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

October 29, 2004

Woman found dead in Cudjoe Key home

Cudjoe Key - A woman was found dead in her Cudjoe Key home. The apparent cause of death was a gunshot wound to her head.

An autopsy will be done today to determine the cause of death for 51 year old Connie Jean Rice. Rice was found dead in her home on Doubloon Lane, Cudjoe Key at 8:23 p.m.  Her husband told detectives they argued earlier in the evening and he left the home. When he returned, he found her dead. He said he left and went to a neighbor's house and reported the death immediately to the Sheriff's Office.

Detectives are investigating the case.

October 28, 2004

Would be thief caught after alert neighbor calls Sheriff's Office

Cudjoe Key - A man attempting to steal a boat from a Cudjoe Key residence was arrested early today after an alert neighbor spotted him walking around and called the Sheriff's Office.

When Deputy Greg Korzen arrived at 4:15 a.m., he spotted a white Chevrolet Suburban parked in front of a house on Sawyer Drive. The neighbor who called the Sheriff's Office said no one was staying in the house, and he knew the vehicle and the man driving it did not belong there.

The deputy walked around to the back of the house and spotted a person on board a 2004 21 foot Sea-Pro docked in a canal behind the residence. The man, later identified as 49 year old Wayne Ball, appeared to be doing something to the ignition of the boat. When the deputy confronted Ball, Ball said he was about to take the boat our for a ride. Deputy Korzen asked Ball if the boat belonged to him and Ball said it did not. Further investigation revealed a red bucket with tools inside. Ball said the bucket and tools belonged to him.

The owner of the boat was contacted and said no one had permission to be on it or to take it for a ride. An inspection of the boat showed the ignition had, indeed, been tampered with. A fishing tackle box and some rods and reels were also out of place. Ball was arrested and charged with Attempted Grant Theft, Criminal Mischief and Possession of Burglary Tools. He was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

October 20, 2004

Man charged with selling undercover operative counterfeit cocaine

Grassy Key - A Marathon drug dealer was arrested Tuesday afternoon after selling a large amount of counterfeit cocaine to an undercover operative working with the Monroe County Sheriff's Office Special Investigations Division.

49 year old Carlos Bascoy has been the target of an undercover drug investigation in the Marathon area for the past two months. During that time period, he sold significant amounts of cocaine to undercover operatives on seven separate occasions. On Tuesday, he agreed to meet the operative in the parking lot of a Grassy Key restaurant and sell him a kilo of cocaine for $9,000.00. The meeting took place; money was exchanged for a package of what appeared to be cocaine. After the exchange, detectives and members of the Sheriff's Office Special Weapons and Tactics Team moved in and arrested Bascoy. A test of the substance was done, and showed the substance was not cocaine.

Bascoy was charged with sale of a counterfeit controlled substance, a third degree felony. Charges are pending against him for the previous incidents of sale of cocaine. Bascoy is currently in the Monroe County Detention Center.

Two Apopka, Florida men charged with possessing drugs after traffic stop

Islamorada - Deputies arrested two Apopka, Florida men for possessing drugs after they were stopped for speeding near the 76 mile marker of highway U.S. One in the early morning hours today (Wednesday).

Sgt. Tim Hurd spotted the Silver Mitsubishi speeding southbound near the 79 mile marker at 3:15 a.m. He used radar to clock the vehicle at 78 miles per hour, and pulled it over at the 76 mile marker. Two men were inside the car. In his report, Sgt. Hurd said the two men were acting very nervously. After asking them a number of questions, and observing their obvious discomfort, Sgt. Hurd decided to use his dog Storm to do an exterior check of the car.

During the check, Storm alerted on the car's gas cap, indicating the presence of drugs. A further check of that area revealed two plastic bags hidden inside the door which covers the gas cap. Marijuana and cocaine were in the plastic bags.

19 year old Shawn Murphy and 19 year old Charles Butler were both arrested and charged with possession of marijuana and cocaine. They were booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.


October 18, 2004

Drug Sting Operation Nets 14 Arrests on Stock Island

Stock Island - A Drug Sting Operation conducted on Stock Island Friday night netted 14 total arrests.

The operation, which took place between the hours of 6 p.m. and midnight, was spearheaded by the Sheriff's Office Special Investigations Division, with assistance from road patrol deputies and the Sheriff's Office Special Weapons and Tactics Team. An undercover operative was used to sell imitation crack cocaine and purchasers of the substance were then arrested and charged with purchase and possession of a controlled substance. There were also arrests made for outstanding warrants, and one arrest of a man who was found to be carrying a concealed knife.

Two people were picked up on outstanding warrants after they were spotted in the area of the operation. 59 year old Leonel Perez and 49 year old Luis Camejo, both Stock Island residents, were arrested on warrants for sale of cocaine. The warrants stemmed from undercover purchases of the drug made at a previous time. 53 year old William West, of Stock Island, was also arrested on a warrant for sale of cocaine and for purchasing the illegal substance after he approached the undercover operative and attempted to purchase crack cocaine from him.

42 year old Hughey Bryant was in the area of the sting operation when an arrest was made. He left the area, but returned a short time later. The undercover operative asked if he wanted to buy crack. Bryant became verbally abusive to the operative, and patted the sheath of a knife he was wearing on his belt as if to threaten him. Bryant left, but returned a third time and again became verbally abusive to the operative, this time making  more overt and threatening moves toward his knife. At that point, he was arrested and charged with possession of a concealed weapon.

37 year old Ernesto Urbay approached the undercover operative and offered to sell him crack cocaine. He was arrested and charged with sale of the illegal drug.

A total of 9 other people were arrested after attempting to purchase crack cocaine during the sting operation:

Thefts from boats in Islamorada

Islamorada - Four boat owners reported having rods, reels and electronic equipment stolen from their boats docked at marinas in the Islamorada area.

The reports were taken over the weekend. Owners found someone had entered the boats and removed fishing equipment and expensive electronic equipment, including radar units, GPS units, VHF radios and a number of expensive rods and reels. The thefts took place at various marinas between the 76 mile marker and the 82 mile marker of Highway U.S. One in Islamorada.

The Sheriff's Office is recommending that boat owners remove all valuables from their boats when the boats are not in use. Boats are particularly vulnerable to theft and burglary and are difficult to secure adequately. Anyone who has information about these thefts should contact the Monroe County Sheriff's Office. Callers who wish to remain anonymous can contact Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. If a tip leads to an arrest, the caller would be eligible for a cash reward. The Crime Stoppers Hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS.

Speed Enforcement operation in Islamorada nets two for fleeing from deputies

Islamorada - A speed enforcement operation in Islamorada resulted in 34 citations and the arrest of two men who fled from deputies at a high rate of speed.

Sgt. Tom Kiffney's road patrol squad concentrated their efforts over the weekend on people speeding through the 45 mile per hour zone in Islamorada. The speed enforcement effort netted 34 citations. In addition, two men who were speeding on motorcycles fled from deputies who attempted to pull them over at 9:40 p.m. Saturday. Sgt. Kiffney spotted the motorcycles traveling 98 miles per hour in a 45 mile per hour zone southbound near the 89 mile marker of the  highway. He called ahead to two deputies south of his area, and then attempted to pull the motorcycles over using his lights and siren. The driver's refused to stop, instead accelerating and weaving in and out of traffic in a dangerous and reckless manner. They finally pulled over at the 77 mile marker.

24 year old Luis Sanchez and 25 year old Maximo Hernandez, both of Hialeah, Florida were arrested and charged with aggravated fleeing and eluding from law enforcement officers. They were booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

October 13. 2004

Murder suspect surrenders

45-year old Sylvia Milton surrendered to Sheriff’s detectives Tuesday at Plantation Key. Detectives were seeking Milton in connection with the murder of 50-year old Leon Gardner on September 14, 2003 at their home in Hibiscus Park in Key Largo. Gardner was found on the porch bleeding from a lethal neck wound by Sheriff’s deputies who responded after a call from a neighbor. Milton had left the scene, but had called Sheriff’s dispatchers to report “hitting” Gardner with a knife in self-defense. Sheriff’s detectives, after a lengthy investigation, obtained a warrant last July charging Milton with murder. Detectives had been seeking help in locating Milton, who left the area. Milton surrendered to detectives Tuesday and was booked into the Plantation Key jail on murder charges

October 12, 2004

SWAT Team used at disturbance in Marathon

A suicidal man, who barricaded himself in an apartment at Marathon Monday, was safely taken into custody by the Sheriff’s SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) team. The incident started shortly after 3 p.m. when deputies responded to a disturbance call at the Eastwind Apartment complex on Sombrero Boulevard. A woman told deputies that her brother, identified as 47-year old Giraldo Mayo-Fajardo, had locked himself in an upstairs bedroom and was threatening to kill himself with a kitchen knife. Deputies tried unsuccessfully to talk Mayo-Fajardo into coming downstairs. Deputies called for the SWAT team and a negotiator after Mayo-Fajardo opened the door and cursed at the deputies while waving the knife.

Negotiators talked with Mayo-Fajardo for over an hour and during that time he threw a bottle at deputies and also tossed a flaming towel down the stairwell. SWAT team members fired several tear gas-type projectiles into the room before breaking in and subduing Mayo-Fajardo. SWAT team members also had to use a weapon that fires non-lethal beanbags at Mayo-Fajardo in an effort to stun him so he could be physically restrained. Mayo-Fajardo was extremely combative during the confrontation. After taking him into custody, Mayo-Fajardo was transported to Fisherman’s Hospital for treatment of minor injuries and then booked into the jail at Marathon. He is charged with three counts of aggravated assault on law enforcement officers and one count of arson.


October 8, 2004

Attempted robbery at Marathon High School

Marathon - An attempted robbery in a restroom at Marathon High School led to the arrest of four people by Sheriff's deputies Thursday.

According to the 13 year old victim, he was in the bathroom when two 16 year old boys, Lisvany Sanchez and Pedro Lugo, walked in. They allegedly demanded money and, when the victim refused to give it to them, they threw him to the floor. He got back up and, as one of them drew back his fist to punch him in the face, a teacher who heard the disturbance interrupted the incident and chased Sanchez and Lugo out of the bathroom. The two suspects fled from the school. A 13 year old boy who walked in while the attempted robbery was taking place corroborates the victim's version of events.

Sanchez and Lugo were caught a short time later. They were identified by the victim and by the witnesses and they were placed under arrest for robbery. Lugo caused a disturbance, struggling with officers when he was handcuffed. He was also charged with disorderly conduct. Both boys were booked at the Monroe County Detention Center. Multiple deputies were on the scene including School Resource Officer Tony Pabon, who completed the report of the incident.

Lugo's mother, 36 year old Yvette Renta, and a 17 year old girl came to the office later and began yelling about Lugo's arrest. They accused Deputy Pabon of beating Lugo during the arrest. Deputy Pabon denied the accusations, and because the two women were causing a loud and disruptive disturbance in the office, the school principal requested that they either leave school grounds immediately, or be arrested. Deputy Pabon asked the two to leave, but they refused and continued to scream and yell accusations and obscenities at him and at others in the office. Renta and the girl were both arrested and charged with trespass after warning and disorderly conduct.

Deputy Derek Paul assisted Deputy Pabon with the disturbance. During the course of the two women's arrest, Renta struggled violently with the two deputies and kicked Deputy Paul several times. She was further charged with battery on a law enforcement officer and they were both taken to the Monroe County Detention Center.

October 7, 2004

Key Largo man charged with cultivation of marijuana

Key Largo - A Key Largo man was arrested Wednesday afternoon for growing Marijuana in his closet.

Detectives with the Sheriff's Special Investigation's Division received information that 30 year old Dana Cramer was cultivating marijuana in his apartment on Adobe Casa Court in Key Largo. Detectives knocked on the door of the apartment at 11 a.m. Wednesday. When Cramer answered the door, the detectives could clearly smell the odor of marijuana coming from the apartment. They confronted him with the information they had and Cramer admitted to growing marijuana. He showed them the plants he was growing in his closet. Cramer said he was only growing the marijuana for his own use.

A search of his apartment turned up 27 marijuana plants, various types of equipment used to grown marijuana, three mason jars with marijuana inside and a bag of the illegal substance in his refrigerator. The total weight of marijuana was 9 pounds. Cramer was placed under arrest, charged with cultivation of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Detectives warn people to secure their boats and motors
Upper Keys - Sheriff's detectives in the upper Keys say they have information that boat motor thieves may be planning to increase their illegal activities in the upper Keys again soon.
Detective Sgt. Corey Bryan wants to warn boat owners, marinas and businesses selling and storing boats and motors to be aware of the possibility, and to do everything they can to secure boats and, in particular, the high-end boat motors that have been the most common target in the past. If anyone sees anything suspicious, they should contact the Sheriff's Office immediately. Suspicious activity might include people loitering around marinas and boat sales and storage businesses or vehicles in the vicinity of such businesses after business hours - particularly vehicles which might be able to transport a motor, such as a truck or SUV. Vehicles traveling on the highway transporting large outboard motors would also be of interest to detectives.
If you own a boat with an outboard motor, particularly one which is a newer model 200 horsepower or above, make sure the boat and motor are kept in a secure, well lighted area. If the boat is on a trailer,  it might be helpful to back the boat up so the motor is parked against a wall making it difficult to remove. Owners of boat related businesses should check their outdoor lighting, and consider increasing their security measures, particularly at night.


October 5, 2004

Man charged with burglarizing Post Office

Big Pine Key - A Big Pine Key man was arrested in the early morning hours today (Tuesday) after a deputy caught him stealing mail from the Big Pine Post Office.

Deputy Edgar Piniero was on patrol in the vicinity of the Post Office when he saw 53 year old John Zadresky pull up to the front of the building on his bicycle. Zadresky began going through garbage cans, then walked around the back of the building out of sight. He came back to the front of the building a short time later carrying several items.

Deputy Piniero approached him to see what it was he had in his hands. The items turned out to be mail belonging to a number of people. The deputy asked Zadresky if he had a post office box at the Post Office and Zadresky said no. Piniero walked around the back of the building and discovered that two windows had been forced open.

Zadresky was arrested and charged with burglary. He was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

Man charged with burglary and theft at Key Largo grocery store

Key Largo - A Key Largo man who has been repeatedly trespass warned after being caught shoplifting at the Key Largo Publix Grocery store was arrested Monday for burglary after he was caught stealing a bottle of Listerine.

42 year old Blair Nelson entered the store at 9 a.m. and tucked a large bottle of Listerine in his pants. As he was walking out of the store, the manager caught him, taking him to the store office and calling the Sheriff's Office. Deputy Lyle Agins responded and reminded Nelson that he'd been arrested for shoplifting in June and had been trespass warned from the store. He was arrested again for shoplifting and trespassing after warning in August. Nelson acknowledged the previous arrests. He said he stole the Listerine because he has a problem with alcohol and needs it to drink.

Nelson was arrested for burglary and theft and he was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.


October 4, 2004

Unidentified man found dead in Islamorada

Islamorada - Two people trimming bushes in the area of the 84.5 mile marker of highway U.S. One in Islamorada found the body of a man Friday shortly after noon.

The body was found in a wooded area, approximately 10 feet into the brush and trees. Detectives say the man, who remains unidentified at this time, had been dead for some weeks and his body was partially mummified. There were no obvious signs of foul play on the body or the area surrounding it.

The man was most likely a white male, with a thin to medium build and brown to black colored hair. He was lying on a plastic tarp and had a coat folded under his head, as if he had laid down to rest. He was wearing a striped button down shirt and blue jeans with a black belt which had a large silver buckle. It appeared that he had removed his white socks and tan work boots, which were found nearby. Two baseball type hats were also found - one tan and one blue. The tan hat said "Air Boat Tours Wind Dancer" on it. He had a shoulder bag full of clothing, but no information was found which would allow for a positive identification at the scene.

An autopsy will be scheduled later this week at which time more identifying factors may be found. Detectives are investigating.

October 1, 2004

Detectives ask for help locating murder suspect

Key Largo - Detectives are asking for the public's help locating a Key Largo woman wanted for murdering her live-in boyfriend in September of last year.

A warrant has been issued for 45 year old Sylvia Milton for murder. Milton is accused of killing 50 year old Leon Gardner in the early morning hours of September 14, 2003 at their home in Hibiscus Park in Key Largo. Sheriff's deputies responded to Hibiscus Park after a neighbor of Gardner and Milton called to say Gardner was on her front porch bleeding from a neck wound. Gardner collapsed on the porch and was found lying there when deputies arrived on the scene.

Milton herself left the scene, and called Sheriff's Office dispatchers to report "hitting" Gardner with a knife. She said Gardner attacked her after she returned from a party. She said she was defending herself when she cut him with the knife.

The lengthy investigation by Homicide detectives of the Sheriff's Office culminated in the issuance of a warrant for Milton's arrest in July of 2004. They are now asking for the public's help locating her. She is believed to have left the area. Anyone with information about her location can call Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys or contact the Sheriff's Office directly.Callers to Crime Stoppers may remain completely anonymous, and if a Crime Stoppers tip leads to an arrest, the caller would be eligible for a substantial cash reward. The Crime Stoppers hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS.