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


March 31, 2006

Tavernier man charged with sale of prescription drugs

Tavernier - After an investigation spanning three months, detectives from the Sheriff's Special Investigations Division charged a Tavernier man with selling prescription drugs.

On three different occasions, 59 year old Jesus Moreno sold prescription drugs to an undercover operative. The drugs he sold were Vicodin and Methodone. On Thursday at 4 p.m. a search warrant was served at his Sabal Avenue home in Tavernier. During the search, detectives found both Vicodin and Methadone, along with a large amount of cash.

Moreno was arrested and charged with three counts of sale of a controlled substance. He was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

March 30, 2006

Snorkeling death off of Key Largo

Key Largo - Deputies and detectives responded this morning to John Pennekamp State Park to reports of a snorkeling death in the waters off of Key Largo.

According to witnesses, the 50 year old South Carolina woman was on a snorkeling trip on board the vessel El Capitan when she began having trouble in the water. The Captain said she was having trouble breathing and he and his first mate assisted her on board and began administering oxygen. They got the other snorkelers on board and began heading back to shore, administering Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation on the way.

Paramedics met them at the dock and continued treatment, but could not revive the victim who was pronounced dead dockside at 10:45 a.m. An autopsy will be done to determine the cause of her death. Detective Mark Coleman is attempting to contact her next of kin to notify them of her death.

March 28, 2006

Homeless man charged with burglary

Marathon - A sleeping Marathon family was awakened by noises from someone who'd broken into their apartment this morning.

A woman and her two children were sleeping in their apartment at 240 Sombrero Road when the incident occurred at 5:30 a.m. The woman called her husband, who was at work. He told her to call police. He met deputies at his apartment door and let them in. They found 30 year old William Davis in the apartment. He was rummaging around in the kitchen.

The victims said they did not know Davis and he had no permission to be in the apartment. He was arrested and charged with burglary, then booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

Stock Island man charged with burglary

Stock Island - An 18 year old Stock Island man, angry because his wife's brother had taken some of his clothing, was arrested after he tried to force his way into the brother's trailer Monday.

When Deputy David Johnson arrived at the trailer on Laurel Avenue at 9:40 a.m., they found 18 year old Ryan Holsworth trying to force his way through the door. They ordered him away from the door and he reluctantly complied, loudly yelling and cursing. He continued the behavior as Detective Donald Catala arrived on the scene. The detective attempted to calm Holsworth unsuccessfully and Holsworth finally had to be placed in handcuffs and detained in a patrol car.

His wife told the officers he became angry the day before, saying her brother was taking his belongings and not returning them. He then became more irate when someone let their dog out of their yard and he began to break things in their trailer. He then left the trailer and went to her brother's nearby trailer attempting to break into it.

Holsworth was charged with criminal mischief and burglary and he was booked into the Detention Center.

March 27, 2006

Plane incident closes Key West Airport

Key West - A small plane skidded off the runway at the Key West Airport Sunday morning closing runway operations for just over an hour.

The Piper single engine aircraft had two people on board from Venice, Florida. Neither person was injured. The pilot told Deputy Martin Harbin that as he was landing the plane, the nose gear collapsed and he skidded off the side of the runway.

Key Largo man arrested for ecstasy possession

Key Largo - A Key Largo man was arrested in the early morning hours Saturday for possessing ecstasy.

Sgt. Chuck Kellenberger was on patrol in the area of Lake Surprise in Key Largo when he spotted a man acting suspiciously. The man appeared to by trying the doors on a truck. When the sergeant pulled up, the man was sitting inside the truck. Sgt. Kellenberger asked 43 year old Terrance Eisel if it was his truck. Eisel said it was a friends truck, but couldn't remember the friend's name. The sergeant asked Eisel to get out of the truck so he could investigate further.

Eisel exited the truck and Sgt. Kellenberger spotted a plastic bag beside the truck's door with pills inside. Further investigation revealed it was a bag with 15 Ecstasy pills inside. As the sergeant was placing Eisel in handcuffs, the registered owner of the truck walked up. He said eisel was his friend, but that he didn't know anything about the drugs.

Eisel was charged with possession of a controlled substance and he was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

Deputies help kids accidentally left at convenience store

Key Largo - Two teen age girls were accidentally left at a Key Largo convenience store Friday night.

The two friends from Illinois, age 16 and 17, were with the grandparents of the 16 year old, traveling from Key West to Fort Myers when they stopped at the Circle K store at the 106 mile marker for fuel. The girls left the van without saying anything to go to the bathroom. As they walked out of the store, they saw the van pulling onto the highway, northbound.

They ran after it, waving their hands to no avail. Figuring the grandparents would soon notice they weren't in the vehicle, they sat down to wait. Ninety minutes later, the told the convenience store clerk they needed help, and Deputy Nick Pham arrived followed by Detective David CArey.

After phone calls to the girl's parents in Illinois, arrangements were made for a friend of the family to drive down from Homestead to pick them up. The grandparents didn't realize the girl's were missing until they arrived home in Fort Myers. They are now safe and sound, home with their relatives.

Another arrest in Marathon robbery case

Marathon - Deputies arrested another man in a robbery case which took place March 6th in Marathon.

Deputy Rosa Perez arrested 26 year old Joey Wayne Graley, a carnival worker from Muncie, Indiana Friday. He was charged with an outstanding warrant for robbery. Bond on the warrant is set at $30,000.00.

The victim in the case, a 20-year old Marathon resident, told deputies that after drinking at a local bar he was followed by three men who he recognized as workers from the carnival. He said the suspects attacked him and stole about one hundred dollars cash and a gold chain with pendant, valued at two thousand dollars. The victim suffered a black eye, cuts, bruises and a dislocated knee as a result of the attack.

March 24, 2006

Man arrested for attempted sexual battery

Stock Island - A man was arrested for attempting to rape a woman after he was found sitting beside her as she yelled for help.

Sgt. Ronnie Roberts an Deputy Juan Martin-Reyes were in the parking lot of the Tom Thumb convenience store on Stock Island at 10:30 p.m. when a woman said she heard someone yelling for help in the vicinity of 2nd Street. The officers went to investigate and found a woman lying between two cars. She was naked from the waist down, with her shorts lying next to her. A man was sitting nearby, up against a vehicle tire. The zipper on his pants was down.. When Sgt. Roberts asked the woman what was happening, she said the man had just tried to rape her.

The victim said she went to the Tom Thumb for cigarettes. She said she felt ill as she was leaving so she walked around the side of the building. She said 28 year old Nahun Paz saw her having trouble and offered to help. He walked with her a short distance, then asked her to have sex. He forced her to the ground and removed her pants, covering her mouth so she couldn't scream. She said she bit him twice as he was attempting to have forcible sex with her.

Paz was arrested and charged with attempted sexual battery. He was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

March 23, 2006

Lower units stolen from boat motors

Key Largo - Boat motor thieves struck again overnight between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning at the Lighthouse Boat Center in Key Largo.

Detective Mike Wilkinson said he believes the thieves parked at the back of the business, cut the ties holding the fencing to the fence poles, then entered the property by climbing under the fence. They stole nine lower units from Yamaha and Mercury engines, all ranging from 225 to 300 horsepower in size. The units were valued at a total of $36,000.00.

These thefts are most likely part of an ongoing series of boat motor thefts that are taking place all over the south Florida area, including the Keys. Monroe County Sheriff's Detectives are investigating, and are in contact with other law enforcement agencies to share information in cases which may be connected. It is believed these stolen motors and lower units are taken out of the Keys, and may be shipped out of the country.

Anyone with information about this should call the Sheriff's Office immediately. Callers who wish to remain anonymous can report the information through Florida Keys Crime Stoppers. If the information leads to an arrest in a felony case, the caller would be eligible for a cash reward. The Crime Stoppers hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS. Tips may also be reported anonymously on line at

Sheriff's employee arrested for theft from property

Key West - A Sheriff's Office property and evidence employee has been arrested for stealing money.

32 year old Michael Knowles in in jail charged with grand theft. According to Internal Affairs Lt. Cindy Peryam, Knowles supervisor Property and Evidence Director Diana O'Dell found money missing Wednesday from a case in evidence - $938.00 in cash. She asked Knowles about the missing money which he said he knew nothing about. He left the office and returned a short time later, telling O'Dell he'd found the missing money in the property van. He handed her a package of money. When O'Dell examined the package, she noticed it had been opened and was short $1.00. That is when she notified the Sheriff's Internal Affairs Division.

This morning (Thursday) Lt. Peryam interviewed Knowles. During the interview he admitted to taking $500 from the package of money to pay personal bills. He said when O'Dell confronted him, he replaced the money.

Knowles was arrested and booked into the Monroe County Detention Center. He has been suspended without pay from the Sheriff's Office pending the outcome of a pre-termination hearing on Monday.

Sugarloaf man charged with groping young girls

Sugarloaf Key - A Sugarloaf Key man was arrested Wednesday, charged with lewd and lascivious acts toward young girls.

Deputy John Gabay responded to the Sugarloaf KOA Campground at 9:45 p.m. to reports of a drunk man the campground wanted removed from the property. When he arrived, he learned the man was at the campground's pool. At the pool, he was approached by numerous witnesses who said 34 year old John Herndon had been in the pool, touching young girls inappropriately. Four girls in their teens then told Deputy Gabay that Herndon had been grabbing them in the crotch, buttocks and breasts in the pool.

Deputy Gabay found Herndon nearby arguing with a group of people. He began to question the man and Herndon became agitated, yelling and swearing at the deputy so he was placed into Deputy Gabay's patrol car.

After the deputy spoke with multiple witnesses and victims, Herndon was arrested and charged with three counts of lewd and lascivious acts on young girls, battery, and disorderly intoxication. When Deputy Gabay opened the rear patrol car door, Herndon spit in his face, so he was further charged with battery on a law enforcement officer and he was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

March 20, 2006

Miami man dies while free diving

Marathon - A Miami man died while free diving Saturday morning.

29 year old Ivan Morffi of Miami was free diving with friends on the wreck Thunderbolt off shore of Marathon at 10:30 a.m. Saturday. According to the witnesses, they were all free diving at 120 feet deep, spear fishing. They lost site of Morffi. After searching for him for some time, they enlisted the assistance of a nearby boat called the "New York Doll". The scuba divers on board the boat spotted the body on the bottom and dove down to retrieve it. At that point, Morffi had been underwater for approximately 30 minutes.

His body was brought to shore at Captain Hook's Marina in Marathon. Sheriff's detectives responded along with the Monroe County Medical Examiner's Office. An autopsy will be done to determine the cause of Morffi's death.

March 16, 2006

Ohio woman dies snorkeling

Key Largo - A 47 year old woman from Columbus, Ohio died while snorkeling off of Key Largo Wednesday.

Melisse Shifrin was on a snorkeling trip with her husband on board the "Reef Roamer" when the incident took place. Crew members on the boat saw one of the 40 people on the trip waving for help from the water at 2:15 p.m. One of them jumped in to assist and found Shifrin unresponsive. She was taken on board a private vessel which was nearby, and CPR was performed. She was transferred to a vessel belonging to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission and was taken to shore where she was pronounced dead at Mariner's Hospital.

An autopsy will take place to determine the cause of her death.

March 13, 2006

Key Largo woman charged with giving kids alcohol

Key Largo - Deputies responded to Bonefish Avenue in Key Largo Friday evening to reports of underage drinking.

When Deputy Chuck Kellenberger arrived at 6:10 p.m., Sgt. Sean Heffron was already on the scene. He was investigating reports that the juveniles he found by the water were drinking. One 12 year old girl told the officers her mother had bought them wine coolers to drink. Further investigation revealed three of the six juveniles on the scene had consumed the wine coolers, along with an 18 year old who was also there. As they were questioning the kids, 47 year old Carla Wollangk pulled up in a van.

The officers confronted her with the information they had. At first she denied providing the wine coolers, but later admitted to it. She said she dropped them off for a short time and had returned to pick them up so they could go to the movies. She said she bought them the wine coolers because they were going to drink alcohol anyway and she'd rather they do it with her. A plastic bag with empty wine cooler bottles

She gave Deputy Kellenberger permission to search her van. Inside, he found an bottle of Budweiser beer next to the driver's seat, open and still cold. He also found a pill bottle in her purse containing Oxycodone, Hydrocodone, Xanax and Ambien.

She was placed under arrest for contributing to the delinquency of a minor, providing alcohol to a person under 21 years of age, possession of a controlled substance and she was cited for violation of the open container ordinance. She was booked at the Monroe County Detention Center.

March 10, 2006

Carnival workers arrested

Two carnival workers were arrested in separate incidents at Marathon this week.

Sheriff’s detectives, investigating a robbery Wednesday, arrested 20-year old Michael J. Carl on a warrant charging him with robbery, battery and larceny. Carl is one of the workers at a carnival operating at the Marathon events field. The victim in this case, a 20-year old Marathon resident, told deputies that after drinking at a local bar he was followed by three men who he recognized as workers from the carnival. He said the suspects attacked him and stole about one hundred dollars cash and a gold chain with pendant, valued at two thousand dollars. The victim suffered a black eye, cuts, bruises and a dislocated knee as a result of the attack.

Investigating detectives located a witness who saw three suspects, including Carl, chasing the victim and returning to the carnival where they bragged about taking the cash and jewelry. Detectives obtained a warrant, arrested Carl and booked him into the Marathon jail on a three thousand dollar bond. The incident is still under investigation and more arrests are anticipated.

While detectives were investigating the robbery, another carnival worker who said he was “Fred,” approached two of the plainclothes detectives Wednesday on the carnival grounds and asked them if they had drugs to sell. “Fred” said he wanted to buy one hundred dollars worth marijuana. The detectives said they would return later in the day to make a deal.

That afternoon, the detectives returned and told “Fred” they had a bag of marijuana in a car parked outside the carnival grounds. Detectives promptly arrested “Fred” when he handed them one hundred dollars to pay for the drugs. The suspect turned out to be 48-year old Fredrick R. Watts of San Antonio, Texas. Detectives booked Watts into the Marathon jail on charges of solicitation to buy a controlled substance.

Miami man arrested in burglary, battery case

Investigation of a violent burglary and battery case on Big Pine Key last September resulted in a warrant issued for the arrest of 34-year old Alberto Acosta of Miami.

The victims told Sheriff’s investigators that Acosta broke into their residence and threatened to kill them. Family members said Acosta also grabbed their daughter by the throat and threatened to kill her. Acosta was the ex-boyfriend of the daughter. Family members said that before leaving Acosta turned on the gas stove, threatening to ignite the fumes and blow them up.

Deputies caught up with Acosta in the Upper Keys on Tuesday where he was booked into the Plantation Key jail on charges of burglary, aggravated assault and battery. His bond is set at one hundred thousand dollars.

March 3, 2006

Teen charged with attempting to run over two others

Big Pine Key - An 18 year old Summerland Key girl is in jail, charged with trying to run over two other girls with her car Wednesday on Big Pine Key.

One of the victims, a 17 year old, said she was inside her boyfriend's trailer on Big Pine Key at 7:15 p.m. Wednesday when Anya Vasquez tried to break in. She said she was in fear of what Vasquez would do to her. She has a permanent injunction against Vasquez and last time they encountered each other, Vasquez told her she was going to kill her.

The victim told Deputy Marc Maison she snuck out the back of the trailer and called her 14 year old friend to come meet her. As she was walking away from the trailer, she said Vasquez spotted her. She began to run, but Vasquez jumped into her car and chased her, trying to hit her with the car. She said she hid under a trailer to get away. As she was hiding from Vasquez, she heard someone screaming and recognized the voice of her 14 year old girlfriend.

The 14 year old told Deputy Maison she was walking to meet her friend when Vasquez tried to hit her with her car. She said Vasquez then jumped out of the car, demanded to know her name and punched her several times in the face. Vasquez then took the victim's cell phone and drove away.

A warrant was issued for Vasquez's arrest. On Thursday afternoon, Deputy Charlie Cobb spotted her sitting in her car on 41st Street, Summerland Key. He placed her under arrest. She was booked at the Monroe County Detention Center on charges of violation of an injunction, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and robbery.

Homestead man arrested for drug warrant

Key Largo - A Homestead man was arrested on a warrant for sale of cocaine Thursday. He was also charged with possessing the drug when detectives found crack cocaine in his car.

Detectives from the Sheriff's Special Investigations Division arranged for an undercover operative to meet with 22 year old Charles Henry Williams at the 107 mile marker to purchase cocaine from him. When he arrived at that location to make the deal, he was arrested and charged with an outstanding warrant for sale of cocaine. The warrant stemmed from an undercover purchase of crack cocaine from him in February.

A search of the car Williams arrived in revealed a cigarette box in the passenger door. Inside the box was 5.3 grams of crack cocaine. Williams was further charged with possession of cocaine with intent to sell. He was booked at the Monroe County Detention Center.


March 2, 2006

Medical receptionist charged with credit card fraud

Key West - Sheriff’s detectives Wednesday arrested a receptionist at a Key West medical office on charges of credit card fraud.

39-year old Lower Keys resident Irma Bouchard is charged with using credit card information from a patient to purchase clothing from an internet site. The victim, who resides on Ramrod Key, told Sheriff’s detectives that last December he noticed a fraudulent charge on his Visa credit card account. An order of medical-type clothing had been purchased using his credit card number and mailed to an address on Blue Water Drive at Bay Point in the Lower Keys. The order was placed the same day that the victim paid for an eye exam at the doctor’s office on North Roosevelt Boulevard in Key West.

Subsequent investigation revealed that UPS delivered the medical clothing order to Bouchard’s residence on Blue Water Drive at Bay Point. Bouchard is the receptionist who handled the victim’s credit card information when he paid for the visit to the doctor. Detectives also determined that it was Bouchard’s e-mail address that was used to order the medical clothing. After obtaining a warrant, detectives arrested Bouchard at her residence Wednesday and booked her on charges of credit card fraud and identity theft. Bouchard’s bond is set at ten thousand dollars.

Sheriff’s detective Paul Shultz investigated the case and said that there could be more victims involved in this credit card fraud case. Detective Shultz asked anyone with information to call him at the Sheriff’s Office at 745-3184. Callers who wish to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-346-TIPS.



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Contact Deputy Becky Herrin, Public Information Officer and Web Author or Sheriff Rick Ramsayvia e-mail
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