Monroe County Sheriff’s Office
Daily Crime and Information Report

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

June 28, 2001

Bank Robber identified

Marathon- The man who robbed TIB Bank in Marathon June 21st has been identified as a Marathon resident named Chris Alan Peak. Peak is wanted on felony charges of armed robbery.

A caller to the Crime Stoppers hot line identified the bank robber as Peak, and gave significant information about his location and activities prior to the robbery taking place. Investigating detectives discovered that Peak had been released from Florida State prison in May, where he’d spent the last nine years for an armed robbery he committed in 1992 in Broward County. Detectives showed a picture of Peak to the tellers who saw him and they positively identified him as the robber.

The investigation revealed Peak worked at Denny’s Restaurant as a cook and lived at an apartment above Fred’s Beds in Marathon. Detectives say they searched the apartment, and believe Peak left the Marathon area shortly after robbing the bank. They believe Peak was having money problems prior to committing the crime. They say he asked friends and the people he worked with for money. He was also treated at Fisherman’s Hospital a short time before for heart problems, and is currently believed to be on medication for his heart.

Detectives found a knife handle outside the bank which they say Peak may have used during the robbery, as well as a pair of sunglasses discarded a block away which they believe he work when he robbed the bank.

Detective Ron Sylvester is the lead investigator on the case, and has been assisted by other detectives and deputies from the Sheriff’s Office and other state and federal agencies. Anyone who has information which might lead detectives to Peak should call the Marathon substation immediately at 289-2430. Callers who wish to remain anonymous can call the Crime Stoppers hot line number. If a tip leads to Peak’s arrest, the caller would be eligible for a monetary reward. The Crime Stoppers hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS.

June 27, 2001

Search Warrant leads to drug arrest

Marathon – A search warrant Friday led to the arrest of a Marathon man for possession of Marijuana.

The Sheriff’s Special Investigations Division served the search warrant at 6:30 a.m. Friday at 1571 Overseas Highway, #93. The resident of the trailer, 53 year old Manuel Meneses was arrested after the search turned up 100 grams of Marijuana. The illegal drugs were found in a jar, hidden in an air conditioning duct. The marijuana was packaged for sale in 15 individual packages. Various items of drug paraphernalia were also found in the home.

Meneses was charged with possession of Marijuana and drug paraphernalia and he was taken to the Monroe County Detention Center.

Couple charged with attempted arson

Big Coppitt Key – A man and woman were arrested Tuesday night after they threatened to kill another couple and dumped gasoline around the inside of a Big Coppitt Key home in an apparent effort to carry out the threat.

The victims told Deputy John Gabay that 36 year old Stephanie Banks and 45 year old Perry Bullock of Stock Island arrived at their Big Coppitt Key home at 10 p.m. Banks, who had reportedly been “partying” with the two victims earlier in the day, accused them of stealing $1,000.00 from her purse.

Bullock allegedly pulled out a knife and threatened to kill them. He cut both of them on the neck and chest with the knife while Banks began dumping gasoline inside the trailer.  Bullock then began lighting matches, threatening to burn down the trailer.

A neighbor heard the ruckus and came to the trailer to check it out. He took the gasoline can away from Banks, and Banks and Bullock both left the area. The victims then called the Sheriff’s Office.

Bullock and Banks were later found at their home on 4th Avenue, Stock Island. They were placed under arrest. Bullock was charged with two counts of aggravated battery and one count of attempted arson. Banks was charged with attempted arson. Both were booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

Marathon man arrested in road rage incident

Marathon – A Marathon man was arrested Tuesday evening after he bashed in the side of another man’s vehicle in an argument over the sale of a boat.

The victim told Sgt. Sam Cassel he was northbound on the highway just after 8 p.m. when 29 year old Shawn Johnson of Marathon drove up next to him and began yelling threats. Johnson then allegedly began ramming his 1999 Chevy truck into the side of the victim’s 1993 GMC Suburban, which was towing a boat trailer.

Johnson then allegedly pulled in front of the victim’s vehicle and slammed on his brakes. He jumped out of his truck and walked toward the victim’s vehicle, continuing to yell threats. The victim, who was afraid he would be hurt by Johnson, drove over the highway median in an attempt to get away. Johnson followed, continuing to ram into the side of the victim’s vehicle.

The victim pulled up in front of the Marathon fire station and called for help on his cellular phone. Deputy Joel Slough and Sgt. Cassel arrived on the scene, along with two officers from the Florida Highway Patrol.

Witnesses corroborated the victim’s account of what happened. The incident reportedly took place as the result of some type of civil dispute regarding the purchase of a boat. Johnson was arrested, charged with aggravated assault and willful wanton reckless driving, and he was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center. Damage to the truck, the Suburban and the boat trailer is estimated to be $10,000.00.


June 21, 2001

Large amount of cocaine found

Key Largo – Sheriff’s deputies recovered a large amount of cocaine Wednesday. The 25 kilos were found under a tree in an empty lot at the end of Ocean Bay Drive.

Dispatchers received an anonymous call from a person who said there was a large black plastic bag containing cocaine in that location. Deputy Jose Carballo responded and recovered the package, which was wrapped multiple times with plastic, some type of leather-like material, mesh, and was finally secured with a padlock. When the package was opened it contained 25 individually wrapped kilo packages of cocaine.

Anyone with information about the drugs should contact the Sheriff’s Office. Callers who wish to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. If a tip leads to an arrest, the caller would be eligible for a reward. The Crime Stoppers hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS.

Bank Robbery suspect

Bank Robbery, Marathon

Marathon – Sheriff’s detectives are investigating a robbery at TIB Bank in Marathon.

The robbery took place Thursday just before 11 a.m. at the TIB bank on 114th Street in Marathon. A man walked into the bank, showed the teller a knife, telling her he wanted money. He was given money, and he left the bank on foot.

The suspect is described as a white male, about 40 years old, five foot nine inches tall, approximately 140 pounds, balding with brown hair. He was wearing large sunglasses, a yellow collared shirt, blue jeans, and a brown belt.

Anyone with information should contact the Sheriff’s Office immediately. Callers who wish to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. If a tip leads to an arrest, the caller would be eligible for a reward. The Crime Stoppers hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS.

Big Pine woman arrested for burglary, forgery

Big Pine Key – Sheriff’s detectives arrested a Big Pine Key woman who admitted to burglarizing a home, pawning the stolen property, and forging stolen checks.

Detective John McGee arrested 36 year old Anna Cervantes at a Big Pine Key Pawn Shop Wednesday on outstanding warrants for forgery. She allegedly stole checks from a man and forged them, cashing them at a local bank. The case was investigated by Detective Reace Thompson, who obtained the warrants for her arrest.

During interviews with Detective McGee, Cervantes admitted to breaking in to a house on Big Pine Key on June 6th. She said she was “partying” with a friend and he kicked her out of his house in the early morning hours. She said she later broke into his house and stole several items in retribution for him kicking her out. She said she took the stolen items, including a stereo, a cordless drill and a saber saw, and pawned them for cash. The items were recovered from the pawn shop and will be returned to the owner.

She also admitted to forging the checks. She said she stole additional checks she didn’t cash. She said she tore them up and threw them away because she got scared. She said she committed these crimes because she is addicted to drugs and needed the money.

Cervantes was charged with burglary, dealing in stolen property and two counts of forgery and she was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

Man and young girl charged with drug possession

Tavernier – An upper Keys man and his young girlfriend were arrested Wednesday and charged with possession of cocaine after detectives called him to set up a drug deal.

Detectives from the Sheriff’s Special Investigations Division called 22 year old Gabriel Robles Wednesday and asked to purchase cocaine from him. They met him at an upper Keys restaurant and immediately placed him under arrest. Robles was wanted for three outstanding warrants for sale of cocaine. The warrants were issued after Robles sold undercover officers drugs on three previous occasions.

A search of Robles car turned up 10.5 grams of cocaine. Robles’ 14 year old girlfriend, Brianna Bartholomew, was in the car with him and was caught trying to hide the cocaine behind her feet on the passenger side floorboard.

Robles was arrested and charged with the three outstanding warrants, and with possession of cocaine. Bartholomew was also arrested and charged with sale of cocaine. Both were booked at the Monroe County Detention Center. Bond on the three outstanding warrants was set at a total of $45,000.


June 18, 2001

“Reverse Stings” net two narcotics arrests

Detectives with the Special Investigations Unit of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office arrested two men on narcotics charges following separate “reverse sting” operations in the Lower Keys Friday (June 15, 2001).

In the first investigation, undercover detectives arranged to sell forty pounds of marijuana to 22-year old Peter F. Rybas, of Key West. Rybas agreed to meet behind a service station in the Stock Island area, but stated he only wanted eight pounds of marijuana. Rybas paid thirty two hundred dollars for the package of marijuana. The undercover detectives immediately arrested him on charges of solicitation to traffic in marijuana and possession of marijuana.

In the second investigation, 32-year old Matthew J. Roberts, of Key West, made a deal with undercover detectives to buy five ounces of powdered cocaine for thirty five hundred dollars cash. Roberts agreed to meet on Government Road in Key West. He was arrested after accepting the cocaine and handing over the cash. Roberts was taken to jail, charged with trafficking in cocaine. A search of Roberts turned up 261 blue pills that were later identified as Lorcet, a prescription painkiller. Roberts is also charged with possession of that controlled substance.

June 12, 2001

Crime Stopper tip busts drug selling taxi driver

An anonymous Crime Stopper tip lead to the arrest of a taxi driver who was selling drugs in the Marathon area. 53-year old Kenneth Shower was taken into custody late Monday after he sold marijuana to an undercover detective with the Sheriff’s Office. The arrest followed a month long investigation that was initiated because of a Crime Stopper tip about Shower’s activities. Detectives from the Special Investigations Unit of the Sheriff’s Office made two earlier undercover marijuana buys from Shower before arresting him. Detectives seized Shower’s taxicab. A search of the vehicle turned up a small amount of marijuana. Shower was a driver for Action Taxi of Marathon. He is currently jailed on charges of three counts of sale of marijuana and two counts of possession of less than twenty grams of marijuana. The tipster, who provided information about Shower, is eligible for a cash reward. The Crime Stoppers’ civilian board of directors will determine the reward amount. A code number issued to the tipster will be used to pick up the cash.

Please note a clarification for the daily report issued June 12, 2001: The defendant worked for Action Taxi, but the drug deals were made from the defendant's personal car, which was the vehicle seized. The taxi cab was not seized as stated in the story.

June 11, 2001

Thirty thousand dollars worth of cocaine seized

(Stock Island) Over thirty-thousand dollars worth of cocaine and twelve thousand dollars in cash were seized by members of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Special Investigations unit late last Thursday (June 7, 2001) on Stock Island. The seizure followed investigation of tips about drug dealing by 36-year old John Kerr at the Stock Island Apartment complex. After questioning by detectives, Kerr consented to a search of his apartment. Detectives found 600 grams of powdered cocaine and twelve thousand dollars cash hidden inside the apartment. Kerr was arrested on charges of trafficking in cocaine. He was booked into the county detention center on Stock Island.

Detectives from the Special Investigations Unit late Thursday also served a search warrant at number 127 Roy’s Trailer Park on Stock Island. Detectives seized a small amount of cocaine and arrested the occupant, 30-year old Steven Jones, on charges of possession of narcotics. Detectives were investigating complaints about drug selling in the area.

Key West Airport temporarily closed after discovery of suspicious luggage

Key West International Airport was closed for about 35 minutes while officials checked out an unattended duffel bag left on the floor of the main terminal waiting area this morning (Monday, June 11, 2001). Airport Security Sergeant Jerome Fain said the black duffel bag was discovered about 10:50 a.m. Sgt. Fain said that after public announcements failed to turn up the bag’s owner, he called the Bomb Squad at the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office and also ordered evacuation of the airport terminal. Bomb squad Sgt. Bobby Randolph moved the duffel bag out of the terminal to a remote area of the airport. Sgt. Randolph used a robot equipped with an x-ray device to examine the bag. The examination determined that the bag didn’t contain dangerous materials. Fain said the duffel bag

had clothing and other miscellaneous items inside but no identification. After determining that the bag posed no danger, the airport was opened and normal operations resumed, according to Sgt. Fain.

June 7, 2001

Solicitation to commit murder arrest

A Key Largo man is under arrest for trying to hire a hit man to kill his girlfriend’s lovers. 39-year old Ricardo Antonio Delahoz was taken into custody today after he made a deal with an undercover officer posing as the hit man. The case started when Monroe County Sheriff’s detective Scott Robinson received information that Delahoz wanted to hire a killer. Robinson arranged for an undercover officer to meet with Delahoz. The officer, using a concealed device, recorded several conversations with Delahoz, who stated that he wanted to kill two men who were having sex with his girlfriend. Delahoz also stated that he would kill one of the men himself. Delahoz arranged to get a gun from the supposed hit man in exchange for a couple of chain saws. Delahoz stated he would steal the chain saws from his employer, the State Department of Transportation. Delahoz also agreed to pay for the killing by turning over the title to his 1993 compact car.

A meeting was arranged outside the Key Largo Fire Department this afternoon. Delahoz showed up with a case of Department of Transportation weed killer, instead of the chainsaws. He told the undercover officer, posing as the hit man, that the weed killer was worth over 250 dollars. Delahoz also stated that he wanted to go through with the killings and would sign over the title of his car as payment. After making those statements, the undercover officer signaled other lawmen in the area. The officers quickly moved in and arrested Delahoz on charges of soliciting for murder. A search of his car turned up a small amount of cocaine and the illegal drug oxycodone. He was also charged with possession of narcotics.

The Sheriff’s Special Investigations unit, the State Department of Transportation and the State Department of Corrections Investigative Branch assisted in the investigation of the case and the arrest of Delahoz.

June 5, 2001

Molestation arrest

Sheriff’s Deputies Sunday arrested 36-year old Swe-Yed Alam, of Marathon, on charges of lewd and lascivious molestation of a child under 12 years of age. Deputies made the arrest following a complaint filed by the parents of an eight-year-old boy, who stated that their son had been molested by Alam at a Marathon convenience store. The boy told his parents that Alam, a clerk at the store, had grabbed his genital area. Deputies first interviewed the victim and then a young companion who witnessed the incident. Both of the boys’ stated that Alam had walked from behind the store counter and grabbed the crotch area of the eight year old. Alam told Deputies that he did not touch the boy. Alam stated he did approach the boy, but only made a motion towards the boy’s crotch area. After taking statements and further investigation by the Sheriff’s Crimes Against Women and Children’s Unit, Alam was taken into custody and booked into the county jail at Marathon.

Abandoned buildings to removed from Friendship Park (Hibiscus Park)

Three abandoned buildings and a derelict trailer will be removed from Friendship Park at Key Largo this Friday morning by members of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, Waste Management, County Code Enforcement and heavy duty equipment operator, Enos Mitchell. The cooperative effort will rid Friendship Park of the three eyesores that have harbored illegal activities, such as drug dealing, drug use and illegal dumping. The project will begin at approximately 9:30 a.m. on Friday, June 7, 2001.

Drug arrest following traffic stop

Sheriff’s Deputy Matt Dowling stopped a moped driver Sunday afternoon in the Stock Island area after observing the driver heading southbound in the northbound emergency lane. The driver identified himself as 59-year old Juan Torna, of Key West. A computer check revealed that Torna did not have a driver’s license. Torna was placed under arrest and handcuffed, but pulled away and started running. Despite the handcuffs, Torna was able to grab a plastic bag hanging from his moped and then duck into a nearby building. Deputy Dowling and Deputy Boyd Williams apprehended Torna inside the building after a short chase. The Deputies confiscated the plastic bag, which contained a pipe and 18 small crack rocks that tested positive for cocaine. Torna was taken to the county jail, charged with escape and possession of cocaine and narcotics paraphernalia.