valdes from the Special Investigations Division received information Thursday that 71 year old Juan Cremade was dealing drugs from his houseboat anchored off shore of the Key Haven boat ramp. Detective Valdes was transported to the houseboat by Lt. Brad Jones of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Once at the houseboat, Detective Valdes received permission from Cremade to search it. Inside, he found crack cocaine on a countertop, on a plastic shelf and in Cremade's pocket for a total of 8.5 grams. Fourteen grams of Marijuana were found on the shelf as well along with 1.1 grams of powdered cocaine and $3,790 in cash.

The cash was seized for forfeiture. Cremade was charged with possession of cocaine with intent to sell and possession of marijuana and he was booked into jail.

Vehicle burglaries in Marathon

Marathon - Five vehicle burglaries in the vicinity of 25th Street in Marathon were reported to the Sheriff's Office Thursday.

Five people contacted the Sheriff's Office to report their cars were entered overnight. All were left unlocked. In one case, a large amount of cash and a gun were taken. Two cases of beer were taken from another car.

Anyone with information about these crimes should call the Sheriff's Office or call Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. Callers to Crime Stoppers may remain anonymous and are eligible for a cash reward if their information leads to an arrest. The Crime Stoppers hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS.

August 15, 2007

Man's body found in Manatee Bay

Key Largo - A Homestead man was found dead in the waters of Manatee Bay today. Detectives say his death may have been an accident.

A passing boater spotted the body at 7:15 a.m. and called the Sheriff's Office to report it. When deputies and detectives arrived, they identified the victim as 60 year old Thomas Crane of Homestead. His 65 foot boat, the Anhinga, was moored a distance away. His dinghy was found washed up in some mangroves.

Detective Terry Smith said Crane's shorts and wallet were found on the deck of his boat. He said it appeared Crane's dinghy may have drifted away and Crane may have gone into the water to retrieve it. There were no signs of foul play in evidence on the body. He was last seen Tuesday at noon, but detectives say he may have been in the water since Tuesday evening.

Crane lives in Homestead, but reportedly comes to the Keys occasionally to stay on his boat, moored in Manatee Bay. An autopsy will be done to determine the cause of his death.

Man charged with possessing Goliath Grouper

Deputies Derek Paul and Wilfredo Guerra after seizing three illegal Goliath Grouper

Marathon - Deputies on water patrol stopped a boat and discovered three illegal Goliath Grouper on board Monday.

Deputies Wilfredo Guerra and Derek Paul were on patrol at 5:45 p.m. when they spotted 48 year old Michael Cummisky of San Ramon, California offshore of the 49 mile marker on his boat. When they stopped to do a vessel check, they saw him putting a fish into a forward hatch. They asked to see the fish, so Cummisky opened the hatch and showed them a legal sized Black Grouper. Inside the hatch, the deputies also spotted three more fish which turned out to be Goliath Grouper, also known as Jewfish.

Cummisky was charged with possession of the illegal catch and he was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center in Marathon.

August 14, 2007

Inmate escapes from Marathon jail

Escaped Inmate 22 year old Naoul Senat. Click photo for a larger version

Marathon - An inmate, being held in the Marathon jail on drug charges, escaped by climbing over a fence today.

22 year old Senat  Naoul was arrested by Key West Police in June on drug charges, and was subsequently charged with violation of probation. Investigations have revealed just before 9 a.m. today he placed two chairs up against an outer fence at the Marathon jail and climbed over the fence. He was last seen wearing blue jail pants and a white t-shirt. He is described as a black male, five foot seven inches tall, 130 pounds with short black hair. He is originally from Haiti but his last known address is at 3920 South Roosevelt Boulevard in Key West. Jail officials say they will be investigating the circumstances of the escape.

Detectives are investigating. A notice to be on the lookout for him has been sent out to all law enforcement agencies in our region.

Anyone with information about Senat, or his whereabouts, should call the Sheriff's Office or call Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. Callers to Crime Stoppers may remain anonymous and are eligible for a cash reward if their information leads to an arrest. The Crime Stoppers hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS.

August 10, 2007

Search Warrants lead to drug arrests

Monroe County - Two search warrants served by Sheriff's Special Investigations Division this week resulted in the arrest of four people on drug charges.

Tuesday evening, detectives executed a warrant at 10749 3rd Avenue Gulf in Marathon. The Sheriff's Special Weapons and Tactics Team performed the entry after which detectives searched the home, with the assistance of Marathon's new K-9 team, Deputy Ken Fricke and his dog Tracer. Two residents were inside - 38 year old Yvette Renta in one bedroom and 19 year old Pedro Lugo in another.

Under a pillow on Renta's bed, Tracer found five bags of powdered cocaine. A scale for weighing the drug was also found in that room. In the room with Lugo, Tracer found 150 grams of marijuana, packaged for distribution. The dog also hit on money from drug sales totaling $1,185.00 which was seized for forfeiture.

Renta was charged with possession of cocaine with intent to distribute and possession of drug paraphernalia. Lugo was charged with possession of a felony amount of marijuana with intent to distribute.

Early today (Friday), a search warrant was executed at 5312 3rd Avenue on Stock Island. While the SWAT team was making their entry, a man inside pushed out a window air conditioning unit in an attempt to escape through the window. When he fell out the window, 20 year old Sterling Rivers was taken into custody by detectives standing outside. Another man, 60 year old John Hankinson, found standing outside the residence, was arrested after he was found to be in possession of eight crack rocks.

During the search of the residence, detectives found a crack cocaine lab, equipped with glass beakers, baking soda, baggies and scales to weigh the drug. Crack was found on a bedroom floor; powdered cocaine was found on top of a VCR in the bedroom, between the mattresses and on top of a TV cabinet; marijuana was found on the VCR, on the floor of the bedroom and in a drawer in the bedroom. $1,345 in suspected drug proceeds were seized for forfeiture. Detectives also discovered two video cameras aimed outside connected to four televisions inside the residence. They also had a police scanner inside.

28 year old Frank Jones and 26 year old Horace Ray Calhoun were found inside. Jones was charged with possession of cocaine and marijuana; Calhoun was charged with four outstanding warrants for violation of probation; Rivers was charged with possession of cocaine and three counts of violation of probation.

August 6, 2007

Photo taken from a surviellance video of the suspect in the Circle K robbery

Click here to see more photos

Armed Robbery at Key Largo convenience store

Key Largo - Sheriff's detectives are investigating a robbery at a Key Largo convenience store Saturday night.

The robbery took place at the Circle K convenience store at the 102 mile marker of the highway at 9:45 p.m. Saturday. Clerks working at the store, and other witnesses, say the suspect entered the store and walked around inside as if he was shopping. He placed some items on the counter as if to buy them. When one of the store clerks began ringing up the items, the man said he'd left his wallet in his car. He left the store and returned a short time later carrying a gun which he pointed at the clerk. He demanded money. The clerk handed over the money and he left the store.

The suspect is described as a white male, bald with a goatee type beard. He was between five foot four and five foot six inches tall. with a stocky build; he is right handed and may have a tattoo of some sort on his arm, just above his left wrist. He reportedly did not speak with any accent.

Anyone with information about this crime should call the Sheriff's Office or call Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. Callers to Crime Stoppers may remain anonymous and are eligible for a cash reward if their information leads to an arrest. The Crime Stoppers hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS.

Marathon man arrested for masturbating in front of children

Marathon - A homeless Marathon man was arrested Sunday evening, charged with masturbating within view of two 14 year old girls.

The two girls told Deputy Brian Luth they were at the Seven Mile Bridge Park at the 47 mile marker at 5 p.m. They said they were sitting at a picnic table when they saw 49 year old Iran Lazo-Gonzalez sitting under a tree looking at them. As he looked at them, they said he was masturbating. An adult who was with the girls told him to stop or he would call the Sheriff's Office. Lazo-Gonzalez did not stop. Another adult with the girls took a picture of the activity, and turned the pictures over to Deputy Luth.

When deputies arrived, Lazo-Gonzalez was still on the scene, and his genitals were still exposed. He admitted to masturbating in front of the two girls. He was arrested, charged with indecent exposure and lewd and lascivious exhibition and he was booked into jail.

Auto burglaries at Key Haven

Key Haven - Detectives are investigating a series of auto burglaries reported in the neighborhood of Key Haven.

Five people called the Sheriff's Office between Friday and Sunday to report their cars were burglarized. In most of the cases, the vehicles were left unlocked and valuables inside were taken, including Global Positioning Systems, DVDs, CDs, cash, credit cards, purses and wallets. The burglaries took place on Birchwood Drive, Coconut Drive, Beechwood Drive, Driftwood Drive and Evergreen Lane.

The Sheriff's Office would like to remind everyone to lock their car doors, even when the car is parked in front of a house or in the home's driveway. Most vehicle burglaries are crimes of opportunity where a suspect chooses a target because it is easily accessible. Avoid being a victim by making it difficult for the criminals to target you - lock your car doors and don't leave valuables inside.

Anyone with information about these crimes should call the Sheriff's Office or call Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. Callers to Crime Stoppers may remain anonymous and are eligible for a cash reward if their information leads to an arrest. The Crime Stoppers hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS.

August 2, 2007

Woman charged with theft of money from dead woman's estate

Marathon - A Marathon woman is accused of using her status as power of attorney to steal thousands of dollars from a dead woman's estate.

47 year old Tammy Poore-Russell was arrested on an outstanding warrant for Grand Theft Wednesday. She held Power of Attorney for the victim, who died in May of 2006. Subsequent to her death, Poore-Russell wrote numerous checks and made withdrawals from an account set up in the victim's name at a local bank. A Power of Attorney stops being valid after death, however the bank was not aware at the time that the victim had died.

A friend the victim was living with before she died called to report the theft. She told Sgt. Sue Morgan she received a copy of the victim's bank statement after she died which reflected numerous withdrawals by Poore-Russell after the victim's death. Detective Amanda Faith Coleman was assigned to investigate the case.

Victim of dive accident released from the hospital

Key Largo - A Kansas City, Kansas man, the victim of a dive accident Wednesday, was released from the hospital today.

56 year old Bradley Ramsey was diving from a commercial dive vessel on the Spiegal Grove off of Key Largo Wednesday afternoon. People diving with him said a group of them were ascending to the surface when Ramsey began having trouble. When the group reached a safety stop, witnesses said Ramsey kept going to the surface without stopping. When he surfaced, he was pulled from the water and given oxygen. He was then transported to Port Largo Subdivision where he was met by an ambulance. He was transported to Mariner's Hospital where he was initially reported to be in critical condition. By today, he had recovered enough to be released from the hospital.

August 1, 2007

Teen charged with target shooting with rifle

Marathon - A Marathon teen was arrested on a warrant for firing a rifle in public.

The charges stem from an incident on July 5th. Deputy Jacek Szymanski was on patrol on Boot Key Road in Marathon when he saw a black pickup truck with two people inside pulled off the road. When he approached, he saw a rifle and rounds of ammunition in the cab of the truck. Further investigation revealed a paper target on a piece of plywood propped up against a tree. 68 lives rounds of rifle ammunition and 18 spent shells on the ground indicated someone was target shooting.

19 year old Travis Moore admitted to firing the rifle in public. A warrant was obtained for his arrest and on Tuesday, he was charged with the warrant and booked into jail.

 

 


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