Monroe County Sheriff’s Office
Daily Crime and Information Report

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

September 25, 2002

Three arrested for stealing truck

Islamorada – Four young men were arrested Tuesday evening, charged with stealing a truck from an Islamorada bar.

The owner of the truck told deputies he parked at Hog Heaven, at the 85 mile marker, and went inside just before 6:30 p.m. He reportedly left it unlocked, with the keys on the floorboard. A few minutes later, he saw his truck pulling out of the parking lot northbound, and called the Sheriff’s Office to report the theft. He said his truck was being followed by another truck when it left the lot.

Deputies put out a notice to be on the lookout for the two trucks over police radios. A short time later, someone called Sheriff’s dispatchers to report two trucks with a similar description driving recklessly at the 92 mile marker.

Deputy Jason Madnick was northbound at the 93 mile marker when he spotted one of the trucks pulling out of the parking area of the Jewish Community Center. The truck, which turned out not to be the one that was stolen, was pulled over and the four people inside were detained for questioning. The stolen truck was later found parked behind the Community Center.

After further investigations, all four were arrested and charged with Grand Theft Auto.19 year old Stephen Leonard of Tavernier, 18 year old Charles Olver of Key Largo, 17 year old Joseph O’Rourke and 17 year old Joseph Leboeuf of Tavernier were all booked at the Monroe County Detention Center.

O’Rourke was also charged with resisting arrest because he initially refused to cooperate and gave deputies a false name. Olver, the driver of the truck, was charged with possession of marijuana after a small amount of marijuana was found inside the vehicle.

The stolen truck was returned to the owner.

September 24, 2002

Traffic stop results in drug arrests

 Marathon.  A search of a car stopped for speeding in Marathon Monday afternoon turned up a large amount of marijuana.  Sheriff’s deputies pulled over the driver of a northbound 1989 Cadillac shortly after four p.m. near mile marker 48.  After issuing a speeding ticket to the driver, identified as 35-year old Dallas F. Yates, of Key West, Deputies received permission to search the vehicle.  The owner, 38-year old Cynthia H. Slaunwhite-also of Key West-was a passenger in the car.  Deputy John O’Malley discovered a film container filled with a leafy substance that field-tested positive for marijuana.  Deputy Manuel Cuervo arrived on scene with his drug-sniffing K-9 “Hooch.” The dog alerted to drugs in the trunk of the car. Deputies found a bag filled with 242 grams of marijuana.  Deputies also found 68 pills, identified as Valium. Slaunwhite told deputies she purchased the pills without a prescription from an Internet site.

Deputies arrested Yates and Slaunwhite on charges of possession of a controlled substance. Slaunwhite’s car was seized for possible forfeiture. Both were booked into the county jail.

Sept. 19, 2002

Major cocaine trafficking bust

 Two Miami men are in the county jail after they sold two kilos of cocaine to undercover Monroe County Sheriff’s detectives Wednesday afternoon at a resort parking lot in Islamorada.  The arrests followed a lengthy investigation by the Sheriff’s Office, Drug Enforcement Administration, Florida Department of Law Enforcement and State Attorney’s Office. 

The investigation centered on 34-year old Lazaro Urbay.  Undercover officers from the Special Investigations Unit purchased small amounts of cocaine from Urbay on two occasions and then arranged to buy three kilos of cocaine from him.  The undercover officers met Urbay and another man identified as 44-year old Pedro Valdez, of Miami, at the resort’s parking lot Wednesday afternoon. Urbay produced only two kilos of cocaine. After a deal was made to purchase the drugs for 45 thousand dollars, the undercover officers signaled to members of the Special Response Team.  The SRT members and other law enforcement officers moved in and arrested Urbay and Valdez without incident.

Urbay is charged with three counts of trafficking in cocaine and one count of sale of cocaine.  Valdez is charged with being a principle in the first degree for his participation in the drug deal.

The two kilos of cocaine seized by lawmen were wrapped in bright colored plastic and adorned with happy face drawings.  The cocaine had a street value of over one hundred thousand dollars.

 Traffic Unit will concentrate on Poker Run bikers

 The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Traffic Unit will be on their motorcycles monitoring bikers in the Keys during this weekend’s Poker Run.  Hundreds of motorcycle drivers will be on U.S. One heading to Key West on Saturday.  The Sheriff’s motorcycle units will be stationed at various locations in the Keys to monitor the bikers heading south on Saturday and returning north on Sunday.  In addition to the motorcycle units,  four traffic deputies in marked patrol will also be assigned to monitor the bikers.  The traffic deputies will be looking for moving violations, including reckless driving, speeding and passing on the right.  Sheriff Richard Roth says the extra enforcement effort is designed to help make the Poker Run a safe event for everyone.

Cocaine Trafficking arrest

 Members of the Sheriff’s Special Investigations Unit arrested 50-year old Jose Sanchez Gonzalez on cocaine trafficking charges September 12. The undercover officers made three cocaine buys from Gonzalez during the investigation.  Officers stopped Gonzalez on U.S. One at mile marker 67.  A search of his 2002 Chevy Impala failed to turn up any drugs, but the car was seized because it was used during the previous drug deals.  Gonzalez, who resides in Marathon, is charged with two counts of trafficking in cocaine and one count of sale of cocaine.  Bond is set at one hundred thousand dollars.

 Sept. 11, 2002

Home Invasion Robbery Arrest

 Marathon-Three suspects were arrested Tuesday night in connection with a home invasion robbery in Marathon.  The incident started around 8 p.m. when the suspects reportedly tried to rob a 17-year old victim on 51st Street.  The 17-year fled into a nearby friend’s house, followed by the three suspects.  Inside the house, the suspects ripped a gold chain from the neck of another victim. The suspects reportedly fled in a black Dodge passenger car.  Another witness, who followed the suspects’ car to Tuskegee Avenue in Marathon, reported the location to the Sheriff’s Office.  After locating the suspects’ vehicle, parked at Lot 7, 3901 Tuskegee Avenue, Deputies detained three suspects who were in the house.  Witnesses and victims from the home invasion on 51st Street positively identified the three suspects, who were taken into custody.  Deputies arrested 20-year old Jaffre Ross and 17-year old DeAnthony Ross on home invasion charges.  DeAnthony Ross was also charged with robbery for allegedly taking the gold chain, which was recovered by Deputies.  The third suspect, 20-year old Terrance Holmes is charged with being a principle in the first degree for his involvement in the home invasion.  All three suspects are from Marathon.

 Two arrested for murdering Homestead man and dumping his body in the Upper Keys

 Two suspects have been arrested in connection with the discovery of a body in the Upper Keys on August 29.  Monroe County Sheriff’s detectives, working with Metro-Dade investigators were able to identify the victim from a missing person’s report and were able to trace the killers through a cell phone found near the body.

The victim, 24-year old Ymeri Lelis Fuentes, was listed in a missing person’s report in Homestead, Florida.  Relatives identified the body.  Investigators traced the cell phone to 29-year old Jorge Segovia, also from Homestead.  Metro-Dade investigators say Segovia admitted to beating and robbing Fuentes on August 18 and then dumping his body just off the 18-mile stretch.  Segovia also implicated another Homestead man, identified as 35-year old Jose Luis Sanchez.   Both men were arrested Monday on homicide and robbery charges.

 Car jacking suspect arrested

 A Key Largo man is charged with a car jacking that occurred in the Upper Keys on August eighth. Sheriff’s detectives, with an assist from a couple of tips phoned in on the Crime Stoppers’ hotline, arrested 24-year old Robert E. Ecuyer.  The victim of the car jacking told authorities that the incident occurred after he accidentally rear-ended a small pickup truck.  When he got out to exchange information with the female who was driving the pickup, the victim said a man attacked him.  The victim said the suspect stole his truck after dragging him out of it and hitting him several more times.  The stolen truck was subsequently recovered.  Sheriff’s investigators were able to locate the female involved in the incident. Crime Stopper tips named Ecuyer as the suspect.  Ecuyer turned out to be the boyfriend of the female.  Detectives arrested Ecuyer on Aug 15 after the victim identified him.  Ecuyer also admitted to being involved in the incident when detectives interviewed him.

 Candidate Joan Nelson arrested

 County Commission candidate, Joan Nelson (also known as “Bicycle Joanne”) was arrested at a Marathon restaurant early this morning.  Sheriff’s deputies were called to the restaurant at approximately 1:30 a.m. by the management who stated that Nelson was causing a disturbance and was refusing to leave the premises.  Nelson would not leave the establishment and  she refused to provide identification to the deputies.  Nelson was arrested for refusing to leave the business.  She was also charged with arresting arrest without violence for pulling away from the officer as he tried to handcuff her.  Nelson complained of an arm injury or possible broken arm during the arrest.  She was taken to Fisherman’s Hospital, but an exam did not show any broken bones or serious injury.

 Trauma Star Helicopter Transports accident victim

 The Sheriff’s Trauma Star helicopter transported a seriously injured man to Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami Tuesday afternoon.  The victim was injured at a Stock Island business when a truck tire exploded while he was changing it.  The 51-year old victim suffered extensive facial injuries.

 Rewards offered for information about animal cruelty incidents

 A one thousand-dollar reward and a Crime Stoppers’ reward of up to one thousand dollars are being offered for information leading to an arrest or arrests in connection with the shootings of two wild birds.

In the first incident, a Great White heron was found shot dead on the salt-water flats near Conch Key on July 29.  A necropsy showed that a single projectile severed the jugular vein in the bird’s neck.

In the second incident, a severely injured Roseate Spoonbill was found near Conch Key on July 2.  An x-ray revealed that ten small, round projectiles, likely buck shot, were lodged in the bird’s chest and wing.  The bird is recovering at last report.

Anyone with information should call the Sheriff’s Office.  Anonymous calls can be made to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-346-8477.  Crime Stoppers will pay up to one thousand dollars for information leading to an arrest.  The Marathon Wild Bird Center says that Marathon resident, Rich Moretti, will also donate one thousand dollars for arrest information.

Trauma Star evacuates traffic accident victim 

The Sheriff’s Trauma Star helicopter evacuated a traffic accident victim to Mariner Hospital and then to Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami on Saturday afternoon.  The accident with injuries occurred at the 93-mile marker.  The Highway Patrol investigated the accident.









Sept. 6, 2002

Two more arrests in Upper Keys gun theft case


Sheriff’s detectives, working with the State Attorney’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, have arrested two more suspects linked to the theft of over 13-thousand dollars worth of guns from an Islamorada residence in June.

The weapons, which included a fully automatic submachine gun, shotgun, rifles and silencers, were stolen from a gun safe during a party at the victim’s house. 

Initial investigation led to the arrest of 17-year old Josiah O’Neil MacShane, of Key Largo, on August 8.  MacShane is accused of distracting the homeowner’s son during the theft.

Investigators, led by Sheriff’s Detective David Carey, used information obtained from MacShane and an informant to obtain arrest warrants for 19-year old Nathaniel Cummings of Key Largo and 18-year old Daniel Ginjauma, of Tavernier. Detectives also interviewed several witnesses who heard the teens bragging about the theft.  Both are charged with actually taking the weapons from the gun safe. They were booked into county jail on bonds of 75 thousand dollars, charged with grand theft of firearms.

Investigators are still trying to recover the stolen firearms.   Anyone with information should call Detective Carey at 853-3211.  Crime Stoppers will pay cash for information leading to recovery of the firearms. Tipsters may remain anonymous. The Crime Stoppers’ hotline is 1-800-346-8477 (TIPS).


Art Behind Bars Benefit


Art behind bars, the art-based community service program for inmates in the Monroe County Detention Center, is pleased to announce that it will celebrate its “Eighth Birthday Party Show” on Friday, September 20th, 2002, at the Pier House Resort’s Caribbean Spa from 6-9 p.m.  In addition to showcasing the artwork and community service projects of the local program, highlights of the event will include a show of inmate art from all over the country, and a silent auction featuring the work of local and national artists.  Also featured will be the work of Art After Bars.  There will be food, entertainment by Jim Wist, and of course, birthday cake. The show will remain on view at the Pier House through Sunday, Sept. 22.

The event is sponsored in part by Zonta, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, the Florida Keys Council of the Arts, The State of Florida, Division Cultural Affairs, Florida Arts Council, the National Endowment of the Arts, Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville and private donations.

Art behind Bars is a 501(c) -3 non-profit organization.  All proceeds from the event go back into the program; this is the major fundraiser of the year. For more information check out the award winning website at