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


November 30, 2006

Man charged with burglary based on DNA test results

Islamorada - A Key West man has been charged with committing a burglary in 2004 after DNA test results identified his blood left at the scene of the crime.

Investigators say that 41 year old Jose Maldonado broke in to the La Jolla Resort in Islamorada on November 29, 2004. While there, he used a room at the resort leaving behind a washcloth with his blood on it. He also stole a number of items from the resort when he left, including hats and sunglasses.

The washcloth was collected by Crime Scene Investigator Jason Madnick and submitted to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for analysis. FDLE issued a report on the evidence early this year, saying that the DNA on the washcloth was the same as DNA found at the scene of a crime in East Hartford, Connecticut in 1995 and also a DNA sample found at the scene of a crime in Monroe County in 2004. The blood in both those cases reportedly belonged to Maldonado and had been entered into the National DNA database.

Based on that report, and on a subsequent DNA comparison done to corroborate those findings, a warrant was issued in February of 2006 for Maldonado for two counts of burglary, grand theft and criminal mischief. He was located in Moorehaven Correctional Facility, a state prison in Glades County, Florida. A hold was placed on him and upon his release date he was charged with the warrants. He was returned to Monroe County to face the charges Wednesday and he is currently in the Monroe County Detention Center.

Detectives Madnick, Mark Coleman and Lyle Agins were the investigators assigned to the case.

November 29, 2006

Key West man arrested after fleeing deputy

Sugarloaf Key - A Key West man with an infant in his back seat fled from a traffic stop, crashing into mangroves in the vicinity of Bay Point late Monday.

Deputy Greg Korzen spotted the Pontiac sedan speeding southbound at the 18 mile marker of Highway U.S. One at 11 p.m. He turned on his lights and siren and pulled the car over. He approached the driver's window, asking 24 year old Travis Gamble for his license and registration. Gamble said he had no license, but he produced a rental agreement for the car. Deputy Korzen glanced behind the driver's seat and saw an infant's foot, visible on the floor board behind the seat. He asked Gamble if that was a baby behind his seat and Gamble (replied that the baby must have fallen from the seat.)replied, "Oh *&%$#, it must have fell down!" He then reached behind him and pulled the one year old girl from the floor board onto the back seat.

The deputy could smell the odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle. He asked Gamble again for his license, which he again said he didn't have, then asked him to step out of the car. At that point, Gamble floored the accelerator and took off, speeding southbound. Deputy Korzen followed with his lights and siren activated for a short distance. When Gamble continued to increase his speed, driving recklessly, the deputy backed off, turning off his emergency equipment, in the hopes that Gamble would slow down and drive more safely.

As Gamble traveled at speeds in excess of 100 miles per hour, the deputy saw him swerve several times. The car finally swerved onto the gravel shoulder, turned 180 degrees and slammed into the mangroves on the edge of the shoulder. Gamble jumped out and ran, fleeing into the mangroves, where he became snared and couldn't get out. Deputy Korzen called for rescue units to respond for the child, who was very frightened but appeared to be uninjured. He then took Gamble into custody. In the car and in Gamble's pockets, the deputy found a total of 46 grams of cocaine and 24 grams of marijuana.

Once at the hospital, the 1 year old girl was evaluated, treated and released to her mother. Gamble, who said he was the child's Godfather, was charged with trafficking in cocaine, possession of cocaine, possession of marijuana, reckless driving, fleeing and eluding police, resisting arrest, child abuse and driving without a license. He was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

Five arrested after anonymous tip

Marathon - After receiving a tip that there a wanted person was at a Marathon residence, the Sheriff's Office and the State office of Probation and Parole arrested five people found in the home seizing cocaine and drug paraphernalia.

A probation officer and Sheriff's deputies went to the home on 54th Street in Marathon at 5;25 p.m. Monday after receiving information that 20 year old Jessica Frederick of Marathon was there. Frederick was wanted for violation of probation. When they knocked on the door, 46 year old Thomas Ward answered the door, Ward, who lives in the residence, was also wanted for violation of probation.

Behind him, through the open door, deputies saw Frederick running into the bathroom holding a metal pipe in her hand. As the deputies entered to arrest her, 57 year old Edmund Burke of Marathon also ran into the bathroom with her. They were both found in the bathroom, trying to stuff crack cocaine into the sink in an attempt to destroy it.

27 year old Michael Blackshire of Miami was also at the home. He was found sitting on the couch next to a shelf. On the shelf were five crack rocks in plain view. 28 year old Jerry Anderson was standing next to a coffee table. On the table was a small metal container with cocaine inside.

The deputies rounded up all five suspects. Frederick was charged with the outstanding warrant, and with possession of cocaine, drug paraphernalia and with tampering with evidence; Ward was charged with his outstanding warrant; Burke was charged with tampering with evidence and with possession of cocaine after a crack rock was found in his shirt pocket; Blackshire and Anderson were both charged with possession of cocaine. They were all booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

November 16, 2006

Rockland Key man arrested after family dispute, struggle with officers

Rockland Key - A Rockland Key man was arrested in the early morning hours today after a family dispute on Rockland Key. After a struggle with six officers, he was finally handcuffed and taken to jail.

Deputies Brian Luth, Evan Calhoun and Caridad Bellon were dispatched to Park Drive just after midnight. When they arrived, they found five family members in the street, three men and two women. The family members were separated and the deputies began asking them what happened. One of the men said he was called to the scene to assist with the argument. Lorenzo Mederos said when he arrived in his car, 36 year old Jose Mederos attacked him, pulling him out of the car by his neck and breaking his necklace in the process. He fell to the ground injuring his knee. That is when one of the others on the scene called for the Sheriff's Office.

As the deputies were investigating, suddenly Jose Mederos ran at Lorenzo Mederos, punching him in the face several times. Deputy Luth pulled his Taser and ordered Jose Mederos to the ground and he complied. He was handcuffed and Deputy Calhoun began walking him back to one of the patrol cars. Mederos began to struggle with him. The other two deputies went to his aid. Jose Mederos began banging his head on the patrol car so Deputy Luth attempted to stop him by putting his hand on his forehead. Mederos reared his head back, smashing his head into Deputy Luth's head. He continued to struggle violently, hitting and kicking the patrol car. The deputies finally called for more assistance and three Key West Police Officers arrived. The six officers were able to finally subdue Mederos and secure him in the back of the patrol car.

Once at the Monroe County Detention Center, Mederos continued his violent behavior and had to be placed into a restraint chair for his own safety and the safety of those officers trying to book him at the jail. A restraint chair completely immobilizes an inmate and is used to control violent people who want to hurt themselves or others.

Mederos was charged with failing to register with the county as a convicted felon, battery, three counts of battery on law enforcement officers, criminal mischief, robbery, resisting arrest with violence, and resisting arrest without violence.

November 13, 2006

Miami man charged with reckless driving

Islamorada - A Miami man, speeding in the center turn lane in Islamorada Saturday morning, was arrested.

Deputy Paul Kupke was on patrol just after 8 a.m. Saturday northbound at the 83 mile marker of the highway when he saw a turquoise colored Nissan Maxima traveling southbound at a high rate of speed, passing in the center turn lane. The deputy estimated the car's speed at 75 miles per hour in a 45 mile per hour zone. Deputy Kupke turned on his lights and siren and saw the driver of the car look right at him and continue his reckless driving.

The deputy turned around and saw the Maxima turn sharply right into a parking lot, still traveling fast. The car came to a stop in the parking lot, where two more deputies were located at the rear of the lot. Deputies Nelson Sanchez and Sheila Seago approached the Maxima, along with Deputy Kupke. When they ordered the driver, 35 year old Orlando Herrera, out of the car he refused to comply. He stayed in the car and began moving around as if he was reaching for something or hiding something. The deputies finally had to forcibly remove him from the car.

Herrera continued with his non-compliance, refusing to put his hands behind his back. He was finally handcuffed. An open can of Natural Ice beer was found in the car and Herrera appeared to be intoxicated. He refused to comply with field sobriety exercises and refused to take a breathalyzer test. Herrera was charged with passing in a no passing zone, failure to obey a traffic control device, operating an unregistered vehicle, open container, fleeing and eluding police and resisting arrest without violence. He was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

Key Largo teen charged with knife threats, impersonating officer

Key Largo - A Key Largo teen was arrested Saturday night for threatening two men with a knife after telling them he was a police officer.

The victim's told Deputy Vaughn O'Keefe they were at their campsite in a wooded area near the 99 mile marker of Highway U.S. One when 17 year old Brian Peterson approached with a flashlight in his hand just before 9 p.m. Peterson reportedly identified himself as a police officer and said he wanted to talk to them about a missing dog. One of the victim's asked to see identification proving he was an officer. At that point, Peterson allegely pulled out a butterfly knife, opened it and pointed it at them.

One of the victims ran to a nearby convenience store and called 911 for help. When the deputy arrived,he found Peterson still in the area. In his back pocket was a knife fitting the description given by the victims. Peterson was arrested and charged with aggravated assault and impersonating a police officer. He was booked at the Monroe County Detention Center.

November 12, 2006

Tequesta, Florida man injured while skydiving

Marathon - A Tequesta, Florida man in the Florida Keys skydiving was severely burned Sunday when he hit power lines near the Marathon airport.

43 year old Mike Wysong was in Marathon with a skydiving group from Sebastion, Florida called Sky Diving of Sebastion. He went up in an airplane at 9:30 a.m. At 9:50 a.m. he jumped from the airplane and, as he approached the ground he became entangled with power lines near the airport, just accross the highway from 76th Street. He and the power lines fell to the ground, but the power lines, which were tangled up with his parachute, remained live for an estimated 10-15 minutes until employees of Florida Keys Electric Coop could arrive and cut power.

According to Deputy Sydney Whitehouse, Wysong suffered severe burns. The deputy, who was on scene just minutes after the incident occurred, said Wysong was conscious and talking to him. Wysong told the deputy he could feel surges of the electricity periodically, the entire time he was lying there. Due to the danger of electrocution, responders could not do anything for Wysong until the power was cut off and he could be disentangled from the lines and transported to the hospital.

Wysong suffered burns over an estimated 15 to 20 percent of his body. He was airlifted from Fishermen's Hospital in Marathon to the Ryder Trauma Center in Miami. When Wysong hit the power lines, it caused power surges as far south as Key West.

November 10, 2006

Big Pine man charged with numerous crimes

Big Pine Key - A Big Pine Key man went on a crime spree Wednesday night, breaking in to two cars, the office of a trailer park on Big Pine Key and a Big Pine Key restaurant. He was arrested for the crimes Thursday after admitting to detectives that he committed them.

24 year old Samuel Bruns told Detectives Paul Schultz and Diane Mimosa he first drank a number of beers, and took some Xanax pills before beginning his crime spree.

According to reports by Deputy David Cruz, who spent considerable time working on the series of crimes, Bruns started by breaking in to a car parked in the parking lot of Coconut's bar. He took the vehicle's keys, which were left inside. Fortunately for the investigators, he also left behind his wallet on the front seat complete with his driver's license, so they had a pretty good idea of who committed the crime.

Following that break in, he broke into another car parked on Cunningham Lane, at the Royal Palms Trailer Park. He took a digital camera from that car. He then reportedly broke into the office of the trailer park where he ransacked it, knocking over file cabinets and spraying two fire extinguishers all over the inside. A witness walked in while the vandalism was going on and he spotted Bruns. He went for help and Bruns fled the scene. The witness later identified Bruns and the man he saw in the trailer park office.

Following his flight from that crime scene, Bruns allegedly broke into the Key Deer Bar and Grill. Bruns had reportedly been fired from the restaurant a few days before. Bruns helped himself to a couple of drinks then broke into the back office. According to reports by Deputy Freddie Rodriguez, Bruns left the building with several bottles of alcohol and some beer.

Bruns then broke into a trailer behind the business, taking a computer, a box of personal items, a coin collection, fishing tackle and a business check.

When the detectives confronted Bruns about the series of crimes he was a suspect in, he admitted to all of them. He gave detectives permission to search his trailer. They found a number of the stolen items inside. Bruns also turned over more stolen items from the trunk of his car. Bruns was arrested and charged with four counts of burglary and theft, and two counts of criminal mischief. He was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

Eleven people arrested in sting operation on Stock Island

Click here to see photos

Stock Island - Eleven people were booked into jail on drug charges after a warrant and drug sting operation on Stock Island Thursday afternoon.

The Sheriff's Special Investigations Division headed up the operation, assisted by road patrol officers. Detectives have been working on Stock Island recently, purchasing cocaine from drug dealers. Warrants were issued for them, and on Thursday afternoon, many of those warrants were served. Nine people were arrested on 15 counts of sale of cocaine, including: Scott Benson, 42, of Stock Island - one count Bernadette Bullard, 46, of Stock Island - one count Armondo Diaz, 45, of Stock Island - two counts Rodolfo Fernandez, 53, of Stock Island - two counts Lazaro Gonzalez, 34, of Stock Island - two counts Michelle Llama, 41, of Key West - two counts Julia Rodriguez, 51, of Stock Island - one count Christopher Story, 55, of Key West - one count James Walker, 47, of Stock Island - one count

Following the warrant round up, a reverse sting operation took place in which an undercover operative sold cocaine to two people. 34 year old Louis Ebbecke of Fort Lauderdale was charged with solicitation to purchase cocaine; after he put the drugs into his mouth in an attempt to destroy them he was also charged with tampering with evidence. 43 year old Cecil Brown was charged with solicitation to sell cocaine.

Ramrod man charged with leaving scene of accident, possessing drugs

Big Pine Key - A Ramrod Key man who hit a car as he was passing it was arrested after he left the scene of the accident and was found to possess cocaine and marijuana.

Deputy Marc Maison was on patrol when he was flagged down by a motorist who said he'd just been hit by a truck. He said the accident happened as he was northbound approaching Big Pine Key. He said despite his attempts to get the driver to stop, the truck just kept going. He said he spotted the truck parked in the parking lot of Coconut's bar on Big Pine Key, with a flat tire. He said when he confronted the driver, he yelled obscenities. That is when the victim flagged down the deputy for help. Deputy Maison looked inside the truck and noticed that in addition to the flat tire, the truck's steering column was broken.

The victim and Deputy Maison went into the bar and found the driver, 36 year old Karl Matey, at the bar. The deputy asked Matey what happened to his steering column. Matey became visibly agitated and refused to cooperate with the deputy's questions, so he was detained for further investigation. A search of his pockets turned up cocaine and marijuana, so he was handcuffed behind his back and placed in a patrol car as the deputy continued to investigate.

On four occasions, Matey managed to get his handcuffs from the back to the front, so he was further restrained with a Hobble device around his ankles and a seatbelt. He somehow managed to get out of both the Hobble restraint and the seatbelt, and get his handcuffed hands in front of him again. Deputy Maison had left his back windows, which were equipped with bars, unrolled so that Matey would not become overheated in the car. When Deputy Maison looked at his car to check on Matey, he found him reaching through the bars in an attempt to open the patrol car's door. At that point, the deputy rolled up the windows.

Matey was transported to the Monroe County Detention Center where he was charged with possession of cocaine and marijuana and leaving the scene of the accident; he was also charged with resisting arrest and with attempted escape and he was booked into jail.


November 9, 2006

Neighbor complaints lead to drug arrests

Click here to see photos of the drugs and other items seized

Key Largo - After neighbors complained about lots of traffic at a home on Ryan Lane in Key Largo, detectives from the Special Investigations Division served a search warrant, arresting two men for a large amount of illegal narcotics.

Detectives seized over $18,000 worth of ecstasy, cocaine, marijuana and drug paraphernalia at 221 Ryan Avenue Wednesday afternoon. They obtained a search warrant for the residence after neighbors noticed a large number of cars and people visiting the home for short periods of time, an indication of drug trafficking.

They also found equipment to manufacture fake identification cards. The equipment has been turned over to federal authorities for possible prosecution.

Twenty eight year old Eric Deland and 24 year old Chad Lucas were both arrested at the home. Detectives found 53 "double stack" Ecstasy pills - two pills molded together - along with 589 regular sized ecstasy pills; over 4 ounces of powdered cocaine, a small amount of marijuana some unidentified white pills and several items of drug paraphernalia. They also found a book called "How to make driver's licenses on your home computer", along with a Gateway computer loaded with special software for making identification, cards and a specialized printer for printing the IDs.

Deland was charged with trafficking in cocaine and ecstasy, and possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia; Lucas was charged with trafficking in ecstasy, possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, possession of a controlled substance and possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. Both men were booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

Detectives with the General Crimes Unit assisted in serving the search warrant. More charges are pending regarding the manufacture of fake identification, and due to the close proximity of Key Largo Elementary School, which is less than 1000 feet away from the residence.

Man charged with burglarizing Big Pine trailer

Big Pine Key - A Big Pine Key man has been arrested for burglarizing a trailer at Seahorse Campground.

The victim returned home November 1st to find his front door had been pried open and his jewelry had been taken. Deputy Dave Johnson responded and took a report of the incident. The following day, he was back in the area and a neighbor told him she was walking her dog the day before and saw a man she knew as 40 year old Stephen Grant leaving the trailer. Grant was reportedly carrying a pry bar, which he put into the basket of his bicycle. He was also wearing several items of gold jewelry she said she'd never seen him wearing before. Another witness who lives in the area said she saw a man fitting Grant's description leaving the trailer as well, although she did not know his name.

Detective Paul Schultz was assigned to investigate the case. He showed a photo line up to the witnesses, who identified Grant as the man leaving the trailer. A warrant was obtained for his arrest, on charges of burglary, theft and criminal mischief. Grant was arrested Wednesday and charged with the warrant. He was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

Motorcyclist hides in officer's yard - is arrested

Key Largo - A reckless motorcycle driver, pursued by a Sheriff's Lieutenant, fled at high speeds, finally hiding behind a truck in the front yard of a house. Unfortunately for him, it was the Lieutenant's own yard he chose as a hiding place.

Lt. Don Fanelli was parked in his marked patrol car in the school zone at Key Largo Elementary School when he saw the silver 2006 Suzuki fly past him at a high rate of speed. As he pulled out to pursue the vehicle for speeding, he saw it pass a car on the shoulder, do a wheelie on it's back wheel, then pass between two other cars. The motorcycle passed Adam's Waterway and turned off the highway into a residential neighborhood - the same neighborhood where the Lieutenant resides.

He lost sight of the motorcyclist, but, with the help of a neighbor who was outside and saw what happened, the driver and his motorcycle were located crouched down behind a truck, parked in the front yard of the Lieutenant's own house.

The driver, 39 year old John Varone, was placed under arrest. It turned out that Varone lived just a few houses away. When Lt. Fanelli placed him in handcuffs, Varone said, "The cop who lives here must be on vacation." The Lieutenant replied, "No, he's not. He's working today. I live here."

Varone was charged with reckless driving, fleeing and eluding police, and operating a motorcycle without a license.

November 7, 2006

Islamorada man charged with false imprisonment

Islamorada - An Islamorada man who held his ex-girlfriend inside her home and refused to let her leave was arrested Monday and charged with battery and false imprisonment.

The victim told Sgt. Gabor Simoga her ex-boyfriend, 42 year old Mark Petit, came to her house at 1 a.m. Saturday and refused to leave. She said she finally let him come inside and, when he told her he didn't want to go home, she told him he could sleep on the couch. As she began walking toward her bedroom, she said he hit her in the face. She closed the bedroom door, but he forced his way in. She said she asked several times for her cell phone so she could call for help, but he refused to give the phone to her. He held her down on the bed and called her obscene names, making a number of threatening statements.

He finally left and she called the Sheriff's Office for help. After he left, she said he called her cell phone several times. During the calls, she said he threatened to kill her. Sgt. Simoga tried to locate Petit that night, but was unable to.

Warrants were issued for Petit and on Monday he was arrested. He was charged with false imprisonment, battery and harassing phone calls. He was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

Marathon man arrested after speeding in jail parking lot

Stock Island - A Marathon man was arrested for having a suspended driver's license and on drug charges after he was stopped for speeding in the parking lot of the Stock Island Detention Center Monday.

Deputies Henry DelValle and Kim Trulender were in the parking lot of the Detention Center when they saw a 2003 Dodge Caravan speeding in to the parking lot. Because of the potential danger to pedestrians in the parking lot, they pulled the van over. The driver, 42 year old Alvin Dean of Marathon, turned out to have a suspended driver's license so he was placed under arrest. A search of his pockets turned up plastic bags with marijuana and cocaine inside, along with rolling papers.

Dean was charged with possession of marijuana, cocaine and drug paraphernalia. He was also issued a warning for speeding too fast for conditions. He was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

November 6, 2006

Detectives investigating Tavernier burglaries; one suspect arrested

Tavernier - Sheriff's detectives are investigating a series of burglaries in Tavernier. One suspect was apprehended Friday and more arrests and more charges are pending.

22 year old Francisco Turnes, Jr., who lives on Sabal Palm Lane, was charged Friday with burglarizing a home on Harborview Drive. The burglary took place on the afternoon of October 30th. Warrants were obtained for Turnes after he pawned jewelry stolen from the residence at a Key Largo pawn shop. According to information received by Detective Mike DiGiovanni, Turnes was with two other possible suspects when he went to the pawn shop. On Friday, Detective DiGiovanni, assisted by other officers, apprehended Turnes near his mother's home on Sabal Palm Lane. He initially fled on foot, but was found hiding behind a van parked on a vacant lot nearby. Turnes was charged with burglary, grand theft and dealing in stolen property.

Detectives are investigating at least three other similar burglaries in the same area that they believe may be connected. Sometime between October 22nd and November 4th a home on Sabal Palm Lane was burglarized. Tools and fishing equipment valued at over $4,000 were taken from the house and a storage shed, including a GPS, and a 25 hp boat motor. Over $5,000 worth of fishing and diving equipment was stolen from a shed and a boat on Buttonwood lane sometime between October 8th and November 4th. A mobile home was burglarized on Sable Palm Lane between October 29th and November 4th; five bottles of alcohol and a stereo were taken.

Anyone with information about these crimes should call the Sheriff's Office or call Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. Callers to Crime Stoppers may remain anonymous and are eligible for a cash reward if their information leads to an arrest. The Crime Stoppers hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS.

Teen charged with car burglaries

Key Colony Beach - A Summerland Key teen was arrested Friday in the early morning hours after he was caught burglarizing a car.

Detective Mike DiGiovanni was working in Key Colony Beach at 3:30 a.m. Friday when he was dispatched to East Ocean Drive. Three people staying in the area said they were walking on the beach when they saw someone looking into cars parked in the parking lot of a hotel. When he saw them, he left. A short time later, they heard a car alarm and decided to see if it went off due to the same suspect they saw in the parking lot. As they walked toward the alarm, they saw the same suspect riding a bicycle westbound on East Ocean Drive.

Detective DiGiovanni began patrolling the area looking for someone fitting the suspect's description. He was on 7th Street when he saw a bicycle lying in the roadway. He then spotted someone leaning into the open door of a car rifling through it. 15 year old Kenneth Jennison tried to flee when he saw the patrol car, but he was apprehended. When he was caught, he had a roll of quarters he'd just stolen from the car on 7th Street, and a flashlight stolen from a car that was burglarized a short time before on 3rd Street. He was charged with two counts of burglary and two counts of theft and he was booked at the Monroe County Detention Center.

Aventura man charged with reckless driving

Key Largo - An Aventura, Florida man was arrested for reckless driving after he almost hit a deputy as he passed him at a high rate of speed Saturday morning.

Deputy Keith Albert was driving southbound at the 97 mile marker of the highway in his marked patrol car when a 2002 Mazda passed him at a high rate of speed almost hitting him. The deputy turned on his lights and siren and saw the car swerve several times. The driver, 35 year old Boris Volovich, started to pull over, then accelerated crashing into a concrete median at the 96 mile marker and flattening one of his tires. He continued to drive on the flat tire until he finally pulled into the parking lot of a restaurant at the 95 mile marker.

Volovich reportedly smelled strongly of alcohol and failed a field sobriety exercise so he was arrested. A search of his pockets turned up two plastic bags, one with cocaine inside and one with marijuana inside. In the car, deputies found a six pack of Beck's beer with two missing and a bottle of Vodka.

Volovich was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, hit and run, reckless driving, fleeing and eluding police, possession of cocaine and possession of marijuana. He was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

Man arrested for gun threats

Big Pine Key - A Big Pine Key man was arrested Sunday night, charged with threatening people with a gun.

Deputy David Cruz responded to reports of gun threats at a home on County Road, Big Pine Key at 7 p.m. Three people told Deputy Cruz that a man they knew only as "Steven" threatened to kill them, and pointed a gun at them. One of the victims told the deputy where "Steven" lived: on Cunningham Lane. Deputy Cruz responded to that location and confronted 45 year old Steven Barker. The deputy asked Barker if he had a gun and Barker told him where to find a pellet gun shaped like a handgun, in his residence.

The gun was taken as evidence and Barker was arrested. He was charged with aggravated assault and trespassing and he was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

Snake stolen

Stock Island - A Stock Island woman reported her snake was stolen sometime between Saturday night at 6:30 p.m. and shortly after midnight.

The snake's owner told Deputy Richard Bellon she last saw her six foot long Boa constrictor Saturday night. The snake was in a cage in her yard, and there was a brick on top of the cage to keep the snake inside. She went out to check on the snake shortly after midnight Sunday and found the brick removed from the top of the cage and the snake missing.

The snake is described as a red-tailed boa about six feet long, green in color with black markings and a red tail.

21 DUI Arrests

Monroe County - Sheriff's deputies arrested 21 people over the weekend for Driving under the influence of alcohol.

The average number of DUI arrests for a non holiday weekend in the Keys is between eight and 12, but this past weekend deputies arrested 21 people for drinking and driving.

As a reminder, as the holiday season approaches, deputies will be out watching closely for impaired drivers. Anyone caught drinking and driving will be taken to jail. Make sure if you are planning to go out and consume alcoholic beverages that you have a designated driver to drive you home, or that you take a taxi or find some other safe way to make it home. Getting behind the wheel of an automobile when you are impaired by alcohol or drugs can be deadly - drunk drivers kill thousands of people each year in the United States.

November 3, 2006

Warrant sweep nets 10 arrests, clears 28 outstanding warrants

Marathon - Sheriff's detectives from the Special Investigations Division arrested 10 people during a warrants sweep Thursday night, clearing 28 outstanding warrants.

Detectives were assisted by, road patrol deputies, the Housing Authority, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and other agencies during the sweep, which took place in Marathon between 6 and 10 p.m. The sweep was the culmination of an operation lasting several months called "Operation Crack Down". The operation was meant to target the sale of cocaine in the vicinity of public housing in the Marathon area. A number of those arrested were selling the drug near the public housing complex at 240 Sombrero Road and a number of them also lived in the complex or had family living there. More warrants related to this operation are expected to be served in the future.

The following people were arrested:

Shayon Bryant, 32 years old of Marathon. Bryant was contacted on his cell phone and he agreed to meet with an undercover operative to sell him $500 worth of crack cocaine prior to the start of the warrants sweep. He was parked in the parking lot of a fast food restaurant when detectives approached, arresting him on outstanding warrants for four counts sale of cocaine, principle in the first degree and sale of cocaine within 1000 feet of public housing (a felony with enhanced penalties). He fought with officers and was stunned by a Taser, after which he was placed in handcuffs. After his arrest, a search of his vehicle turned up 21 crack rocks under the driver's seat and 16 crack rocks in a pill bottle in the center console. He also had a marijuana cigarette in the ash tray. The Florida tag on the vehicle was stolen, the vehicle was not registered and his license had been suspended three times for failure to pay traffic fines. He was further charged with possession of cocaine with intent to sell it, possession of marijuana, use of a two way communications device to facilitate a felony, resisting arrest, attaching a tag not assigned, theft of the tag, failure to register a vehicle and driving with his license suspended.

Marvin Bryant, 21, of Homestead was picked up on three outstanding warrants for sale of cocaine. He had 10 crack rocks in his possession at the time of his arrest os he was also charged with possession of cocaine with intent to distribute.

Timothy Farmer, 36, of Marathon was picked up on four counts of sale of cocaine within 1000 feet of public housing, two counts principle in the first degree, and sale of cocaine.

Elkanah Hepburn, 41, of Marathon was picked up on two counts of sale of cocaine. When arrested, he was found to be in possession of three crack rocks, so he was further charged with possession of cocaine.

Tracy Huntley, 38, of Marathon was picked up for three counts sale of cocaine.

Randy Jones, 26, of Marathon was picked up for three counts sale of cocaine.

Charlie Hayes, 23, of Marathon was with Jones at the time of his arrest. Hayes was found to have possession of cocaine and tried to flee from officers so he also was arrested and charged with possession of cocaine and resisting arrest.

Derrick Jones, 27, of Marathon was charged with sale of cocaine within 1000 feet of public housing.

Macarthur Sheppard, Jr., 18, of Marathon was picked up on charges of sale of cocaine. When he was arrested, detectives found 10 crack rocks and one gram of marijuana in his pocket. He was also charged with possession of cocaine and marijuana.

Jerome Tubbs, 26, of Marathon was picked up for sale of cocaine and two counts sale of cocaine within 1000 feet of public housing

Eddie Woods, 19, of Marathon walked up while the warrant sweep was taking place. He ran from detectives, threw away two plastic bags containing cocaine and hid under a parked van. When he was arrested, he told detectives it was his first day as a drug dealer. He was charged with resisting arrest, tampering with evidence and possession with intent to sell within 1000 feet of public housing.

Rodney Holmes, 37, of Marathon drove up to the area of 240 Sombrero Road while the warrant sweep was taking place. He gave deputies a false name, which was discovered after they ran a search of the name in computers and came up with a picture that obviously wasn't him. Once they discovered his real name, they found his license was suspended so he was arrested and charged with driving with his license suspended and resisting arrest. The tag attached to his vehicle did not belong to it and the vehicle itself was not registered so he was further charged with attaching tag not assigned and failure to register a vehicle.

November 2, 2006

Detectives arrest Key West man for marijuana

Key West - Sheriff's detectives from the Special Investigations Division served a search warrant Wednesday night, arresting a Key West man for possession of marijuana.

Detectives served the warrant at 1219 Flagler Avenue at 6:30 p.m. In the residence, they found 45 grams of marijuana in several locations inside, along with several items of drug paraphernalia. 20 year old Jesse Domian, of Key West, was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana. He was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

The Sheriff's Office was assisted by the Key West Police Department.

November 1, 2006

Teen stabbed while trick or treating

Marathon - A Marathon teen was taken to the hospital Tuesday night after he was stabbed while trick or treating with his girlfriend.

The 15 year old victim told Deputy Joseph Goodwin he was trick or treating with his girlfriend at 10:15 p.m. when 21 year old Juan Pablo Ballejos attacked him with a knife. The victim suffered cuts to his back and his arm. He went to Fishermen's Hospital for treatment and that is when the Sheriff's Office was notified of the incident. A relative of the suspect showed up at the hospital and Deputy Goodwin told her he needed to speak with Ballejos about what happened. Ballejos later turned himself in. He claimed that the victim attacked him and he took the knife away from him and defended himself. Ballejos did have injuries on his arm and hand which required seven staples.

Ballejos was arrested and charged with aggravated battery. He was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center. The victim received 27 stitches to close his wounds. He was treated and released.



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