Monroe County Sheriff’s Office
Daily Crime and Information Report

Issued by the Media Relations Office
Media Relations Director Adam Linhardt

Follow us on Twitter @mcsonews and on Facebook at MCSO – Florida Keys. All of our press releases can be found on our blog at floridakeyssheriff.blogspot.com

July 31, 2018

Sheriff’s Office seeks help in marine theft case

Upper Keys deputies and detectives are asking for the public’s help in identifying two suspects regarding the theft of nearly $4,000 in fishing equipment earlier this month from a boat at the Mariner’s Club Resort in Key Largo.

The theft occurred at 5:14 a.m., July at the club, 97501 Overseas Highway, by two, unknown, white males described as being either teenagers or men in their early 20s. Each suspect has a small build with brown, medium length hair. Each suspect has light facial hair. They wore light clothing.

One of suspects can be seen on security footage carrying multiple fishing rods from a vessel. He hands some of the rods to the other suspect on the dock. They then run with the stolen property out of sight.

The stolen items were listed as:

• Two Penn International reels: One 30VSW and one 50VSW with a total value of $1,500;
• One Daiwa Tacoma electric reel valued at $1,000;
• Two Fenwick offshore rods worth $900:
• Two Penn spinning reels worth $500.

Anyone with information about this crime should contact Sheriff's Office Det. Sgt. Mark Coleman at 305-853-3211. Callers who wish to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at 1-866-471-8477. Tipsters can remain anonymous and if a tip leads to an arrest in the case, the caller may be eligible for a cash reward. Tips may also be submitted online at www.floridakeyscrimestoppers.com or via a text message using the smartphone app called P3 Phone. Tips can also be submitted via social media such as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter using the @CrimeStoppers305 hashtag.

July 29, 2018

Large amount of drugs seized after reckless driver stopped

A 46-year-old reckless driver from Broward County who possessed more than two ounces of hallucinogenic mushrooms and more than three ounces of marijuana was arrested for DUI as well for drug possession Saturday afternoon on U.S. 1.

Michael Allen Holt of Plantation, Florida was charged with DUI, possession of hallucinogenic mushrooms, possession with intent to sell marijuana, possession of more than 20 grams of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Middle Keys Sgt. Joel Slough was on patrol about 4:17 p.m. when he received numerous reports of a reckless driver, southbound on U.S. 1. The vehicle was a black, Ford Mustang GT. Callers stated the driver was doing to hurt someone as it almost caused several head-on collisions. Sgt. Slough spotted the Mustang at Mile Marker 56. Sgt. Slough saw that the Mustang was tailgating other cars. Sgt. Slough saw the Mustang attempt to pass a car, then decide against it. Other drivers pulled aside and let Sgt. Slough get directly behind the Mustang.

Sgt. Slough observed the Mustang drift into the other lane, suddenly brake and continue to tailgate. Sgt. Slough performed a traffic stop just south of the Vaca Cut Bridge. Sgt. Slough noticed the Mustang had been parked at an odd angle to the highway. Sgt. Slough was unable to determine the number of people in the Mustang due to dark window tint. Sgt. Slough drew his service weapon and told the driver to roll down the window. Sgt. Slough instructed the driver, later identified as Holt, to roll down the window, twice.

After several moments the driver’s side door opened. Holt’s movements were slow, delayed and he appeared to be confused as to how to roll down the window. Sgt. Slough ordered him to show his hands. Holt complied. Sgt. Slough holstered his weapon. Sgt. Slough immediately smelled a strong odor of marijuana. Traffic Enforcement Deputy Shaun Lones arrived on scene. Holt denied there were any drugs in the Mustang.

When Holt exited the vehicle, Sgt. Slough noticed marijuana “shake” inside the car. Deputy Lones conducted field sobriety tests as Sgt. Slough searched the Mustang. A Glad Lock© kitchen container in the trunk contained the mushrooms. The marijuana found in the trunk in four separate containers and was labeled by strain, such as “Gorilla Glue,” “Mint Cookies,” and “Orange Cookies.” A large amount of rolling papers, a digital scale and a grinder were found.

Six prescription pill bottles were also found. Each bottle had Holt’s name on them.

Deputy Lones found Holt’s speech to be slurred. Deputy Lones found Holt to be slow to speak. Holt was unsteady on his feet. Holt failed field sobriety exercises. Deputy Lones placed Holt under arrest for DUI.

Holt was taken to jail.

Anyone with information about any crime should contact the Sheriff's Office at 305-292-7000. Callers who wish to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at 1-866-471-8477. Tipsters can remain anonymous and if a tip leads to an arrest in the case, the caller may be eligible for a cash reward. Tips may also be submitted online at www.floridakeyscrimestoppers.com or via a text message using the smartphone app called P3 Phone. Tips can also be submitted via social media such as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter using the @CrimeStoppers305 hashtag.

July 28, 2018

Man arrested on drug charges

A 25-year-old Tavernier man was arrested Thursday after the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Special Operations Unit executed a search warrant at a residence on Ocean Drive that turned up more than 40 grams of cocaine, nearly $10,000 in cash and a handgun.

Timothy Michael Globus was charged with cocaine trafficking, possession of cocaine with intent to sell, possession of an Oxycodone pill without a prescription and marijuana possession.

Special Operations Unit detectives conducted the search following an investigation.

The following items were found in safe in a closet, a bedroom and a  bathroom:

• A total of about $10,000 in cash from suspected drug profits;
• A .45-caliber handgun and two boxes of ammunition;
• More than 40 grams of cocaine;
• An Oxycodone pill;
• Various drug paraphernalia, including a scale and chemicals typically used to “cut” cocaine;
• About 2.5 grams of marijuana hash oil.

Globus was taken to jail.

July 25, 2018

Man cited during lobster mini season

A 53-year-old lobster mini season double-tripper was issued a mandatory citation to appear in court early Wednesday afternoon after the Sheriff’s Office received a tip from a concerned citizen.

Octavian Cotoranu of Naples, Florida was cited for having four over-the-limit lobsters.

The Sheriff’s Office received an email from a citizen stating the suspect was seen making two trips out of Eden Pines Canal in Big Pine Key. The suspect was staying on Rose Drive and a picture was attached to the email.

Lower Keys Lt. Dennis Coleman and Det. Wendy Negron responded to Rose Drive about 1 p.m. and found the suspect, identified as Cotoranu. Lt. Coleman and Det. Negron explained the complaint they received. Cotoranu admitted to taking lobsters and gave permission for a search. Two plastic bags of lobster tails were found in a freezer. There was a total of 10 tails. Cotoranu admitted to taking the 10 lobsters, adding he thought he could take 12. The legal limit in the Florida Keys is six per person.

He was issued a mandatory appearance in court.

Those in violation of wildlife laws can face fines as high as $500.

Visit http://myfwc.com/fishing/saltwater/recreational/lobster/ for more information on lobster regulations.

The Sheriff’s Office remains out on patrol in-force this lobster mini season, along with our partners in the FWC and Coast Guard. Sheriff Rick Ramsay urges those who don’t know the laws to visit the above link. Those not in compliance will be/are being ticketed for violations!

Anyone with information about any crime should contact the Sheriff's Office at 305-292-7000. Callers who wish to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at 1-866-471-8477. Tipsters can remain anonymous and if a tip leads to an arrest in the case, the caller may be eligible for a cash reward. Tips may also be submitted online at www.floridakeyscrimestoppers.com or via a text message using the smartphone app called P3 Phone. Tips can also be submitted via social media such as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter using the @CrimeStoppers305 hashtag.

July 24, 2018

Second man arrested for check fraud in Hurricane Irma case 

A 33-year-old Fort Myers man was arrested Monday for stealing hundreds of dollars from an Tavernier-based plumbing business owner in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. 

Wisnel Hernandez Sanchez was charged with larceny, fraud and passing a counterfeit check.

Ernesto Moreno Aguiar of Miami-Dade County was arrested last week on the same charges.

The victim reported the case in October. He stated a former employee whom he hired to do work in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma had stolen personal checks from him. That suspect then distributed them to other men on the mainland, including those arrested, said Upper Keys Det. Jacques Rozek. Several of the banks where the suspects deposited the checks helped in the investigation. The checks included one written for $6,500 by Aguiar and another for $700 from Sanchez. One bank was able to stop the cashing of the $6,500 check.  

Security footage at multiple banks was reviewed. Both Sanchez and Aguiar were identified. Upon further investigation, warrants were issued for the arrest of both with a $30,000 bail.

Both remained in jail Tuesday.

More arrests may be pending.

Anyone with information about this crime should contact the Sheriff's Office at 305-292-7000. Callers who wish to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at 1-866-471-8477. Tipsters can remain anonymous and if a tip leads to an arrest in the case, the caller may be eligible for a cash reward. Tips may also be submitted online at www.floridakeyscrimestoppers.com or via a text message using the smartphone app called P3 Phone. Tips can also be submitted via social media such as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter using the @CrimeStoppers305 hashtag.

Sheriff’s Office seeks help in identifying suspects

Upper Keys Detectives are asking for the public’s help in identifying the three people seen in the attached picture.

Det. Jacques Rozek is investigating the April 28 theft of a woman’s wallet at Gilbert’s Resort in Key Largo. The woman reportedly had $1,100 in cash and all her credit cards in the wallet when she briefly left it on the beach. Later that day, someone attempted to purchase a $1,069 computer with one of her credit cards, but the company declined the purchase because it did not reflect her normal spending habits.

Meanwhile that same day, another card was used at the Walgreens in Florida City later that day for the amount of $817. The same card was again used at the Homestead Walgreens store for the amount of $505.96. Finally, the same card was used at the Homestead CVS store for the amount $255.95. The total amount taken from the woman’s bank account was $1,578.91.

Anyone with information about this crime should contact the Sheriff's Office Upper Keys Substation 305-853-3211 and ask for Det. Jacques Rozek. Callers who wish to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at 1-866-471-8477. Tipsters can remain anonymous and if a tip leads to an arrest in the case, the caller may be eligible for a cash reward. Tips may also be submitted online at www.floridakeyscrimestoppers.com or via a text message using the smartphone app called P3 Phone. Tips can also be submitted via social media such as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter using the @CrimeStoppers305 hashtag.

July 23, 2018

Head-on crash closes 7 Mile Bridge

A 12 p.m., head-on crash involving a Ford Mustang and sport utility vehicle at Mile Marker 41 on the Seven Mile Bridge Monday resulted in three people airlifted to Miami.

The crash is being investigated by the Florida Highway Patrol.

The crash closed U.S. 1 for more than an hour as FHP troopers, Monroe County Sheriff’s Office deputies, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers as well as firefighters and paramedics worked the scene.

Five people total were reported injured. Of those five, three were taken to the Sheriff’s Office Aviation Unit hangar in Marathon where both Trauma Star helicopters airlifted them to Miami.

• Meanwhile, another crash shortly thereafter temporarily closed northbound U.S. 1 lanes at Mile Marker 95. That crash involved a pedestrian. The FHP is investigating that crash as well.

July 22, 2018

Child struck by boat prop

An 11-year-old boy from Lutz, Florida, visiting the Florida Keys with his family, fell from a private, 20-foot bay boat in the Lower Keys and was struck by the boat prop Saturday evening.

The boy was airlifted via Trauma Star to Ryder Trauma Center about 7:40 p.m. following the incident off/near Boca Chica Key.

The boy suffered six to seven cuts to his back. His condition was not immediately clear Sunday morning.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is the investigating agency.

Men cited for multiple lobster violations

A father and son visiting the Florida Keys from South Carolina were issued multiple citations on Friday for taking lobster illegally prior to the start of lobster season. The 2018 lobster mini season does not start until 12:01 a.m. Wednesday. Regular seasons does not begin until Aug. 6.

Every year, the Sheriff’s Office typically sees some violators attempting to get an illegal jump start on mini season.

On Friday, Marine Deputy Wilfredo Guerra was on patrol near Toms Harbor Channel Bridge, bayside, at Mile Marker 60.5. Deputy Guerra was patrolling using a personal watercraft donated to the Sheriff’s Office by Riva Motorsports & Marine of the Keys in Key Largo. The business donates the Yamaha WaveRunners each year to be used for law enforcement purposes such as this.

Deputy Guerra saw two males with spears, who appeared to be spearing lobsters. Spearing lobsters is illegal at all times in Monroe County.

He identified the men as Peter Verdi, 52, and son Isaac Verdi, 18, both from South Carolina. Marine Deputy Guerra inspected their dive bags. Both bags revealed a total of eight undersized, illegally wrung and out-of-season lobster. An inspection of their cooler revealed four more speared and undersized mangrove snapper.

Both were issued notices to appear in court for a total of 10 citations, including having no fishing license, no lobster endorsements and no dive flag.

Sheriff Rick Ramsay reminds all visitors and residents that deputies will be out in-force this week enforcing our states wildlife laws.

Driver sought in hit-and-run case

The Sheriff’s Office is asking for the public’s help in identifying the man seen in the attached pictures.

There was a minor crash at 1:30 a.m. Sunday at 5th Street and MacDonald Avenue on Stock Island  involving a car and a scooter. There were no injuries.

The suspect was driving white passenger car, possibly a Ford. Vehicle left on 5th Street and turned left into U.S. 1 driving toward Key West.

Anyone with information about this incident should contact the Sheriff's Office at 305-292-7000. Callers who wish to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at 1-866-471-8477. Tipsters can remain anonymous and if a tip leads to an arrest in the case, the caller may be eligible for a cash reward. Tips may also be submitted online at www.floridakeyscrimestoppers.com or via a text message using the smartphone app called P3 Phone. Tips can also be submitted via social media such as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter using the @CrimeStoppers305 hashtag.

July 18, 2018

Man arrested for check fraud

A 56-year-old Miami-Dade County man was arrested Tuesday for stealing more than $7,000 from an Upper Keys man.

Ernesto Moreno Aguiar was charged with larceny, fraud and passing a counterfeit check.

The victim reported the incident in October. He stated a former employee whom he hired to do work in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma had stolen personal checks from him. One of the victim’s banks located some of the forged checks, including one written for $6,500 and another for $700.

Security footage at the banks was reviewed. Aguiar was identified. Warrants were issued for his arrest with a $30,000 bail.

He was booked into jail Wednesday.

Anyone with information about any crime should contact the Sheriff's Office at 305-292-7000. Callers who wish to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at 1-866-471-8477. Tipsters can remain anonymous and if a tip leads to an arrest in the case, the caller may be eligible for a cash reward. Tips may also be submitted online at www.floridakeyscrimestoppers.com or via a text message using the smartphone app called P3 Phone. Tips can also be submitted via social media such as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter using the @CrimeStoppers305 hashtag.

Man dies while diving off Key West

The Sheriff’s Office is investigating the Tuesday night death of a 31-year-old Key West man who had been diving on a hookah rig west of Key West in the Gulf of Mexico near Cottrell Key.

Jonathan Christopher Saporito, 31, was pronounced dead at Coast Guard Station Key West shortly after the 7 p.m. incident.

The Coast Guard responded to the scene where they found two other men attempting to revive Saporito aboard a private, 24-foot AquaSport boat. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission also assisted in the incident.

The witnesses told the Sheriff’s Office they had been diving at a depth of about 22 feet. They stated they were taking turns, with two divers in the water at one time, since roughly 2 p.m. They advised neither drugs nor alcohol were involved. At 7 p.m. one diver came up, but Saporito did not. They tugged on the air line. There was no response. The two men pulled him aboard. He was unresponsive.

They called 911. Sheriff’s Office emergency communicators instructed them on how to perform CPR. The Coast Guard arrived on scene shortly thereafter.

No foul play is suspected. An autopsy is scheduled. 

July 16, 2018

Two day sport lobster season is next week

The Sheriff’s Office would like to remind everyone the two day sport lobster season is coming up next week. Anyone who plans to participate catching lobster in Monroe County during the two day season on July 25 and 26 should make sure to familiarize themselves with both state law and with local ordinances in the Florida Keys. Details and information can be found in the attached pamphlet or at http://myfwc.com/fishing/saltwater/recreational/lobster/

Additionally, Sheriff Rick Ramsay would like to remind everyone who lives here and who is visiting: marine thefts commonly happen in the Florida Keys and thieves may see the two day sport season as an opportunity to target people who aren’t being careful with their valuables. Make sure you remove electronics, fishing and diving gear from your boat when you aren’t on it and store this valuable equipment somewhere secure.

During the two day sport season, the Sheriff’s Office will have extra patrols at boat ramps, bridges and on the water. Anyone caught with illegal lobster will be charged accordingly. All Sheriff’s Office boats will be on patrol, and deputies will also be operating a number of personal watercraft donated to the Sheriff’s Office by Riva Motorsports & Marine of the Keys in Key Largo donates the Yamaha WaveRunners each year to be used for law enforcement purposes such as this, as well as for regular patrols of hard to reach shoreline areas and residential canals.

Remember: You must have a recreational saltwater fishing license and a spiny lobster permit to recreationally harvest spiny lobsters unless you are exempt from recreational license requirements. Information about these licenses and permits is available online at MyFWC.com/License. Attached is a detailed brochure with information about the various rules that apply in different areas of the Keys. Make sure to review the rules for the area in which you will be harvesting lobster. Rules and laws vary depending on where you are in the Florida Keys.

Before, during and just after the two day sport season there will be more boats and trailers on the roadways, and more traffic in general. Sheriff Ramsay wants to remind everyone to drive carefully. Pay attention to those around you, be patient and don’t pass in no passing zones. Drinking and driving is, of course, illegal; drunk boating is also illegal and our officers will be watching for this dangerous behavior on the water as well as on the roadways of the county.

“We enjoy all the visitors here in the Keys during the two day sport season,” said Sheriff Ramsay. “But we want to make sure everyone is aware of the law, and is behaving in a responsible, and safe, manner.”

Update on Yacht reported stolen in Tavernier

*New: A reward of up to $30,000 has been offered by the insurance company of this vessel for information leading to its return. Reward amounts for information leading to the safe return and recovery of the vessel shall be determined based on the strength of the information and condition of the vessel at the time of recovery. The amount of the reward shall be at the sole discretion of the carrier and under no circumstances will it exceed $30,000. The insured, relatives of assured, or employees of the insurance company offering the reward are ineligible for the offered reward. If you have any information, please contact Todd & Associates at : 800-325-8061 or 619-226-1895 or contact Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Nancy Alvarez at 305-853-3211.

Sheriff’s Office detectives are investigating the theft of a cream-colored, 1987, 52-foot Jefferson motor yacht named, “The Job.”

The yacht was taken sometime between noon, July 12 and 10 a.m. on July 13, Oceanside, in Tavernier. The yacht had been anchored just off Tavernier.

July 14, 2018

Yacht reported stolen in Tavernier

Sheriff’s Office detectives are investigating the theft of a cream-colored, 1987, 52-foot Jefferson motor yacht.

The yacht was taken sometime between noon, July 12 and 10 a.m. on July 13, Oceanside, in Tavernier. The yacht had been anchored just off-shore.

Anyone with any information about the theft should contact Lt. Nancy Alvarez at 305-853-3211.

Traffic Deputies aware of exotic car rally

An exotic car rally from Tampa to Key West reached southbound U.S. 1 Friday afternoon.

911 Communicators received many reports of speeding and illegal passing. The cars are expected to return to U.S. 1 northbound for the mainland on Sunday. The time is unclear.

Sheriff’s Office Road Deputies and Traffic Enforcement Units will be out in force Sunday to curb any illegal driving activity. Multiple tickets were issued Friday, including one notice to appear in court to the driver of a multi-colored Lamborghini for misdemeanor marijuana possession. That citation began with a traffic stop for speeding.

All deputies are aware of the rally and will be out in-force on Sunday.

Man arrested for burglary, theft of A/C unit

A 27-year-old Marathon man was arrested Saturday for stealing an air conditioning unit.

Travis James Cooper was charged with burglary, larceny and dealing in stolen property.

The theft was reported to the Sheriff’s Office on June 21. The owner said he was missing an A/C unit from his home on 22nd Street. The owner said he knows Cooper. The owner stated he saw Cooper’s vehicle via security video at his residence on June 14. In the video, a man later identified as Cooper, can be seen placing something in the trunk of a vehicle.

On June 24, the owner contacted the Sheriff’s Office again to report that Cooper returned the A/C unit, however it was not the unit that was reported missing.

Middle Keys Det. Sgt. Spencer Bryan spoke to Cooper on July 2. Cooper stated he took the A/C unit and then sold it as scrap metal for money. Cooper further stated when he found out that the owner knew it was stolen, he tasked his girlfriend to the scrap yard to retrieve the unit. The girlfriend returned with the wrong A/C unit. The correct A/C unit is no longer at the scrap yard.

Cooper was booked into jail on Saturday morning.

Anyone with information about any crime should contact the Sheriff's Office at 305-292-7000. Callers who wish to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at 1-866-471-8477. Tipsters can remain anonymous and if a tip leads to an arrest in the case, the caller may be eligible for a cash reward. Tips may also be submitted online at www.floridakeyscrimestoppers.com or via a text message using the smartphone app called P3 Phone. Tips can also be submitted via social media such as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter using the @CrimeStoppers305 hashtag.

July 13, 2018

Woman arrested after dispute over cocaine

A 43-year-old Islamorada woman was arrested Thursday evening after a domestic dispute over cocaine.

Aileen Soto was charged with possession of generic Xanax without a prescription and battery.

Sgt. Nick Whiteman as well as deputies Jason Farr and Addison LaPradd responded to the 100 block of Airstream Lane in reference to a dispute. Deputy Farr arrived first. Soto stated she and her husband had an argument that became physical. That argument was over his refusal to go buy her cocaine, Soto told Deputy Farr.

Soto claimed her husband pushed her and grabbed her throat. The husband said she threw a phone at his face. She also reportedly threw framed pictures at him. Soto admitted to throwing the items.

The Florida Department of Children and Family Services was notified of the incident as a juvenile was also living in the residence.

Two generic Xanax pills were found in Soto’s possession.

Soto was taken to jail.

July 10, 2018

Inmate charged in attack on detention deputies

A 22-year-old Key West man in jail on battery and other charges attacked detention deputies Monday with a handmade weapon.

Darius Rotham Williams was additionally charged with aggravated assault, battery and resisting an officer with violence.

Williams has been in the Stock Island jail since May when he was arrested by Key West police or multiple charges that included battery, resisting arrest and failure to obey lawful orders among others.

On Monday, Williams began banging on his jail door, falsely claiming he had a medical emergency. Williams placed a mattress against the door, blocking the view of detention deputies.

Detention Deputy Jackson Pierrilus opened the door. Williams kicked the door. Williams had what appeared to be a sharp object in one hand and a brown towel wrapped to his wrist. Williams attempted to punch Detention Deputy Jatavi Lee numerous times in the face with the sharp object. Both deputies took Williams to the ground. Williams continued to fight. Williams continued to ignore commands. Detention Deputies Danny Buenso, Tyler Hodges and Andrew Grimm arrived and provided assistance. Williams was handcuffed and placed in a restraint chair.

Deputies Lee and Pierrilus had minor injuries to their hands from the handmade weapon. The weapon was determined to be a sharpened plastic utensil, also known as a shank.

Williams remains in the Monroe County Detention Center on Stock Island under no bail.

Sheriff Rick Ramsay renders aid after crash

A mother and three small children were uninjured after a tractor-trailer rim with two tires came off a truck and struck their minivan Tuesday morning.

Monroe County Sheriff Rick Ramsay was driving on U.S. 1 at Mile Marker 18.5 about 10 a.m. when he saw vehicles in front of him swerving. He then saw a northbound tractor-trailer rim roll into the southbound lane and strike a southbound Toyota Sienna minivan.

“Luckily, the mother did the right thing. She turned at the right time,” Sheriff Ramsay said. “The tire didn’t strike her vehicle square, but it tore down the side of the minivan, totaling it.”

Sheriff Ramsay immediately stopped the driver of the tractor-trailer, who may not have known the tire came off. He then raced over to the minivan to provide first-aid to the mother and three young children. There were no serious injuries.

“Thankfully and amazingly, no one was seriously hurt,” Sheriff Ramsay said. “It could be have been a very different situation had the mother not reacted quickly.”

Sheriff Ramsay called Monroe County Fire Rescue. The Florida Highway Patrol is the investigating agency.

The vehicles were moved to the side of the highway and traffic was kept moving.

July 9, 2018

Sheriff’s Office captain rescues migrants at sea

Sheriff’s Office Middle Keys Capt. Don Hiller and his friends rescued three Cuban migrants who were clinging to a make-shift floatation device Saturday afternoon more than 40 miles off the coast of the Lower Keys.  

“They were in bad shape, medically,” Capt. Hiller said. “They were dehydrated and had severe sun exposure. One man was semi-conscious. He was in very bad shape. One guy laid down on the deck and just started sobbing. With storms rolling in, our main goal was get them to shore quickly.”

Capt. Hiller said they had difficulty communicating, given the language barrier, however the men were able to intimate they were adrift for more than four days, perhaps more than five.

Capt. Hiller said he took his 31-foot center console to the Dry Tortugas that day to do a bit of sightseeing with friends, some of whom were on another boat. They were going to spearfish on the way back. It was on the trip back, about 42 miles offshore, when Capt. Hiller saw a little dot on the horizon that didn’t look normal. Capt. Hiller positioned his boat to check it out, with his friend in the other boat following. That’s when they came upon the men. Capt. Hiller attempted to reach the Coast Guard, took the men aboard and began the fast voyage to shore.

Capt. Hiller decided to run the men directly to Coast Guard Station Key West while still 10 miles from shore given their medical condition.  
  
Capt. Hiller delivered the men to waiting paramedics ashore. They were then taken to the Lower Keys Medical Center on Stock Island.  

Two of the three men had been released from the hospital as of Monday.

The condition of the third man who remained there Monday was not immediately clear.

July 8, 2018

Man arrested for stealing car

A 36-year-old Lauderhill, Florida man was arrested Sunday morning in Marathon for stealing a car as well as personal identification from a woman in Oakland Park, Florida.

Anthony Darnell Goodrich was charged with grand theft of a motor vehicle, larceny of a credit card and possession of a stolen driver license.

Middle Keys Deputy A.J. Coller received information about 8 a.m. that a stolen Volkswagen Passat may be traveling through Marathon. Deputy Coller found the vehicle on the Seven Mile Bridge and confirmed the vehicle’s tag number. Deputy Coller conducted a traffic stop at the parking lot on the south end of the bridge. Deputy Coller ordered the driver, later identified as Goodrich, out of the car at gunpoint. Goodrich complied with Deputy Coller’s commands.

The owner of the car was contacted. The woman stated she did not give Goodrich permission to possess her car, driver license or credit card.

Goodrich was taken to jail.

Anyone with information about any crime should contact the Sheriff's Office at 305-292-7000. Callers who wish to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at 1-866-471-8477. Tipsters can remain anonymous and if a tip leads to an arrest in the case, the caller may be eligible for a cash reward. Tips may also be submitted online at www.floridakeyscrimestoppers.com or via a text message using the smartphone app called P3 Phone. Tips can also be submitted via social media such as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter using the @CrimeStoppers305 hashtag.

Man arrested for impersonating police

A 19-year-old Homestead man was arrested Saturday night for pretending to be a law enforcement officer while driving in the Upper Keys.

Sandro Sierra Gil was charged with unlawful use of blue lights and fraud.

Upper Keys Deputy Ignacio Molina was dispatched to roughly Mile Marker 100 after receiving reports of a road rage incident at Mile Marker 99 in which a Toyota had activated blue lights. Deputy Molina waited at Mile Marker 102. Deputy Molina saw the Toyota and conducted a traffic stop. The driver, later identified as Gil, was moving around in the driver’s seat. Deputy Molina drew his service weapon and ordered Gil to stop moving. Gil complied. Deputy Molina asked Gil if he was a law enforcement officer. Gil said he was not. Gil told the deputy the blue light was under the passenger seat.

Gil told Deputy Molina he was northbound when he noticed a small sport-utility-vehicle following two motorcycles. Gil felt the SUV was following too closely. Gil said he turned on the blue lights in order to stop the SUV, stating he, “just wanted to talk to them.” When asked why he didn’t call 911, Gil stated he, “didn’t want problems with police.”

Gil was taken to jail.

Man arrested in domestic dispute

A 24-year-old Stock Island man was arrested Saturday night after a fight in which a pregnant woman and a 2-year-old child were subsequently taken to the hospital.

The child suffered a head injury and possible concussion. The pregnant woman suffered non-life threatening injuries to her back and foot.

Maycol Jacinto Sanchez was charged with aggravated battery in which he knew/should have known the victim was pregnant and child abuse.

Deputies responded to 9th Avenue about 7 p.m. Monroe County Fire Rescue was already on scene transporting the woman to Lower Keys Medical Center. A family member was transporting the child. Everyone involved in the incident lives at the same residence. Sanchez and the woman were having an argument in the bathroom while she bathed the child. Another family member got involved. A window was broken and that family member suffered cuts to his arm. Sanchez punched the woman in the back. At some point, witnesses said Sanchez pushed the child.

Sanchez was taken to jail.

Anyone with information about any crime should contact the Sheriff's Office at 305-292-7000. Callers who wish to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at 1-866-471-8477. Tipsters can remain anonymous and if a tip leads to an arrest in the case, the caller may be eligible for a cash reward. Tips may also be submitted online at www.floridakeyscrimestoppers.com or via a text message using the smartphone app called P3 Phone. Tips can also be submitted via social media such as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter using the @CrimeStoppers305 hashtag.

July 6, 2018

Opa-locka man charged with wildlife violations

A 51-year-old Miami-Dade County man was cited on July 5 for possessing illegal snappers and lobster.

Miguel Comesana was charged with possession of three undersized mutton snapper and one undersized, out-of-season lobster.

Marine Deputy Wilfredo Guerra was patrolling on the Long Key Bridge when he saw a man later identified as Comesana with a cooler and fishing rods in his hands. Deputy Guerra inspected his cooler and found the illegal catch. Deputy Guerra issued him a notice a to appear in court for the violations.

The mutton snappers measured under 15 inches. State law requires them to be 18 inches if they are to be harvested. Florida lobster season runs from Aug. 6 to March 31. The carapace of the lobster when harvested legally in season must be larger than three inches. Lobsters are to be measured in the water. Law requires every lobster angler possess and use of a measuring device at all times.

Anyone with information about any crime should contact the Sheriff's Office at 305-292-7000. Callers who wish to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at 1-866-471-8477. Tipsters can remain anonymous and if a tip leads to an arrest in the case, the caller may be eligible for a cash reward. Tips may also be submitted online at www.floridakeyscrimestoppers.com or via a text message using the smartphone app called P3 Phone. Tips can also be submitted via social media such as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter using the @CrimeStoppers305 hashtag.

July 5, 2018

Man arrested for battery

A 39-year-old Marathon man was arrested Thursday for punching another man in the face and knocking out two front teeth.

Ronald Bryan Barton was charged with aggravated battery causing bodily harm or disability.

Middle Keys Deputy Matthew Corey was flagged down about 9:30 a.m. on July 4 by two men at 15th Street and U.S. 1. One of the men had swollen lips and dried blood around his mouth. He explained that on July 3 about 10 p.m., he was sitting on a crate at the same location drinking a beer. A man known to him as Ron approached him carrying a bottle of rum in one hand and a beer in the other. The man said the attacker mumbled something and then suddenly punched him in the face. The punch was described as an undercut and caused two of the victim’s two front teeth to fall out. The victim said there was no reason for the punch and that he wished to press charges.

Deputy Cory investigated and found Barton. The Deputy called Barton and he agreed to meet. Barton admitting to punching the man.

Warrants were issued for Barton. He was charged on Thursday.

July 2, 2018

Woman arrested after disturbing the peace/throwing a brick  

A 62-year-old woman was arrested Monday morning after causing a disturbance at a Stock Island restaurant and then destroying personal property elsewhere in the area.

Mayra Perez Ayers, who was listed as homeless as per jail records, was charged with multiple counts of property damage, disturbing the peace, trespassing and throwing a projectile into a dwelling or building.

Lower Keys Sgt. Linda Mixon was called to the El Mocho Restaurant, 5708 Maloney Ave., where she met with the owner. The owner told Sgt. Mixon that Ayers had been trespassed from the property last week. Ayers returned Monday morning and was turning tables upside down, throwing chairs and yelling at customers. About 15 minutes later, the Sheriff’s Office received a call from a resident nearby who stated a woman just struck his Kia van with a shovel. Then another call came in from someone on the 6300 block of First Street  who stated a woman matching Ayers’ description threw a brick through the glass window on an occupied trailer.

Ayers was located and taken to jail.

It was not immediately clear Monday what upset Ayers or led to the series of incidents.

Anyone with information about any crime should contact the Sheriff's Office at 305-292-7000. Callers who wish to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at 1-866-471-8477. Tipsters can remain anonymous and if a tip leads to an arrest in the case, the caller may be eligible for a cash reward. Tips may also be submitted online at www.floridakeyscrimestoppers.com or via a text message using the smartphone app called P3 Phone. Tips can also be submitted via social media such as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter using the @CrimeStoppers305 hashtag.

Sheriff’s Office seeks help identifying suspect in road rage incident

Sheriff’s Office deputies are asking for the public’s help in identifying the white man seen in the attached pictures.

He has a thin build and bald head. He was driving a (possibly dark gray) Toyota 4Runner with a darkly-colored trailer hitch.

The suspect was seen throwing the victim’s cell phone to the ground following a road rage incident. The victim was inside Tiny’s gas station, 82788 Overseas Highway in Islamorada when the incident occurred.

Anyone with information about this crime should contact the Sheriff's Office Dep. Matt O’Neill at 305-664-6480 Ext. 6587. Callers who wish to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at 1-866-471-8477. Tipsters can remain anonymous and if a tip leads to an arrest in the case, the caller may be eligible for a cash reward. Tips may also be submitted online at www.floridakeyscrimestoppers.com or via a text message using the smartphone app called P3 Phone. Tips can also be submitted via social media such as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter using the @CrimeStoppers305 hashtag.

Man arrested for battery

A 48-year-old Homestead man was charged with battery by strangulation, stalking and robbery in domestic incident on Sunday afternoon.

Jorge Diaz was charged also charged with larceny and property damage.

Deputy Benjamin Elmore was dispatched at 3:43 p.m. to Gilbert’s Boat Ramp on Key Largo. A caller reported seeing a man break the window of a vehicle while fighting with a woman. The caller said the both left in a Hummer SUV. Shortly thereafter, Deputy Ignacio Molina radioed that he had stopped the suspect vehicle at Mile Marker 109 and had the driver at gunpoint. Deputy Elmore responded to Deputy Molina’s location. When Deputy Elmore arrived, Deputy Molina had already placed the driver, later identified as Diaz, in the back of his patrol car.

Deputy Elmore spoke with the woman in the SUV. She stated Diaz was her ex-boyfriend.  They had broken up in March. The woman said Miami-Dade police were aware of prior domestic incident. The woman said she worked at the boat ramp. She stated that as she was leaving work, Diaz was waiting for her. She stated he blocked her vehicle with his Hummer. He ordered her to open her door. She refused. Diaz then broke the driver’s side rear window of the woman’s car. He then put his hands around her neck and began choking her. He took the woman’s cell phone.

The woman was treated for non-life threatening injuries at the scene.

Diaz was taken to jail.

Man cited for illegal fish

A 33-year-old Miami man was cited for possessing illegal yellowtail snapper, mangrove snapper and black grouper on Saturday.

Boyuan Guan was cited for possession of each undersized fish.

Deputy Matthew Cory was on patrol at 7:20 a.m. on The Channel 5 Bridge when he saw a man spot him, reach into a cooler and throw a fish over the railing. Deputy Cory yelled for the man to stop and he did. He was briefly detained. The man, identified as Guan, said he threw the yellowtail over the rail because it was likely undersized. Deputy Cory found a 10-inch, black grouper (the legal size is 24 inches), a 9-inch mangrove snapper (the legal size is 10-inches) and a 10-inch yellowtail snapper (the legal size is 12 inches), in the cooler.

The undersized fish were returned to the water deceased.

Man loses nearly $10K in gift card scam

The spike in fraud and scams being reported to the Sheriff’s Office continues as another instance occurred Saturday.

The Sheriff’s Office continues to investigate these scams, but the thieves are difficult to catch as many operate overseas. With that in mind Sheriff Rick Ramsay continues to spread the word about these scams in the hopes that not one more Florida Keys resident falls victim to these criminals. These cases come on the heels of reports that scammers are posing as legitimate local law enforcement officers and using real police station phone numbers. In those scams, the thieves always falsely tell residents they either missed jury duty or have a warrant for their arrest or some other fake story. In all these scams, residents are told to buy prepaid gift cards and to give the numbers over the phone. They are falsely told that if they pay the scammers using the prepaid gift cards their made-up legal troubles would be over.

In the instant case, a Sugarloaf Key man told Deputy Richard Wang on Saturday that a man falsely claiming to be a law enforcement officer named “Bobby Burkett,” falsely told him he had missed federal jury duty. The caller said if he paid a fake bond, he wouldn’t be arrested. Key detail: There is a Sgt. Bobby Burkett who works for the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, but he reported having no interaction with the victim in this case. Another key detail: The victim stated the caller knew about a previous citation the victim received, which made him believe the caller was legitimate.

In several other recent cases, thieves have posed as Lower Keys Sheriff’s Office Det. Sgt. David Smith. In at least one case, thieves used the number for the Sheriff’s Office substation at 50 High Point Road, Tavernier.

Regarding the case Saturday, the victim feared bring arrested, so he purchased numerous gift cards consisting of Amazon, Google Play and VISA totaling, $9,900. The victim said he became suspicious when the caller asked for another $10,000. By the time the victim realized he had been scammed it was too later to cancel the cards or his bank account.

In a case reported Friday, a scammer called a Marathon man on Friday making a the same claim: The man on the receiving end of the call had falsely missed jury duty and he would have to purchase prepaid gift cards in order to avoid a warrant being issued for his arrest. The called identified himself as “Derek Long” and instructed the man to stay on the phone as he drove to a pharmacy to purchase two, $500 Money Pak gift cards.

The scammer instructed the victim to give him the numbers on the cards. The scammer told him one of the numbers did not work and that he needed to purchase another $500 gift card, which the victim did. In all, the victim lost $1,500.

Key details in the scam: The caller ID on the victim’s phone stated the incoming number was a Marathon number. Further, the scammer told the victim at some point in the conversation that he may need to go to specific office in Marathon, though he never did. This convinced the victim given the victim was familiar with that address and office in town.

Recently, a Marathon woman received a call from a man claiming to be from Comcast. He falsely told the woman her computer had been hacked. He falsely stated the “hackers” had her personal information and that she would need to buy a piece of electronic equipment from the computer manufacturer Dell in order to prevent the hack from occurring again.

The next day, the caller, who identified himself as “Josh Matthews,” called the woman again and told her the equipment would cast $5,000. The woman stated she could not purchase the equipment. The man said he would be fired if she didn’t buy the equipment. The man gave the woman a number at Dell to call. The woman called the number. The man on that line said he would have the equipment delivered along with a check for $5,000. The fake Dell employee instructed the woman to cash the check and give the delivery driver $2,000 in cash. The woman agreed to do this.

The woman called “Josh Matthews” a day later and told him the equipment had not arrived. He told her she would need to send six, $500 Google Play cards for the equipment to be shipped. He added she could then keep the entire check from the delivery driver. The woman went to a pharmacy and bought the gift cards. She then gave “Josh Matthews” the numbers for each card over the telephone. The woman told a friend about the matter and that friend told her she was likely scammed and to report the case to the Sheriff’s Office.

The Sheriff’s Office contacted Google. Google told us the gift cards had already been cashed.

• The Sheriff’s Office reminds all residents: NEVER PAY FOR ANYTHING OVER THE PHONE USING PREPAID GIFT CARDS!

• If you receive such a call: HANG UP! Contact the organization the caller claims to be representing and report the incident to local law enforcement.

Anyone with information about any crime should contact the Sheriff's Office at 305-292-7000. Callers who wish to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at 1-866-471-8477. Tipsters can remain anonymous and if a tip leads to an arrest in the case, the caller may be eligible for a cash reward. Tips may also be submitted online at www.floridakeyscrimestoppers.com or via a text message using the smartphone app called P3 Phone. Tips can also be submitted via social media such as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter using the @CrimeStoppers305 hashtag.