Monroe County Sheriff’s Office
Daily Crime and Information Report

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

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

February 28, 2018

Deputy arrested for domestic battery

A Monroe County Sheriff’s Office deputy was arrested Wednesday morning for pointing a gun at his girlfriend and choking her until she blacked out.

Hernan Francisco Marin Jr., 23, who is assigned to the Lower Keys, was charged with domestic battery by strangulation and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

The incidents were reported to the Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday. The victim told detectives the first incident occurred on Sept. 4, 2017 whereupon she told Marin she wanted to break up during a discussion in front of her house. She said Marin then choked her and she blacked out. The victim said Marin became obsessive and suicidal, but she decided to try and work things out. She said Marin later began talking about murder/suicide and how he can’t live without her.

On Jan. 27, 2018 the couple went to Key West and drank alcohol before having an argument when they returned home. Once home, the victim said Marin grabbed her, pushed her, picked her up by her neck and slammed her down on the couch. She said he again choked her until she blacked out. When she said she was calling police, Marin pulled out a gun and told he that he was not going to allow her to call police. She was able to talk him into putting the gun away, but they continued to argue. Marin told her he is a deputy and it was her word against his. The victim said she decided to stay based on her financial situation.

She told detectives on the next morning, Jan. 28, 2018, Marin said he wasn’t going to shoot her with one bullet, but rather he was going to shoot her with an entire magazine of bullets.

Detectives also interviewed a friend of the woman who told them he noticed bruising on her arms. She admitted to the friend she was in an abusive relationship.

Detectives set up a phone call between Marin and the woman on Tuesday in which they listened in. She brought up the incident about Marin pointing the gun at her.  Hernan said he already apologized for that.  The woman asked if he thought threatening her with a gun and strangling her was OK.  Marin said it was not OK and they have issues they need to work out.  Marin repeatedly said he was sorry for the incidents that occurred when he was intoxicated.   

Marin was arrested and booked into the Monroe County Detention Center on Stock Island where he remained early Wednesday morning on a $30,000 bail.

Marin was hired on May 1, 2017 and has a salary of $46,080.

Marin is currently suspended pending a pre-termination hearing.

Man arrested for forging checks

A Marathon man was arrested Tuesday for forging checks totaling more than $3,000.

Matthew Richard McKeon, 25, was charged with five counts each of grand theft, forgery and passing a forged check.

A family member went to the Sheriff’s Office substation in Marathon on Tuesday after he discovered upon reviewing his bank statements that McKeon was stealing checks out of his check book. McKeon then forged the man’s signature and writing the checks out to himself. The man confronted McKeon and McKeon admitted to forging the checks. McKeon told the man he needed money due to his drug problem.

Deputy Rosary Ponce then went to McKeon’s residence where he admitted to stealing the checks.

In all, five checks were cashed this month totaling $3,050.

McKeon was taken to the Monroe County Detention Center on Stock Island where his bond was set at $22,500.

February 26, 2018

Woman arrested on multiple drug charges

A 25-year-old woman was arrested Monday morning on multiple drug violations, including possession of an array of prescription pills as well as cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana.

Autumn Guzzi of Marathon was charged with possession of prescription pills, Ecstasy, methamphetamine, cocaine, marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

In all, Guzzi possessed 24 grams of cocaine, multiple prescription and Ecstasy pills, about 10 grams of marijuana and four grams of methamphetamine.

The case began on Jan. 24 when the FWC requested the assistance of the Sheriff’s Office for a narcotics investigation. The FWC had been investigating Guzzi as the owner of a displaced vessel. She agreed to participate in a program enacted after Hurricane Irma in which the FWC can remove, keep or destroy displaced vessels, with the owner’s permission and at no cost to them. She agreed and while at the FWC station in Marathon, officers smelled marijuana coming from her van.

A Customs and Border Protection K9 alerted to the presence of narcotics inside and her van was searched. Due to the large number of different types of pills and drugs found, the FWC requested assistance from the Sheriff’s Office and Det. Joshua Brady responded.

Warrants were later issued for her arrest and she was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center on Stock Island Monday.

February 23, 2018

Heavy traffic for Upper Keys this weekend

Heavy traffic will be experienced by those traveling through Islamorada this weekend. The heaviest traffic is expected on Plantation Key from 8AM to 6PM on Saturday and Sunday. Traffic should flow well in the early morning hours and in the evening but will be very heavy throughout the day. The heavy traffic may extend well beyond Plantation Key.

The Gigantic Nautical Flea Market at Founders Park (Mile Marker 87) is the largest annual fundraiser for the Upper Keys Rotary Club. Proceeds from the event benefit hundreds of local youth through college scholarships.

Islamorada residents and all Florida Keys travelers are advised to drive carefully, be prepared for traffic to stop, and allow for extra time to reach their destinations. Monroe County Sheriff's Officers will be on duty to ensure traffic moves as smoothly as possible during the event.

Traffic light issues in Marathon

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office has additional deputies patrolling at the 107th Street and 109th Street traffic lights on U.S. 1 as there are timing issues with both lights.

The Sheriff’s Office is working with state and other officials to resolve the issue, but in the interim asks motorists to proceed with more caution than usual when navigating either intersection.

That means giving other motorists more time than normal to come to a stop and to be extra patient in those areas.

February 21, 2018

Man arrested for dumping trailer

A 33-year-old Marathon man was charged Tuesday for illegally leaving a 25-foot mobile home/trailer on Coco Plum Drive after Hurricane Irma.

Joshua Lee Meadows was charged with illegally dumping more than 500 pounds.

The 1987 motorhome has been parked on city of Marathon property on the 70 block of Coco Plum Drive for two months. The city told Middle Keys Sgt. Joel Slough they wished to press charges. Sgt. Slough identified Meadows as the owner using the vehicle identification number on the motor home. Sgt. Slough filed for a warrant with a $5,000 bail.

Meadows was already in the Monroe County Detention Center on Stock Island and served with the warrant on Tuesday. He was previously arrested this month for aggravated battery after threatening someone with a machete in an unrelated incident.

February 20, 2018

Man arrested on pill, gun charges

A 60-year-old Hobe Sound man was arrested Monday for possessing multiple pills without a prescription as well as two handguns while illegally possessing the pills, among other charges.

Lonnie Edwin England was charged with trafficking in Hydrocodone, possession of multiple controlled substances without a prescription, possession of an improperly marked prescription container, possession of two firearms while in possession of illegal pills and possession of a bulletproof vest while in possession of illegal pills.

A motorist reported a southbound Ford sport-utility-vehicle on U.S. 1 at Mile Marker 113 at 8:25 a.m. had hit the center barricade and was being driven recklessly. Upper Keys Deputy Dyllon Hansen stopped the SUV at Mile Marker 104. England said he had a concealed carry permit and a gun in his possession. A 9 mm Glock handgun was found in a backpack on the floorboard and a .380 Ruger handgun was found in the center console.

A pill bottle found in his pocket contained more than 40 pills — primarily Hydrocodone and Oxycodone. The backpack and another bag in the SUV contained other drugs such as morphine and Lidocaine as well as survival equipment such as a tent, knives, rope and a tarp. A bulletproof vest was also found.

In all, 40 pills of Hydrocodone were found as well as 170 Alprazolam pills, 15 OxyContin pills, 20 pills that field-tested positive for Ecstasy, three glass vials that were labeled morphine, 31 Codeine pills among a smaller assortment of other pills.

He was taken to the Monroe County Detention Center on Stock Island.

Feb. 17, 2018

Arrest made in threats case

A 19-year-old Marathon man was arrested Saturday night for posting pictures on the social media site Instagram of guns along with a message threatening Marathon High School.

Duviel Gonzalez was charged with written threats to kill or do bodily injury. He was also charged for possessing a small amount of marijuana.

 Sheriff’s Office detectives — working alongside the FBI, Homeland Security Investigations and the Monroe County State Attorney’s Office — utilized numerous citizen tips in the investigation leading to the arrest. The Sheriff’s Office was notified of the posts Saturday morning by numerous concerned citizens. Det. Rosary Ponce contacted Instagram’s parent company, Facebook, for information regarding the post. She was able to locate Gonzalez using the IP address provided by Facebook.

When interviewed by detectives about his actions, Gonzalez told them he did it as a joke. The investigation remains ongoing.

Sheriff Rick Ramsay said there is no remaining active threat to the school or community.

A Marathon High School band event went on as scheduled Saturday afternoon. The Sheriff’s Office was present in force during the event in light of the threatening posts. That law enforcement presence included not only Sheriff Rick Ramsay and others from the Sheriff’s Office, but partner agencies including the Florida Highway Patrol and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

“I couldn’t be happier with how our community came together in response to these disturbing posts on social media. I’m particularly proud of our young people, who were quick to alert adults,” said Sheriff Rick Ramsay. “We were able to make a timely arrest in this case as a result of help from our fellow citizens, the hard work on behalf of the Sheriff’s Office and our partners at other law enforcement agencies.  It’s these kinds of partnerships, between citizens and law enforcement, that continue to make Monroe County safe.”

The Sheriff’s Office wants to remind people going forward: if you see or hear anything suspicious you can always call the Sheriff’s Office at 305-289-2351. Callers who wish to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. If a Crimestoppers tip leads to a felony arrest, the caller would be eligible for a cash reward. The Crimestoppers hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS. Tips may be made anonymously on line at www.P3tips.com/139.

Sheriff’s Office investigating threats case

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office is aware of and investigating threats made Saturday morning on social media regarding Marathon High School. The threat is an Instagram post with a picture of guns and mentions a Band event scheduled for this afternoon.

The Sheriff’s Office is working with the FBI, the Monroe County School District and Superintendent Mark Porter, the Monroe County State Attorney’s Office and other stakeholders to discover the origins of the threat, and to respond to it. Everyone’s main focus is the safety and security of our children.

As of now, the 3 p.m. event remains scheduled as planned and the Sheriff’s Office will be there in force. We will take all necessary measures to ensure children at the event will be safe.

The Sheriff’s Office has received many calls and alerts from parents regarding this issue and we thank them for taking the time and having the presence of mind to report this matter. As our investigation continues to move forward, our agency will be issuing further statements to keep the community up to date.

“I am impressed by how many people called us to report this post. We always tell our citizens ‘if you see something, say something’. We are encouraged by how many of you have done that in this instance,” said Sheriff Rick Ramsay. “The fact that you are all communicating with your kids, and monitoring them on social media and are aware of what is happening is impressive. Community partnerships like those we have here in Monroe County are what continue to make our community a safe and secure place to live, work and visit.”

February 14, 2018

Man arrested for sexual assault

A 44-year-old Stock Island man was arrested Tuesday night for sexually assaulting a woman on his boat last month.

Miguel Ernesto Pestano was charged with sexual assault.

The victim, who is from Marathon, told Major Crimes Detective Danielle Malone she was at a Key West bar in the early morning hours of Jan. 6, 2018  when she was separated from a friend. She later met a man, identified as Pestano, who offered her a place to sleep on his boat. She accepted. The boat was anchored off of the Key Haven boat ramp on Stock Island just off U.S. 1. While taking a kayak out to the boat, Pestano tipped the kayak over, forcing both to swim to the boat in cold water. Once inside, she got out of her wet clothes, wrapped herself up in towels and went to sleep.

The woman told Detective Malone she awoke to find Pestano performing oral sex on her. She said “no” and tried to push him away. The woman said Pestano told her if she didn’t like it she could leave, which she inferred to mean by jumping off the boat and swimming to shore in the dark, cold water. Pestano then had intercourse with her against her will while she continued to say no. She told Detective Malone that when she started to cry, Pestano told her he “didn’t want to hear it.” He told her that she should be “grateful” and to “stop playing the victim.”

The next day an unidentified man who was passing by in a dinghy took Pestano and the victim ashore. Once ashore, Pestano told her she was welcome on his boat anytime. The woman alerted the Sheriff’s Office the next day.

The victim identified Pestano in a photo lineup. The victim’s description of the boat matched what Detective Malone found while conducting a search warrant.

A warrant with a $75,000 bail was obtained on Jan. 12 and Pestano was arrested and taken to the Monroe County Detention Center on Stock Island Tuesday night.

Drug bust made during traffic stop

A Key Largo man and woman with an array of drugs were arrested after they were stopped for traveling in a sport-utility-vehicle with illegally tinted windows.

Nicole Paddock, 23, was charged with possession of amphetamines with intent to sell, possession of opioids, possession of cocaine, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.  

Christopher Orr, 33, was charged with possession of amphetamines with intent to sell, possession of cocaine with intent to sell, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Detectives stopped a black Chevrolet Suburban with windows tinted too darkly on Tuesday shortly after 7 p.m. at the Murray Nelson Government Center just off U.S. 1. The SUV smelled like marijuana. A K9 alerted to the presence of drugs in the SUV and Paddock stated the dog was alerting to her purse.

Small amounts of cocaine, marijuana and amphetamines as well as other assorted pills  were found inside her purse. An assortment of painkiller and tranquilizer pills were found as well as a digital scale and a glass pipe.

A cigar box was found on the floorboard behind the driver’s seat that a small amount of crack cocaine, about 10 grams of powdered cocaine, about six grams of amphetamines and a small amount of marijuana.

In addition, a pot, a beaker with cocaine residue, baking soda and a single burner hot plate as well as two false-bottom containers commonly used to hide drugs were also found inside the SUV.

Orr and Paddock were taken to the Monroe County Detention Center on Planation Key.

February 12, 2018

Detectives seek help in dog case

Sheriff’s Office detectives are asking for the public’s help in locating the woman seen in this video and still picture for questioning in a possible dog theft.

The incident occurred on Jan. 28 at a house at 12th Avenue and Miriam Street. The woman can be seen entering the video in the top right frame and then again in the bottom left portion in the still frame.

The woman appears to remove the yellow lab from the property. The yellow lab appears to get away from the woman while she is attempting to close the gate. Det. Sgt. David Smith reports the other black labs apparently escaped and all the dogs, the yellow lab and the black labs, roamed free about the neighborhood together before the Florida Keys SPCA found them and contacted their owners. The dogs were not reportedly harmed and all were returned.

Sgt. Smith can be reached at 305-292-7060.

Anyone with information about this incident should contact the Sheriff's Office. Callers who wish to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. If a Crimestoppers tip leads to an arrest, the caller would be eligible for a cash reward. The Crimestoppers hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS. Tips may be made anonymously on line at www.P3tips.com/139.

Upper Keys student arrested for battery

A 12-year-old Plantation Key School student was arrested Monday afternoon after pushing a school employee into a wall.

The male student was charged with aggravated battery.

The student was in a conference room about 12 p.m. with two school employees due to poor and disruptive behavior in class. He took a counselor’s phone and was threatening to hit staff. Both employees were attempting to get the phone back when he made his way for a door. The student pushed one of the counselors away from the door and in doing so, her head struck a wall, causing a dent in the wall. Paramedics were called to treat the counselor.  

School Resource Officer David Stark responded and took the student into custody. Deputy Stark notified the boy’s father of the arrest.

The student was taken to jail and placed in the custody of the Department of Juvenile Justice.

February 10, 2018

Traffic stop leads to drug bust  

A 28-year-old Key Largo man faces numerous charges after ecstasy, marijuana, more than 30 marijuana oil cartridges and handgun ammunition were found in a sport utility vehicle he was driving early Saturday morning.

Phillip David Edwards was charged with DUI and driving without a license as well as possession of ammunition by a convicted felon, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, possession of more than 20 grams of marijuana, possession of a controlled substance without a prescription, drug trafficking and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Upper Keys Deputy Jamie Miller was initially called to respond to a bar fight shortly after 2 a.m., but was informed the suspect, later identified as Edwards, had left in a SUV. Deputy Miller stopped the SUV on U.S. 1 near Atlantic Drive. He noted the SUV was not staying in its lane before the stop.
Edwards had bloodshot eyes and was slurring his words. He refused to participate in field sobriety exercises. Deputy Miller found $1,428 in cash in his back pocket. Edwards informed Deputy Miller he was a convicted felon.

A large, black duffel bag was found in the SUV that contained two, black Pelican cases. Inside one of the cases there was a Ziploc bag that contained nearly three ounces of what field-tested positive as marijuana. Deputy Miller also found 31 marijuana vape pen cartridges as well as another 11 similar cartridges made by a different manufacturer. The packages for the latter vape pens stated they are for medical purposes only for the residents of California.

Multiple clear baggies were found in the vehicle containing triangular pills with the Superman logo on them, which Deputy Miller identified as ecstasy pills. Six .45-caliber handgun rounds were found as well as two spoons that tested positive for cocaine residue. The pills and white powder residue were sent to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement lab for further testing.

Edwards was taken to the Monroe County Detention Center on Plantation Key.

February 8, 2018

Update: Notification of next-of-kin has been made and the couple were identified as Leslie Arthur Weston (male), 53, and Arlene Mira Weston (female), 59, of 31568 Avenue D.

Detectives investigating apparent murder/suicide

Sheriff’s Office detectives are investigating the apparent murder/suicide of a Big Pine Key couple.

The husband and wife were found shortly after 12 a.m. Thursday in a trailer on Avenue D.

According to detectives, the husband called a friend and said that he had just shot his wife at her request given she was suffering from an incurable medical condition. He also reportedly told the friend he intended to turn the gun on himself. That friend called the Sheriff’s Office. Detectives said their investigation also indicated the couple had also been dealing with the stress of Hurricane Irma.

A firearm was located next to the man. Detectives say both appeared to have died of gunshot wounds consistent with a murder suicide, but the investigation remains ongoing.

The names of the man and woman are pending notification of next-of-kin. 

February 6, 2018

Woman arrested for disturbing the peace

A 48-year-old woman was arrested Monday after she screamed at resort staff and threw plants off a hotel balcony.

Wendy Sue Crocker of Islamorada was charged with resisting arrest without violence and breach of peace.

Upper Keys Road Patrol Deputy Robert Dosh responded to the Coconut Grove Resort & Marina about 11 a.m. where employees told him Crocker and her boyfriend were arguing on a room balcony in view of guests and that it escalated to the point that both were throwing plants at each other. One employee reportedly was almost hit in the head by one of the plants.

Crocker was detained and resisted being handcuffed after refusing to follow orders. The handcuffs were later removed and she was allowed to remove her belongings from the room. While Deputy Dosh was interviewing others, Crocker began to put the bedding owned by the resort in her vehicle. When Deputy Dosh told her to stop, she walked away from him, pulled her arm away and eventually had to be taken back into custody.

The boyfriend was trespassed from the hotel property and Crocker was taken to the Monroe County Detention Center on Plantation Key.

February 5, 2018

Body removed from Everglades

A Palm Beach Gardens woman found dead in the water Friday night at the Mitchell Landing Campsite on Loop Road in the Big Cypress National Preserve has been identified as 48-year-old Angela Barone.

Barone was found in the water near a remote campsite by her husband, who placed her in an airboat to get help. There did not appear to be signs of foul play.

The husband said Barone suffered from previous medical conditions. The Miccosukee Police Department and National Park Service is assisting in the ongoing investigation.

Man arrested with undersized lobsters

A Hollywood, Florida man warned in November for harvesting undersized lobsters was arrested Sunday for possessing five such lobsters.

John Tarantino, 50, was charged with five counts of possession of undersized lobster.

Middle Keys Marine Deputy Wilfredo Guerra was on patrol at 12:30 p.m. near the north end of the Channel 5 Bridge near Craig Key when he saw a man, later identified as Tarantino, walking from the water with a dive flag and catch bag to a vehicle at Mile Marker 72, oceanside. Deputy Guerra found the illegal lobsters during a resource check and noted that Tarantino had been previously warned of taking undersized lobsters. He was arrested and taken to the Monroe County Detention Center on Stock Island.

A photo taken by Deputy Guerra of the lobsters is attached.

Familiar card scam reported again

The Sheriff’s Office is again warning residents to be leery of anyone notifying citizens that they won or are due money that can only be received via the purchase of gift cards or prepaid debit cards.

An Islamorada man reported Sunday that he was scammed out of $11,200 by someone called him on Friday claiming to be a representative of his Internet provider. The caller said that because the man was such a good customer, he would be receiving a $800 refund to be deposited directly into his savings account. The caller added there was a problem and that they made a mistake by depositing $8,000 into his account. He was instructed to buy $7,200 in Best Buy gift cards. The man told Upper Keys Road Patrol Deputy Yunier Galvez he went to the Best Buy in Florida City — the caller stayed online with him the entire time — where he purchased $4,000 in gift cards, the limit on his credit card. The caller then instructed him to get the remainder of the amount on the next day.

The man was instructed to go to the Best Buy in Pinecrest to purchase $4,000 in gift cards as there was a computer problem with his earlier purchase. The man also returned to the Florida City Best Busy and bought $3,200 in additional cards. Once the man realized it was a scam, it was too late to cancel the transactions.

Detective Sgt. Mark Coleman reminds residents that anyone who contacts them regarding the transfer of funds via gift cards, Green Dot prepaid debit cards, Western Union transfers or any similar transaction are likely involved in a scam as legitimate businesses do not collect funds in such ways. Residents are urged to hang up and notify law enforcement. This scam has been reported numerous times in the Florida Keys and is a popular technique used by criminals.

Anyone with information about crimes should contact the Sheriff's Office. Callers who wish to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. If a Crimestoppers tip leads to an arrest, the caller would be eligible for a cash reward. The Crimestoppers hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS. Tips may be made anonymously on line at www.P3tips.com/139.

February 4, 2018

Boat theft, home burglary in Key Largo

Sheriff’s Office detectives are investigating a boat theft and a home burglary after a house was broken into and a $40,000 Scarab jet boat and trailer were reported stolen in Key Largo on Saturday.

Upper Keys Road Patrol Deputy Dave Campbell responded to the home on the 96000 block of the Overseas Highway at 3:15 p.m. to find the owner who told him her 2017 boat and trailer were missing. Deputy Campbell entered the home and found much of it ransacked with multiple drawers and cabinets opened. A TV, barbecue grill, video game console and games as well as surf boards and personal flotation devices were also missing from the property.

Multiple other deputies as well as Upper Keys Detective Edward Askins arrived on scene. The owner noted a chain bolt around the electric gate had been cut, allowing access to the property by simply sliding the gate. A patio door to the house appeared to have been pried open with a screwdriver or similar device in order to gain entry to the home.

Deputy Campbell suggested the owner invest in some security cameras given the home’s close proximity to U.S. 1 and the owner said she would look into having them installed. The house had been broken into before, the owner noted.

The owner also said she would compile a list of all the missing items for the Sheriff’s Office.

Detective Askins collected evidence in the case, which remains ongoing.

Anyone with information about this crime should contact the Sheriff's Office. Callers who wish to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. If a Crimestoppers tip leads to an arrest, the caller would be eligible for a cash reward. The Crimestoppers hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS. Tips may be made anonymously on line at www.P3tips.com/139.

February 2, 2018

Two Broward County men charged with undersized fish

Deputies on routine patrol for resource violations caught two Broward County men early today with eight undersized mangrove snapper.

Deputies Michael Maleta and Matthew Cory were on the Channel 5 Bridge just after midnight. They spoke with 54 year old Adolph Tewari and 54 year old Lenwall Joahrie who were fishing. Joahries had a valid fishing license and Tewari’s had just expired.  The deputies asked to see the men’s catch.

Tewari opened their cooler and showed the deputies ten mangrove snapper and two grunts. Eight of the snapper were undersized.

The men were issued notices to appear in court for possessing the undersized fish.

Big Pine man charged with business burglary

A Big Pine man is in jail charged with burglarizing the Ace Hardware store on Big Pine Key. The burglary was reported the morning pf January 23rd after the owner arrived at work and found damage to a door and window and his computer missing.

Deputies Richard Wang and Freddy Rodriguez responded to the business to take a report. While there, they spoke with a woman who lives in an apartment above the business. She said at 5:30 a.m. that morning, she heard pounding on the downstairs doors. She then heard someone walk upstairs and begin hitting and kicking her apartment door. Her door was dented, but the suspect was unable to gain entry.

Deputy Rodriguez obtained a photo of a possible suspect from a surveillance camera at the hardware store. He showed it to employees of surrounding businesses. The following day, Deputy Rodriguez got a call from an employee of a nearby convenience store. She gave him a vehicle tag number and said the person he was looking for just came in the store and was driving the car with that tag number on it.

Detective John Gabay was assigned to investigate. He spoke with the witness who gave him further information, describing the suspect in detail, including a tattoo the suspect has on his upper right arm that says “Jax Beach”.

Detective Gabay and Detective Sgt. David Smith went to the suspect’s residence on Hibiscus Street, Big Pine Key. They spoke with the suspect, identified as 25 year old William Trey Maxwell. Maxwell has a tattoo on his arm fitting the description given by the witness. At first, he claimed he’d been in Jacksonville visiting his mother in the hospital when the crime occurred. Detectives followed up, talking with his mother, who lives in Neptune Beach. She told the detectives her son was not visiting her in the hospital. She said she hadn’t been in the hospital. She also said her son has a drug problem and has problems telling the truth.

Maxwell was arrested Thursday. He was charged with burglary to the business, attempted burglary to the apartment, criminal mischief for the damage he did to the building, possession of burglary tools – in surveillance footage he is seen carrying a large pipe wrench during the burglary; and grand theft.

Maxwell was booked into jail.

Upper Keys burglar nabbed after tip  

A 19-year-old man wanted for burglarizing a Key Largo business in December was arrested Thursday after the Sheriff’s Office received an anonymous Crime Stoppers tip.

Timberelen Terrell of Key Largo was charged with burglary of a structure, burglary of a vehicle, criminal mischief causing more than $200 in damage and petty theft.

The Sheriff’s Office released surveillance camera footage of the Dec. 26 break-in at the GG Millworks on Atlantic Drive after the owner found items missing from inside as well as a truck window and power washer broken. Sheriff’s Office Detective Lance Hernandez received a tip that Terrell was a suspect. Terrell was in jail on an unrelated marijuana charge from January. During an interview at the jail, Detective Hernandez noticed a unique tattoo on Terrell that matched the one on the man seen in the security footage.

A warrant was issued and Terrell was charged in the burglary incident Thursday while already in jail on the marijuana arrest.

The attached photos are of Terrell.

Car thief arrested after fleeing

A 18-year-old man who fled from Sheriff’s Office deputies after running a stop sign in a stolen car out of Key West was arrested early Friday morning in Marathon.

Jesus Perez of Key West was charged with grand theft of a motor vehicle, resisting arrest without violence, possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and driving without a valid license.

Middle Keys Road Patrol Deputy Corbin Hradecky was on patrol at 1:23 a.m. when he saw a Toyota Camry, the driver was later identified as Perez, run a stop sign at 26th Street. Perez was stopped at U.S. 1 and 55th Street, where he exited the car with a backpack in his hands before running away from the scene. Other Sheriff’s Office, Key Colony Beach Police, Florida Highway Patrol and U.S. Border Patrol officers helped in the ensuing search.

Perez was later found hiding in the back of a nearby dump truck. Marijuana and a marijuana grinder were found in the backpack.

The owner of the car in Key West told officers the vehicle was unlocked and the keys were left in the ignition.

Perez was taken to the Monroe County Detention Center on Stock Island.

Additional charges of possession of cocaine and smuggling contraband into a detention facility were added when Corrections Deputies found cocaine in Perez’s wallet.

Arrest in machete attack

A 33-year-old man who attacked another man with a machete was arrested Thursday afternoon in Marathon.

Joshua Lee Meadows of Marathon was charged with two counts of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.  

Middle Keys Road Patrol Deputy Michelle Swilley responded to 82nd Street about 3:15 p.m. where she found the victim who told her Meadows was a construction co-worker and they got into a disagreement over a power cord. The suspect accused the victim of unplugging the power cord to a tent he was staying in with his girlfriend. The victim told Meadows to plug the power cord back in, when Meadows picked up a machete and swung it at him multiple times, hitting his arms. The victim had dust all over his back and fresh cuts to his arms.

A neighbor reported seeing Meadows swinging a machete over his head while chasing the victim down the street.

A nearby citizen and a U.S. Border Patrol agent flagged down Deputy Swilley and told her where to find the suspect. Sgt. Joel Slough then located the suspect and detained him. Meadows was taken to the Monroe County Detention Center on Stock island.

Car renter arrested for auto theft

A 56-year-old man driving a stolen Budget rental car was arrested Thursday in Marathon.

Charles Wendell Williams was charged with grand theft of a motor vehicle.

Middle Keys Deputy Wilfredo Guerra was on patrol in Marathon when he received a be-on-the-lookout alert for a 2017, white, Ford Focus reported stolen by Budget Car Rental out of Homestead. Sgt. Guerra spotted a Focus matching the description at 82nd Street and U.S. 1. Williams was detained at that time.

A manager at the car rental business said Williams rented the car on Dec. 2 and was expected to return it on Dec. 9, but had not, adding they had not received further payment.

Williams was taken to the Monroe County Detention Center on Stock Island.  

February 1, 2018

Heroin found during traffic stop

An early Thursday morning traffic stop in Marathon led to two arrests after heroin, cocaine, marijuana and syringes were found.

Kaila Nicole Martin, 31, of Key Largo, was charged with possession of heroin, cocaine, marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

Tyler Thomas Drakas, 20, also of Key Largo, was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia.

Road Patrol Deputy Orey Swilley stopped the car on U.S. 1 about 2 a.m. for traveling 48 mph in a 35 mph zone with only one working taillight.  There were three people inside and all three lit cigarettes, which Swilley and arriving Road Patrol Deputy Matthew Cory noted is a common way to attempt to mask the odor of illegal drugs. Drakas was the front passenger and Martin was the rear passenger. The driver was not arrested.

Road Patrol Deputy Michael Maleta and a U.S. Border Patrol K9 also responded, at which time the dog indicated there were drugs in the car.

A syringe was found in Draka’s pockets. Drakas told Swilley that another syringe inside the car was also his. A search of Martin’s purse turned up heroin, cocaine, marijuana, three syringes, a digital scale and two spoons that appeared to be used to heat narcotics.

Both Martin and Drakas were taken to the Monroe County Detention Center on Stock Island.