Monroe County Sheriff’s Office
Daily Crime and Information Report

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


April 30, 2003

(audio .wav file)

Georgia man arrested for drugs; large amount of cash seized

Middle Torch Key – A Georgia man was arrested Tuesday night after deputies were called to a Middle Torch Key boat ramp to reports of a man sleeping in his car.

A resident who lives on Middle Torch Road called the Sheriff’s Office to report that a man was sleeping in a pickup truck at the boat ramp. When Deputy Jeremy Davey arrived at 7 p.m., he found 31 year old Allen Gunter, of Auburn Georgia sleeping in the truck. The deputy woke him up and began questioning the man about why he was there. Gunter could not provide any identification, or any paperwork for the pickup truck, a 1996 Chevrolet with a North Carolina tag on it. Upon further questioning, Gunter began to act suspiciously. At one point, he told the deputy to “just shoot him”.

Deputy Davey called for backup and Deputy Kevin England arrived. When they began to handcuff Gunter for officer safety reasons, he ran. They were able to catch him, but he fought with them as they subdued and handcuffed him on the ground. A search of his pockets turned up cocaine, a pipe for smoking it, and $3,500.00 in cash. He was placed under arrest.

A search of his truck turned up two bags, one containing women’s clothing and the other with $55,000 in cash and a handgun inside. A check in state and national crime information computers revealed Gunter was a convicted felon, making it illegal for him to possess a gun. A further search turned up 11 grams of cocaine, 38 grams of Methamphetamine, 10 Xanax pills, other unidentified pills and .8 grams of Marijuana.

When questioned, Gunter said he’d been staying at a Key West resort hotel and had met some people. He said they must have left all the items in his truck.

Gunter was charged with possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, two counts possession of a controlled substance, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, resisting arrest with violence, possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia and he was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center. The cash and the pickup truck were seized for possible forfeiture.

Key West man charged with drug and firearm possession

(audio .wav file)

Marathon – A Key West man has been charged with possessing drugs and a concealed firearm in Marathon.

Deputy Wilfredo Guerra was dispatched Tuesday at 3:20 p.m. to reports of a minor accident in a parking lot near 81st Street and U.S. One. When he arrived, he found two vehicles involved in the accident, a gray Mercury and a red van. The van’s driver said the Mercury backed up into his van.

Two people were in the front seat of the Mercury. Deputy Guerra said the car was running, the keys were in the ignition and they both appeared to be asleep. The deputy knocked on the window and woke the driver, 44 year old Jeffrey Warren Dean. When he asked Dean about the accident, Dean said he didn’t know what happened. The passenger, 35 year old Brenda Schwartz, woke up long enough to tell the deputy she was all right, then fell back asleep.

Deputy Guerra called for assistance and Deputy Harry Boyden arrived. They asked Dean to step out of the car and he complied. He refused to allow the deputies to search his car, so they called for assistance from Sheriff’s K-9 Deputy Manuel Cuervo and his dog, Hootch. Hootch is trained to alert when he detects drugs.

As Hootch was checking the exterior of the car, Deputy Guerra saw Dean moving around, then saw a small object fall from his pant leg. When the item was retrieved, it turned out to be a small plastic bag with two crack cocaine rocks inside. A search of Dean’s pockets turned up another container with more crack rocks.

A further search of the car turned up drug paraphernalia in a bag on the floorboard in front of the passenger seat. The bag contained hypodermic needles, an Oxycodone pill, pipes, plastic tubing and other items. In a cooler in the back seat was a loaded handgun.

Upon questioning, Dean admitted to purchasing the crack and the Oxycodone. He said he and Schwartz were going to rent a room, smoke the crack and grind up and inject the Oxycodone.

Dean and Schwartz were both charged with possession of crack cocaine, possession of a controlled substance, and possession of drug paraphernalia. Dean was also charged with carrying a concealed firearm. They were both booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.


April 23, 2003

Woman arrested for credit card “skimming”

(Audio .wav file )

Key West – A Stock Island woman has been charged with multiple counts of using a credit card scanning device to steal people’s credit card numbers.

Sheriff’s Detective Henry Hamilton was contacted by a Citibank fraud investigator who reported seeing a pattern of credit card numbers being stolen at a camera store in Key West. He told the detective he believed, based on the evidence, that someone at the Ritz Camera Store had stolen a number of credit card numbers, then used them to purchase over $17,000 worth of property between May of 2002 and January of this year. Thefts such as these are generally perpetrated by someone who works in the store and has an illegal credit card scanning device they use to steal the credit card numbers.

Detective Hamilton contacted the manager of the store, who was completely cooperative, providing whatever information the detective needed. Investigations revealed that a clerk at the store, 27 year old Maylin Jerena of Stock Island, was working on several days when credit card numbers were stolen, then used to commit fraud.

Jerena was arrested Tuesday on five counts of grand theft and five counts of use of a credit card scanning device. Investigations are continuing and more charges may be pending.

The Sheriff’s Office recommends that anyone who uses a credit card be aware of where the card is at all times. When paying for items at a store counter, keep the card in sight. If you have any questions about what someone is doing with your card, ask and if you suspect someone is illegally scanning your card, tell the store manager about the problem.

Anyone with information about the illegal skimming of credit cards 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 is eligible for a monetary reward. The Crime Stoppers hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS.


April 21, 2003

Man found dead in waters off of Sombrero Beach

(Audio .wav file )

Marathon – The body of a homeless Marathon man was found floating offshore of Sombrero Beach Saturday morning.

Two men visiting the beach noticed the body floating about 30 feet off shore. The pulled the body to shore, where a third man, whose name is not known, attempted Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation. The CPR was not successful, however and when paramedics arrived, they pronounced him dead at the scene. The person who performed CPR left prior to law enforcement officers arrival.

According to reports by Deputy Charlie Cobb, 49 year old Richard Meekins, a homeless man who lives in a camp in nearby woods,  said 46 year old Alex Platthy had been staying with him in his camp for the past four days. He said Platthy drank alcohol continuously during that time. Meekins said he and Platthy went to the beach together Saturday. The two men continued to consume alcohol, and Platthy brought a mask and swim fins because he wanted to go swimming. Meekins said Platthy had been in the water about a half an hour when his body was brought to shore.

An autopsy will be done to determine the cause of his death. The only injuries evident on the body were facial injuries which acquaintances said Platthy got from a fall prior to his death.

Detective Charlene Sprinkle-Huff, a Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene investigator, is asking that the good Samaritan who attempted to perform CPR on Platthy please contact her at the Sheriff’s Office in Marathon, 289-2430.

April 18, 2003

Man arrested for burglary of Key Haven home

(Audio .wav file )

Stock Island – An 18 year old Key West man was arrested Thursday, charged with entering a Key Haven home and taking property from a safe.

18 year old Giovanni Malby is accused of entering the West Cypress home Thursday afternoon. He removed a safe from inside and dropped it down a flight of stairs at the back of the home where it broke open. Malby took the contents of the safe – a large amount of jewelry and cash. He left the scene in his gray Toyota Tundra pickup truck. The owner of the residence returned home just after 4 p.m. and discovered the break in. He called the Sheriff’s Office for assistance.

When Deputy Freddy Rodriguez arrived, he talked with neighbors of the victim. They reported seeing a man drive up to the residence in a pickup truck, park, and go inside. They heard a loud noise they described as something “hitting the ground”. They then saw the man drive away in his truck. They were able to give a detailed description of the man and the truck to Deputy Rodriguez. Detective Ben Lowe also responded to assist with the investigation.

A notice to be on the lookout for the truck was put out over Sheriff’s Office radios. A short time later, Detective Sgt. Bobby Randolph spotted it on Maloney Avenue and pulled it over. Malby was inside. Upon questioning, Malby admitted to committing the break in. The stolen property was recovered from the truck. The neighbors who witnessed the break in were brought to the scene and identified Malby and the truck as the same ones they saw on West Cypress at the time of the burglary.

Malby was charged with burglary and grand theft. His truck was seized for possible forfeiture. All the stolen property was returned to the owner.

April 16, 2003

Fort Pierce teen charged with reckless driving

(Audio .wav file )

Long Key – A Fort Pierce teen was arrested for reckless driving after he almost forced two jail transport vans off the road in Islamorada Tuesday night.

Jail Transportation Deputies radioed to Sheriff’s Office dispatch, reporting a dark colored vehicle which was driving recklessly and almost forced them off the road. Deputy Joel Slough was working just south of that location, so he began watching for the car. Just before 10 p.m. he spotted the car near the 69 mile marker of Highway U.S. One southbound. He used his radar to clock the vehicle’s speed at 86 miles per hour in a 55 mile per hour zone. The car continued at that speed through Layton, a 45 mile per hour zone.

The deputy caught up with the 1997 Hyundai just south of the Long Key State Park and attempted a traffic stop. The vehicle continued on some distance before finally stopping on the Long Key Bridge. The vehicle and the three people inside were transported off the bridge to a safe location, then the investigation into the case continued.

Deputy Slough asked the driver, 18 year old Andrew Jackson Strohmenger, why he didn’t stop immediately. Strohmenger said it was because his license was suspended in January of this year for driving under the influence of alcohol. He then denied being the driver of the car. The deputy then reminded him he was clearly driving the car, and was in the driver’s seat with the keys in the ignition at the time of the stop. As the deputy was speaking to Strohmenger, he could reportedly smell an odor of alcohol on his breath. When asked about it, Strohmenger said he’d been drinking beer that day.

A check on the car’s license tag revealed it did not belong to the Hyundai it was on, but belonged to a 1994 Chevrolet registered to Strohmenger. He admitted to putting the tag on the Hyundai.

The two passengers in the car were questioned as well. They said before he pulled over on the bridge, Strohmenger tried to get one of them to switch seats with him so he wouldn’t get arrested for driving with a suspended license.

Strohmenger was arrested and charged with fleeing and eluding police, reckless driving, attaching a tag not assigned, driving with his license suspended, driving an unregistered vehicle and he was cited for speeding. He was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center. The two passengers were released without charges.

April 15, 2003

Search warrant results in drug arrest

(Audio .wav file )

Islamorada – A search warrant served at an Islamorada residence resulted in the arrest of a man charged with possessing a large amount of marijuana.

Detectives from the Sheriff’s Special Investigations Division served the search warrant Friday at 7 p.m. after an investigation revealed 42 year old Peter Gregory was selling marijuana from his trailer at Lot #17, Pelican Palms Trailer Park. During the search, one pound five ounces of marijuana was found, along with drug paraphernalia and three guns, including a Ruger semi-automatic rifle and a shotgun with a pistol grip.

Gregory was charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and possession of drug paraphernalia. A woman, 51 year old Karlene Duffey, was at the trailer when the search warrant was served. She had a small amount of marijuana in her possession, so she was issued a notice to appear in court on possession of marijuana charges.

The Sheriff’s Special Weapons and Tactics Team, along with a Border Patrol K-9 team and members of the Drug Enforcement Administration all assisted with serving the search warrant.

Undercover buy-bust operation results in drug arrests

(Audio .wav file)

Key Largo – An undercover operative purchased cocaine from two Key Largo men Thursday who were then arrested, charged with trafficking in the illegal substance.

Detectives from the Sheriff’s Office Special Investigations Division worked together with Miami-Dade Narcotics detectives and officers from the Drug Enforcement Administration on the case. At 4 p.m. Thursday in the parking lot of a Key Largo restaurant, an undercover operative met with 24 year old Gabriel Limon-Morales and 40 year old Filippos Kelaris. The two men handed over four ounces of cocaine in exchange for cash. They were then arrested.

Both men were charged with trafficking in cocaine and they were booked into the Monroe County Detention center.

April 14, 2003

Two charged with home invasion robbery

Big Pine Key – Two Big Pine residents were charged with entering a man’s home, beating him and robbing him Friday night.

The victim didn’t call the Sheriff’s Office until Saturday morning to report the crime. He said he was afraid because the two suspects told him they’d kill him if he called police.

When Deputy Manuel Cuervo responded to take a report Saturday morning, the victim said two people had burst into his house around 10 p.m. the night before and had beaten him with a frying pan, a fishing rod and other items. They forced him to give them his cash, and took some fishing equipment as well. The victim had severe bruising on his side, showing the outline of a fishing rod handle. He was able to identify his attackers as “Martinez” and “Laura”. His description matched two people known to the deputy: 27 year old Raymond Martinez and 30 year old Laura Wall of Big Pine Key.

The couple was spotted in their truck at 1 p.m. Saturday on Key Deer Boulevard by Sgt. Daryl Hull. In Wall’s purse was a black wallet with cash inside. The cash matched the denominations described by the victim as the cash stolen from him during the robbery. A reel like one stolen from the victim was found in the bed of the truck.

Martinez and Wall were charged with home invasion robbery, grand theft and criminal mischief. Martinez was also charged with armed robbery and aggravated battery. Both of them were booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

Domestic dispute turns into kidnapping, aggravated battery

Stock Island – Two Stock Island men were arrested early today (Monday) accused of kidnapping and beating a woman in an effort to find out where another woman was hiding.

Deputies were first called Friday at 5 p.m. to reports of a domestic dispute at Coconut Grove Trailer Park on Stock Island. When Sgt. Daryl Hull arrived, he saw 36 year old Joseph Mazza chasing 20 year old Jacquelyn Kanowicz down the street. The two were yelling at each other. Kanowicz later said Mazza was too controlling and she wanted to get away from him. The Sgt. helped her get her things from their home, then transported her away from the scene. She later met up with a friend who lives on Big Coppitt Key. The friend, 39 year old Malia Deel, agreed to give her a place to stay. On Sunday night, Mazza and a friend of his, 24 year old Rodrigo Cruz, showed up at the Big Coppitt Key residence looking for Kanowicz. When Deel refused to tell them where she was, Mazza became enraged. He began beating on Deel in front of several witnesses. He then dragged her off the property by the hair, and forced her into a truck belonging to Cruz, who was driving.

While in the truck, Mazza told Deel she shouldn’t have given him a hard time. He allegedly said he was going to kill her. He then directed Cruz to drive to a remote location so they could kill her and dump her body. Deel convinced Cruz to help her, however. Instead of following Mazza’s orders, Cruz drove to Fisherman’s Hospital. On the way to the hospital, Mazza allegedly told the victim he would kill her and her kids if she reported the incident to police.

When they arrived at the hospital, Cruz helped Deel into a wheelchair and took her into the emergency room for treatment. He then left the scene, leaving Mazza at the hospital as well. Cruz drove to Big Pine Key where he called the Sheriff’s Office to turn himself in.

Deputies found Mazza at Fisherman’s Hospital with Deel. She was being treated at the hospital for severe bruising on her face and body, as well as a severely fractured arm which required immediate surgery. Mazza was charged with kidnapping and aggravated battery. Cruz was charged with being an accessory to kidnapping. Both men were booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

Bar fight erupts into large parking lot fight; deputy injured.

Marathon – What started as a dispute over the inappropriate touching of a woman turned into an all out bar brawl with 20 to 30 people involved Sunday just after midnight. A Sheriffs’ deputy was injured trying to break up fight participants in the parking lot of Gary’s Pub and Billiards in Marathon.

Deputies Ernie Paton and Lin Badman were dispatched to the bar fight Sunday at 12:30 a.m. When they arrived, they found 20 to 30 bar patrons in the parking lot, with three or four groups actively fighting.

Each deputy began trying to break up the fights. During the course of the incident, they used pepper spray to subdue a number of the suspects involved. At one point, Deputy Badman attempted to intervene and take custody of an aggressor in one fight. 23 year old Joshua Hansard turned on her, hitting her several times in the face. They fell to the ground, where another man, later identified as 26 year old Brian McGowan, hit her on the side of the face. Deputy Badman, with assistance from Deputy Paton, was able to take Hansard into custody.

McGowan tried to flee on foot. He was stopped by Sgt. Jake Brady, who also had to use pepper spray on him, after he refused to comply with orders to stop walking away.

After the brawl was finally under control, deputies began questioning witnesses to find out what happened. One man said McGowan had touched his girlfriend inappropriately inside the bar. Witnesses said the two men had a confrontation about the touching, and the bartender tried to intervene. McGowan then hit the bartender and the girlfriend. The fight escalated as more people in the bar joined in. Then the fight moved outside into the parking lot.

Hansard and McGowan were taken into custody. Hansard was charged with battery on a law enforcement officer and resisting arrest with violence; McGowan was charged with battery on a law enforcement officer and two counts of battery.

Deputy Badman was treated for her injuries at Fishermen’s Hospital.

Marathon man stabbed in parking lot

Marathon – A Marathon man was stabbed twice in the stomach after he left a Marathon bar with his friend Sunday morning.

Deputies were called to Fishermen’s hospital to reports of a stabbing. When they arrived, they found a man, 41 year old Brian Cranney, with two stab wounds in his stomach. His friend, 26 year old Joseph Nolan, was with him.

Nolan said he went to the Brass Monkey bar Sunday at 2:30 a.m. to meet Cranney. When he arrived, the bartender told him Cranney needed to leave the bar so the two of them left, walking across the parking lot of a nearby grocery store. Nolen said as they were walking, two men appeared and confronted them. One of them produced a small knife and stabbed Cranney in the stomach. The two attackers then fled on foot. Nolen drove Cranney to the hospital.

Cranney told the deputies he’d gotten into a confrontation in the bar with two men. He said they were the two men who attacked him.

Detectives are investigating. The victim underwent surgery for his injuries.

Man charged with stealing bird

Marathon – A Marathon man was arrested for burglary after he entered a boat and stole an expensive tropical bird.

The owner of the bird said he was awakened on his boat Sunday in the early morning hours by his blue and gold Macaw screaming and his security lights coming on. When he checked, he saw a man climbing off the boat with his bird, which is valued at approximately $3,000.00.

He chased the man, catching him a short distance away. The man, later identified as 45 year old Iran Lazo, of Marathon, threw the bird in the bushes. The owner of the bird was able to hold Lazo until deputies arrived. He was also able to retrieve his bird, which was not injured.

Lazo was charged with burglary and grand theft and he was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

48 year old woman dies while scuba diving

Key Largo – A woman diving on the wreck of the Spiegel Grove Friday died.

The captain of the Scuba-Do, the commercial dive vessel the woman was on, said 48 year old Eunice Lasala was only in the water a few minutes when she surfaced, waving for help. She then reportedly lost consciousness and was not breathing by the time she was brought on board the boat. Rescue breathing was started, then Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation, but by the time she was brought to shore, she was declared dead by Emergency Medical Services personnel.

Lasala, who is from Fredericksburg, Virginia. Was traveling on the dive boat with a group of friends. An autopsy was done to determine the cause of her death. (Please contact the medical examiner’s office for those details.)

April 11, 2003

Two upper Keys men charged with drug sales

Key Largo – Sheriff’s detectives from the Special Investigations Division arrested two upper Keys men on outstanding drug related warrants Wednesday evening.

24 year old David Lee Cooper was arrested on three counts of Sale of Cocaine, two counts of possession of cocaine and one count of driving with his license suspended. 19 year old Daniel Hernandez was arrested for two counts sale of cocaine.

The arrests took place after a number of controlled drug purchases were made from the men. Citizen complaints, coupled with tips to the Crime Stopper’s hot line, assisted with the initiation of the investigations into Cooper and Hernandez’ drug activities.

Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys offers a reward of up to $1,000.00 for information leading to felony arrests. Tipsters may remain anonymous. The Crime Stoppers Hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS.

April 9, 2003

Search Warrant leads to drug arrests

SWAT member bitten by pit bull; forced to shoot the dog

Key West – A search warrant served in the city of Key West Tuesday night led to the arrest of two men for possessing a large amount of marijuana. A member of the Sheriff’s Special Weapons and Tactics team was bitten by a pit bull during the service of the warrant and was forced to shoot the dog to avoid further injury.

The Sheriff’s Special Investigations Division, along with Key West Police narcotics detectives, has been investigating possible drug traffic at #92 Solana Village in Key West for approximately two months. Citizen complaints initiated the investigation. Surveillance was conducted and drugs were purchased from the residence prior to the search warrant being issued.

On Tuesday, the Sheriff’s Special Weapons and Tactics Team, along with members of the Key West Police Special Response Team, served the search warrant. Special Investigations detectives from both agencies then searched the residence, finding 530 grams of marijuana belonging to 25 year old Louis Kramer and 440 grams of marijuana belonging to 23 year old Lazaro Chavez. They also found 132 bars of Xanax belonging to Kramer and one Xanax bar belonging to Chavez, along with numerous items of drug paraphernalia. Kramer and Chavez were both booked into the Detention Center for possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.

When the SWAT team entered the residence, they had been briefed that a vicious pit bull lived inside. The first team member to enter climbed stairs going up to the second floor. Kramer was standing at the top of the stairs. Kramer’s pit bull was apparently standing out of sight just around the corner and when the officer moved to take control of Kramer, the dog lunged at him. The officer kicked at the dog to keep him away, but the dog attacked again, biting the officer’s right hand which was holding his handgun. The officer tried to shake the dog loose from his hand, lifting him from the floor with his injured hand while still trying to contain the suspect standing next to him.

The dog wouldn’t let go of the hand, so the officer was forced to shoot him in the neck. The dog dropped to the floor and the officer switched the gun to his left hand due to the right one being injured. The dog attacked him again and the deputy had to shoot him two more times. Even after being shot three times, in the neck, chest and foot, the dog continued lunging at the officer and had to be pepper sprayed. The dog died on the scene. The deputy was taken to the hospital for treatment of his injuries.

Sugarloaf student arrested for false bomb threat

Sugarloaf Key – A Sugarloaf Key School student was arrested for making a false bomb threat Tuesday.

The school was evacuated Tuesday in the early afternoon after a threatening message was found in the girl’s bathroom saying there was a bomb in the school. After a thorough search of the school, no bomb was found and students returned to class. Shortly afterward, two students came forward with information about who wrote the false bomb threat on the bathroom wall. 15 year old Marissa Kirgan was arrested by School Resource Officer Deputy Tom Peteck, Jr.

Kirgan was charged with making a false bomb threat against state owned property, a second degree felony. In addition to any incarceration connected to the charge, state statute also allows for a court to require a person convicted of this statute to pay restitution for any costs or damages arising from the criminal conduct.

April 8, 2003

Eight upper Keys residents charged with burglary

Key Largo – Eight upper Keys residents, including six teenagers, have been arrested and charged with burglarizing a Key Largo home in March, ransacking it and stealing a large number of items from inside.

The burglary took place between March 15th and the 29th at a home on Atlantic Boulevard in Key Largo. Sheriff’s Deputy Julie Smith responded on March 29th to a neighbor’s report of a possible burglary at the residence. Further investigation revealed the house had been broken into, ransacked and many things had been stolen from inside. Among the items taken were 14 firearms of various types, knives, electronic equipment, tools and clothing. The total estimated value of the stolen items was over $20,000.00 and almost $3,000.00 worth of damage was done to the house.

Later that same day, Detective Terry Smith was in the vicinity of the Atlantic Boulevard house and noticed a vehicle at the house that he knew did not belong there. He recognized the two people in the vehicle as 38 year old Alek Newport and 29 year old Carmen Perrine, both of Key Largo. He documented the information and radioed road patrol to watch for the vehicle. The vehicle couldn’t be found, however, after it left the residence.

Detective Ron Corr was assigned to investigate the case. He reviewed witness statements taken from residents in the area. One girl said she saw juveniles she knew walking out of the burglarized home, carrying pillowcases. She was able to identify the juveniles by name. Six juvenile suspects were then interviewed about the break in. Stolen items were recovered from several of them, including a camcorder, a DirectTV box with remote, a Sony Play station, games, jewelry, knives, speakers and an alarm clock.

Detective Corr interviewed Perrine about the burglary and she admitted to being involved. She said she and Newport had taken five or six of the stolen guns to Homestead and traded them for money and crack cocaine.

A search warrant was obtained for the house Newport and Perrine live in on Largo Road. The search warrant was served April 3rd. A number of the items stolen from Atlantic Boulevard were found during the search, including knives and items of clothing. No other guns were recovered, and still remain missing.

Newport and Perrine were both arrested and charged with armed burglary and they were booked into the Monroe County Detention Center. The juveniles involved were also arrested, all charged with burglary. They were turned over to the Department of Juvenile Justice. Their names are as follows:

 ·        Fernando Garcia, 16, of Homestead
Alberto Garcia, 14, of Plantation Key
Brian Ricardo, 16, of Key Largo
Jarrod Arnold, 15, unknown address
·        Lorenzo Giles, 17, of Key Largo
Omar Leroy, 15, of Key Largo 

The investigation is continuing.


April 4, 2003

Search warrant leads to drug arrests

Big Coppitt Key – Two Big Coppitt men were arrested after a search warrant was served at their residence Thursday night.

48 year old Gustavo Rodriguez and 28 year old Gerald Hernandez were both arrested after they were found to be in possession of crack cocaine. At 7:20 p.m., Detectives from the Sheriff’s Special Investigations Unit search the home at #21 El Monte Drive. During the search, they found 18 grams of crack cocaine in Rodriguez’ front pants pocket. Two more grams were found in Hernandez’ pants pocket.

Both men were charged with possession of cocaine. Hernandez was also charged with possession of drug paraphernalia because a number of crack cocaine pipes were found in and around his bedroom in the house. $351.00 in cash was seized from Rodriguez as possible proceeds from drug sales.

The Sheriff’s Special Weapons and Tactics Team assisted in the service of the search warrant, which was obtained after citizen complaints about drug traffic at the residence, as well as a lengthy undercover operation.