Monroe County Sheriff’s Office
Daily Crime and Information Report

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

Click here to read press releases on other Sheriff's Office events and occurrences

October 29, 2012

Man arrested for firing a gun

A Big Coppittt Key man was arrested Sunday, charged with firing a gun at a couple after an argument.

Deputy Lazaro Valdes responded to a residence on 4th Street at 4:20 p.m. to reports of shots fired. When he arrived, he met with two victims who told him 30 year old Derek Pierce fired a gun at them. They said they were at Pierce’s house and argued with Pierce over money. They were leaving in their vehicle when they heard a gunshot. When they looked to see where it was coming from, Pierce was pointing a gun at them.

They fled in their car and called the Sheriff’s Office for help.

When Deputy Valdes arrived, he found Pierce still on the scene. Pierce denied having a handgun, but gave the deputy permission to search his house for a weapon. Instead of a weapon, the deputy found marijuana and drug paraphernalia ini plain view in Pierce’s bedroom. Pierce finally told the deputy the handgun in question was in the armoire in the living room.

The gun was recovered. Pierce said he discharged it accidentally. He was arrested. He was charged with discharging a firearm in public, aggravated assault and possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. He was booked into jail.

Five cited for selling alcohol to minors

On October 26, 2012 the Special Investigations Division conducted an operation checking businesses that sell alcohol in the lower keys. Twelve businesses were checked including restaurants, convenience stores and bars. Five of the businesses served alcohol to minors during our investigations. The five people were given notices to appear before a Monroe County Judge. 

The following are a list of the business and suspects who sold the alcohol:

The Sale Clerk violations are up to 60 days in jail $500 fine, $235 in court cost, $75 in cost of prosecution, and $40 in cost of investigation.

The Licensee Violations are:
1st offense $1000 fine and 7 day suspension
2nd offense $3000 fine and 30 day suspension
3rd offense Revocation of license.
The remaining business checked, were in compliance with the law.

This operation was conducted in cooperation with the Monroe County Coalition for a Safe and Drug Free Community.

October 28, 2012

Key Largo man arrested for burglary

Key Largo – A 19 year old Key Largo man was arrested Saturday night after deputies found he was living at an unoccupied home on Adams Drive.

On Saturday just after 6 p.m., a woman who lives on Adams Drive called the Sheriff’s Office. She said she heard her downstairs garage door closing and looked outside to see a man walking out of the door. When Deputy Kyle Page arrived, neighbors told him they’d seen in various locations in the neighborhood in past days, including using a pool at one home, and trespassing in the front and back yards of other homes.  The woman who called told the deputy the house next door to hers was unoccupied and suggested he check to see if anyone was staying there.

Deputy Page checked the unoccupied home and found evidence someone had been staying there. The house itself was secure, but there was clothing  on the porch, and a fire was lit in the barbecue grill. As the deputy continued to investigate, neighbors reported the suspect was walking around the neighborhood.

19 year old Austin Tribble was finally located and apprehended as he was returning to the Adams Drive residence. He admitted he’d been staying there because he said he had nowhere else to go.

He was charged with burglary and theft for entering the victim’s garage and taking several beers from her refrigerator. He was further charged with trespassing at the home he’d been staying at. He was also charged with loitering and prowling. He was booked into jail.

October 21, 2012

40 Queen Conch returned to the water alive; two arrested for illegal harvesting

Islamorada -A tip called in to a Sheriff’s deputy Saturday afternoon led to the arrest of two people for possessing 40 Queen Conch. All 40 Conch were returned to the water alive.

Deputy Nelson Sanchez received a text just before 5 p.m. Information in the text was that a group of people came in to the dock at the rear of the Day’s Inn in Islamorada with a large number of Queen Conch. The reporting person gave the deputy a description of the truck the people were driving.

Deputy Sanchez caught up with the truck as it was pulling out of the parking lot of Days Inn. He approached the truck and asked if they were in possession of Queen Conch. The driver, 48 year old George Galiszewski of Miami, admitted having conch in the truck. Both he and one of the passengers, 43 year old Elena McGrane of Miami, admitted to harvesting them.

Deputy Sanchez inspected the Conch and found they were still alive. He photographed them for evidence and then returned them to the water.

Both Galiszewski and McGrane were arrested. Each was charged with 20 counts possession of Queen Conch and they were booked into jail.

October 19, 2012

Arrest made in theft of political signs

Key Largo - A Key Largo man was arrested Thursday for removing and throwing away two political signs in his neighborhood.

77 year old ***name expunged***   was charged with two counts of petit theft for removing signs  from the vicinity of Michelle Drive and U.S. One in September. The signs belonged to candidate Steve Gibbs. Detectives arrested ***name expunged***   after receiving a complaint from Gibbs about his missing signs. During the course of the investigation, ***name expunged***   admitted to throwing the signs in a dumpster near the Yellow Bait House. He said he removed them in an effort to clean up the neighborhood.

Sheriff Bob Peryam would like to reiterate the Sheriff’s Office takes this crime seriously and will arrest anyone caught removing political signs illegally. Those candidates who have had signs stolen or vandalized are encouraged to report those crimes to the Sheriff’s Office so we can investigate.

It is legal for a property owner to remove signs from his/her property without notice. Anyone placing a sign on private property should always ask permission of the owner first.

The Florida Department of Transportation would like to remind candidates and their campaign workers they cannot place signs on FDOT right of ways.  According to an email from an FDOT spokesperson:

“We make every attempt to reach out to campaign staff to give them a ‘heads up’ that their signage is in the right of way, and to give them an opportunity to relocate it.  There are some cases where immediate removal is needed, i.e. when mowing or other state right-of-way maintenance functions are in progress.  There have been hundreds of small campaign signs placed in both state and local municipal right-of-ways. 

“We realize signs are expensive and want to educate rather than confiscate signs whenever possible.  We keep a log of removals and we do not remove signs from private property.  If someone is missing a sign from the right of way, they should contact our Asset Maintenance contractor, Transfield Services here in Marathon at (305) 289-4360 to see if it’s been logged in.  They will then have an opportunity to retrieve the sign for a period of two weeks before it is then taken to the transfer station.”

October 17, 2012

Loud music leads to drug arrest

Key Largo – Deputies who responded to reports of loud, vulgar music blaring from a vehicle parked at Key Largo Community Park Tuesday evening arrested a 19 year old for possessing a felony amount of marijuana. The reporting person said she’d asked him to turn the music down, but he and others with him had begun yelling at her.

When deputies arrived at the park at 6:45 p.m., they found a silver colored Charger parked, with its doors wide open and music blaring loudly from the car. The driver, a 17 year old Tavernier boy, walked over and turned the music down when he saw them arrive. As Deputy Vaughn O’Keefe spoke with the driver, he could smell the distinct odor of marijuana coming from the car. Deputy Pedro Garcia was also present. He glanced in the window and saw a green leafy substance on the floor boards.

A brown colored purse was located on the back seat. The driver told deputies it belonged to his friend, 19 year old Aaron Marietta of Islamorada. He said he didn’t know Marietta had placed the bag in the car, but he’d seen Marietta with it in the past. He said Marietta uses the purse to carry marijuana. He said Marietta has been selling marijuana for several weeks, admitting that he has purchased some from Marietta in the past.

Marietta was found nearby and admitted the bag belonged to him. Inside the bag, deputies found a total of 83 grams of marijuana. They also found plastic bags used to package the illegal substance, rolling papers and a grinder. Marietta was arrested. He was charged with possession of a felony amount of marijuana within 1000 feet of a park and possession of drug paraphernalia and he was booked into jail.

A package of cigarettes was found in the 17 year old’s pocket. He was issued a Juvenile citation for being a minor in possession of tobacco. He was turned over to the custody of his father.

October 16, 2012

Small child found in a canal dies despite resuscitation efforts

Detectives from the Sheriff’s Major Crimes Unit are investigating the death of a small child who was pulled from a canal on Sugarloaf Key Monday and could not be resuscitated.

Deputies were dispatched to Green Turtle Lane to reports of a 6 year old boy, not breathing. According to adults on the scene, he was last seen sitting on a porch eating pistachios. His mother, 29 year old Carletta Butler of Key West, was inside, feeding her second child, a newborn baby.

When she went to check on the 6 year old – Jaydean Butler - he was no longer sitting on the porch. She and another adult, 42 year old Adrian Poitier of Sugarloaf Key, went looking for him and found him in the canal, not responsive.

They pulled him from the canal and were performing cardio pulmonary resuscitation when deputies arrived and took over CPR.

Paramedics also responded and made attempts to resuscitate the child as well, with no success.

Detectives will be investigating the circumstances of the case.

October 14, 2012

Traffic stop leads to two drug arrests

Marathon – Two women were arrested Friday night after a traffic stop on their vehicle which had a tag light out.

Detective Nick Whiteman was on patrol at 9 p.m. when he spotted the beige colored Nissan four door passenger car with a tag light out. He pulled it over at 33rd Street in Marathon.

When the detective approached the driver’s side of the vehicle, he could smell a strong odor of marijuana coming from inside. He asked the driver, 26 year old Sierra Williams of Miami for permission to search the car and she agreed. There were two female passengers in the car as well.

Deputies Spenser Bryan and Anthony O’Dea, along with Sgt. Ken Fricke, responded as back up. Under the driver’s seat, the detective found hundreds of small purple colored ziplock bags. Hidden behind a side panel on the front passenger side, he found a large amount of marijuana in 95 separate plastic bags, packaged as if for sale.

Passenger Brandi Harley, 26, of Key West told Detective Whiteman the marijuana was hers. She was arrested. Driver Williams had a prescription bottle not in her name with Oxycodone inside. She was also arrested. The third person in the vehicle was released.

The marijuana weighed a total of 142 grams. Harley was charged with possessing a felony amount of marijuana, possession of marijuana with intent to sell and possession of drug paraphernalia. Williams was charged with possession of a controlled substance. Both women were booked into jail.

Fire destroys home on Loeb Avenue

Key Largo – Deputies and firefighters responded to a residential fire on Loeb Avenue in Key Largo Saturday afternoon.

Deputy Sever Hustad arrived at 223 Loeb Avenue at 3:17 p.m. and spoke with the home’s resident. The victim said he was cooking chicken on the stove when the grease caught fire.

He said he tried to put the fire out with water, but it spread up the wall. Firefighters from both Key Largo and Tavernier responded and extinguished the blaze, but the mobile home suffered extensive damage.

The Fire Marshal’s Office will be investigating.

Accidents with injury

Saturday, 5:49 p.m. - Three children were transported to Mariner’s Hospital with injuries Saturday afternoon after an accident on Snapper Avenue near the 103.4 mile marker of the highway in Key Largo. The accident reportedly involved two pickup trucks and a parked vehicle. Florida Highway patrol responded and will be investigating.

Friday, 9:23 p.m., 97 mile marker in Rock Harbor – a man was airlifted to a Miami hospital after an accident involving a motorcycle. Florida Highway patrol responded and is investigating.

October 10, 2012

Man found dead, floating in the water off Key Largo

Key Largo – A Key Largo man was found dead in the water offshore of the Florida Bay Club, on the bay side of the 103.5 mile marker of the highway today.

Detective Deborah Ryan of the Major Crimes Unit says there were no signs of foul play in evidence on the body of 58 year old Robert Thomas Gannaway of Key Largo when he was pulled from the water. An autopsy will be done to determine the cause of his death.

Gannaway’s wife told Detective Ryan she woke up at 5 a.m. and found that her husband was gone from the house. He left his wallet and cell phone at home. His truck was gone.

At 10:20 a.m., Sheriff’s dispatchers received a call that a man’s body had been found just offshore of the Florida Bay Club. The body was identified as Gannaway.

His truck was found a short time later parked near Adam’s Cut Bridge, where Detective Ryan believes he most likely went into the water.

Search warrant leads to drug arrest

Stock Island - The Sheriff's Special Weapons and Tactics Team, Special Investigations detectives, and the Drug Enforcement Administration executed a search warrant Tuesday at 12:30 P.M.on Stock Island.

The warrant was served at 35-A 8th Avenue. As entry was made through the front of the trailer, 19 year old Jack Dennis Cantres ran out the back and was detained by detectives. The search turned up a half of a cookie of crack cocaine, the equivalent of about 45 crack cocaine rocks. Also found were  131 grams of powdered cocaine, 202 grams of marijuana and scales with drug residue. Detectives seized $4,841.00 in suspected drug proceeds. Several chickens on the property were turned over to the Florida Keys SPCA.

Cantres was arrested and charged with trafficking in cocaine and felony possession of marijuana with intent to sell. He also faces charges of possession of a counterfeit drivers license, and possession of drug paraphernalia. More charges are still pending.

October 8, 2012

Teen arrested for fleeing police, stolen auto

A 17 year old Cudjoe teen, arrested Friday for burglarizing vehicles on Big Pine Key, was arrested again today for fleeing from deputies in a stolen car.

Deputy Michael Claudy was parked in Layton at 3:30 a.m.  when driver Nicholas Burttram drove by him in a white pickup truck with “Pepsi” on the side in excess of 100 miles per hour, southbound. When Deputy Claudy pulled behind the truck and turned on his lights and siren, Burttram refused to stop.

Deputies at two locations in Marathon attempted to use tire spikes to stop the truck; Burttram used evasive maneuvers to drive around the spikes on both occasions, continuing at a high rate of speed. Deputies finally turned off lights and sirens on the Seven Mile Bridge in the hopes Burttram would slow down.

They followed Burttram at a distance to Sands Road on Big Pine Key, where he turned off the highway. He finally came to a stop at a residence on Avenue C on Big Pine Key. He was taken into custody at that location without incident. In the car, deputies found a bottle of Vodka that was almost empty. Burttram said he refused to stop for deputies because he was angry.

The truck he was driving turned out to have been stolen from a residence on Cudjoe Key.

Burttram was charged with fleeing police, reckless driving, burglary and theft of an automobile, possession of alcohol by a minor and resisting arrest. He was booked at the Marathon jail and turned over to the Department of Juvenile Justice.

October 5, 2012

Cudjoe teen charged with car burglaries

Big Pine Key – Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to a Big Pine Key neighborhood early today to reports of a young man knocking on doors, talking and not making any sense.

Deputy John Gabay first went to a home on Avenue G at 1:30 a.m. The homeowner told him a young male in a white tank top and shorts knocked on his door. He said the young man was speaking but not making sense, so he called the Sheriff’s Office for assistance. As Deputy Gabay was at that location, a second call came in from Avenue D. A woman reported a man on her front porch wearing a white tank top and shorts was banging furniture around saying he was going to kill everybody.

Deputy Gabay responded to that location. He found the male, identified as 17 year old Nicholas Burttram, laying in the woods near the house. A vehicle parked at the home on Avenue D, had been burglarized. The glove compartment had been ransacked. A watch and a pack of cigarettes from the car were found in Burttram’s pocket. Also in his pocket was a GPS, and an Ipod.

Sgt. Mark Maison arrived as backup. He turned the GPS on and pushed the “home” button. The GPS gave an Avenue E address. The officers responded to the address and found a car which appeared to have been burglarized. The homeowner confirmed a GPS and an Ipod had been taken from his car.

All the property was returned to the owners. Burttram was still saying things that didn’t make sense and appeared to be under the influence of some type of controlled substance so an ambulance was called to the scene to make sure he was all right.

After he was checked out by paramedics, he was placed under arrest for two counts of vehicle burglary and two counts of theft.

Key Largo man charged with fleeing police

Key Largo – A Key Largo man who attempted to flee from deputies early today was arrested.

Deputy Darnell Durham was stationary at the 102 mile marker at 1:40 a.m. when he saw 23 year old George Bosque, driving a Mercedes, run a stop sign at Laguna Avenue and U.S. One at a high rate of speed. The deputy pulled out to follow Bosque, who accelerated northbound.

Deputy Durham attempted to stop the vehicle using his lights and sirens, but Bosque refused to stop. Deputy Kyle Page was also in the area. He spotted the speeding vehicle just north of Pennekamp State Park. As he pulled behind the vehicle with his lights and siren activated, the vehicle turned right onto Collins Drive at a high rate of speed.

Bosque finally pulled over at the intersection of Collins Drive and Largo Avenue. He was placed under arrest. Inside the car, Deputy Page found an open Budweiser beer and a prescription bottle with marijuana inside.

Bosque was charged with fleeing from police, careless driving, possession of marijuana, possession of an open container of alcohol, running a stop sign, and not wearing a safety belt. After rolling papers were found in his pocket at the Plantation Key Detention Center, he was also charged with possession of drug paraphernalia and introduction of contraband to a detention facility.

October 1, 2012

On Friday, the Special Investigations Division conducted an operation checking businesses that sell alcohol in the Middle Keys. Eleven businesses were checked including restaurants, convenience stores and bars. Two of the businesses served alcohol to minors during our investigations. The two people who sold the alcohol were given notices to appear before a Monroe County Judge. 

Brass Monkey Package store 232 55th St Marathon, Fl attendant – 79 year old Gloria Anne Holohan.

Citgo Gas Station 11011 Overseas HWY Marathon, Fl attendant – 60 year old Asep Tatang Sutardi 

The Sales Clerk violations are up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine, $235 in court costs, $75 in cost of prosecution, and $40 in cost of investigation.

The Licensee Violations include:

The remaining businesses checked, were in compliance with the law.

This operation was conducted in cooperation with the Monroe County Coalition for a Safe and Drug Free Community.