April, 2000 - June, 2000

For more information, contact Deputy Becky Herrin, Public Information Officer for the Monroe County Sheriff's Office. Her contact numbers are: office: (305)292-7116, digital pager: (305)334-0956, FAX: (305)292-7070 and e-mail: beckyherrin@keysso.net.

June 22, 2000

Key West Police Department receives share of seizure by Sheriff’s Office

 Police Patrols by land and sea will be enhanced in the City of Key West thanks to a money laundering seizure made by the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.  Sheriff Richard Roth authorized purchase of two jeeps, patrol boat and computer equipment for the Key West Police Department from the twenty-five million dollars the Sheriff’s Office received for its part in the breakup of a drug dealer’s money laundering operation last year.  In addition, Sheriff Roth will purchase 500-thousand dollars worth of radio equipment for city police so they can utilize a modern digital 800-megahertz county wide radio system to be installed by the Sheriff’s Office.  It will not only provide city police with a reliable radio system, but will afford instant communication with the Sheriff’s Office and other law enforcement agencies in the Keys.

The city has already received two Jeep Cherokee’s that are customized for canine operations.  The jeeps have cages, fans and a remote entry system designed for police dogs and their handlers. The 24-foot, twin engine Boston Whaler has also been received by the city and is currently being outfitted for patrol operations in waters around the island city.  The computer equipment and software will assist the city in traffic accident investigations.  In all, the city will get more than 618 thousand dollars from the Sheriff’s Office.

Sheriff Roth felt that the City of Key West should share in the money laundering seizure and emphasized that “the crime fighting equipment will not only help to improve law enforcement in the city, but will also save Key West taxpayers over a half a million dollars."

 Itemized list of expenditures: 

1.Traffic accident investigation software  $1,469.

2. Traffic software                                            95.

3. 2 Canine systems with fans……………..1780.

4. Traffic software…………………………..520.

5. 2 Mercury Marine engines…………… 13,427.

6. 2 E/Z rider K-9 container systems………2,740.

7. 2 2000 Jeep Cherokees………………….42,566

8. 2 Quick titles……………………………..72.50

9. 2 Computers , printers, fax……………..   4,000.

10. 24 foot Boston Whaler…………………34,105.

11. Boat trailer………………………………2,600.

12. Boat parts and accessories……………..  4868.

13. Nikon’s Patented Aims complete system ..10.090.

14. 800 Megahertz radio system…………….500,000 (approximate cost.  Project still in planning stages.)

June 2, 2000

Crime Stoppers July 4th Run/Walk

Runners and walkers will have a chance to have fun, fight crime and win big prizes at the Seventh Annual Crime Stoppers 5K Run and Walk on Tuesday, July 4th at Smathers Beach in Key West.

 There will be plenty of competition for serious runners and walkers and all entries are eligible for numerous prizes to be drawn after the race.  The run starts July 4th at 7:30 a.m.  The walk begins at 7:40 a.m.  Registration will get underway at 7 a.m. at the bathhouse area across from LaBrisa Condominiums.

 The first 100 entrants will receive a commemorative tee shirt donated by First State Bank of the Florida Keys.  Trophies, medallions and prizes will be awarded to the top finishers in the various running and walking categories.   Area merchants have donated lots of prizes for the winners at the conclusion of the event.  Prizes include a getaway weekend vacation with spending money, stays at Keys motels, plus lunches and dinners at great local restaurants.   Light refreshments will be served after the race.

 Applications for the run/walk are available at many local health and fitness clubs or you call the Sheriff’s Office at 292-7116 or 1-800273-COPS and ask for Community Relations. Applications are also available at the Key West Police Department.  Ask for Public Information Officer Cynthia Edwards at 294-2511.  Registration is fifteen dollars.  

 You can also register at Smathers Beach the day of the race. 

 All proceeds benefit the reward fund for Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys.  Crime Stoppers does not use tax money for rewards paid to tipsters.  Funding comes from private donations, which is why the race is so important.  Anonymous tips phoned in on the Crime Stoppers’ twenty four-hour hotline provide law enforcement agencies in the Keys with valuable information about criminal activity.   Crime Stopper tips have resulted in over 136 arrests and the seizure or recovery of over 123 thousand dollars worth of cash, illegal drugs and property.  The Crime Stoppers tip line is 1-800-346-TIPS. 

May 19, 2000

 Sheriff’s donation helps Keys athletic programs

Student athletes thanked Monroe County Sheriff Richard Roth today for his donation of over 25 thousand dollars to the soccer, tennis and wrestling teams at Key West High School.  The donation came from a trust fund set up to disburse money seized from money launderers, drug dealers and other criminal cases.  Sheriff Roth has earmarked a portion of the fund for crime prevention.  “Providing wholesome athletic activity to young men and women is one of the most effective crime prevention measures available,” the Sheriff said.   “I’m happy to put this money to such good use.”

The 25 thousand dollars was donated to the Key West Goal Club, a non-profit corporation that assists the boys and girl’s soccer teams at Key West High School in raising funds for equipment and road trips and other financial needs not funded by the School Board.

Over 200 boys and girls benefited from the Sheriff’s donation, which allowed the Conch and Lady Conch soccer teams to travel to competitions in South Florida.  The President of Key West Goal Club, Maureen Crowley, said that part of the Sheriff’s donation also went to the wrestling team and the tennis team  as well as the cheerleading squad and the band at Key West High School.

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PHOTO:   KWHS students present Sheriff Roth with a “letterman’s” jacket to thank him for the trust fund donation for soccer, wrestling, tennis, cheerleading and band programs at Key West High School.  Left to right: Amber Rivas, David Brannon, Sheriff Roth, Chaz Jimenez, Allison Pelletier, Lande Spottswood.

 April 28, 2000

Michael Anthony Tanzi

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Massachusetts man charged with killing missing Miami Herald employee

Cudjoe Key – A Brocton, Massachusetts man is in custody today charged with abducting and killing a Miami woman two days ago as she ate lunch at a Miami Park. Her body was found in a wooded area near the end of Blimp Road on Cudjoe Key Thursday night. Detectives believe she was strangled.

Beginning with the day 49-year-old Janet Acosta was abducted, April 25th, Miami Police detectives have followed a trail of credit card receipts and ATM charges from Miami to Florida City, Marathon and Key West. They contacted Key West Police on Thursday and notified them the cards had been used in the city limits. They told Key West Police to be on the lookout for Acosta’s 1999 Plymouth Voyager van, which her killer stole when he kidnapped her.

Miami detectives traveled to Key West Thursday and, working with Key West Police Detective John Beuth, they spotted the stolen van parked near the intersection of Front and Duval Streets Thursday evening. They watched the van until 23-year-old Michael Anthony Tanzi returned to it, then they grabbed him.

During questioning, Tanzi admitted to abducting and killing Acosta. He led the detectives, along with Monroe County Sheriff’s Homicide Detective John Shaw, to her body. He told them he strangled her and left her in a wooded area alongside a remote road on Cudjoe Key. Her body was recovered and will be autopsied to determine the exact cause of her death.

Tanzi also told the detectives he killed another woman, a black female he says he met and allegedly murdered in Brocton last August. Detectives in Brocton confirmed that they do have a murder victim fitting that description from that time period. They are investigating that case.

Tanzi says he’s been in South Florida since the end of January. He said he met two people in New York City and traveled with them to Miami. They reportedly traveled together to the Keys in February. Then, last week, he says he argued with them. That’s when Tanzi said they drove him to Miami and dropped him off alone. He said his encounter with Acosta was by chance – a crime of opportunity. He says they were not acquainted in any way. He said he grabbed her, stole her van and drove her to the Keys, where he killed her because, he said, she was more trouble to him alive than dead.

Tanzi was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center in the early morning hours on murder charges. Other charges in connection with the case are pending.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement assisted in the investigation at the Blimp Road crime scene. The investigation into the case is continuing.


April 13, 2000

Sheriff purchases two All Terrain Vehicles with federal asset forfeiture funds

 Money seized in a federal drug case was used to purchase two all terrain vehicles for off road use by the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office. One of the vehicles will be assigned to the beach security officers stationed at the County Beach in Key West.

Prior to this purchase, the beach officers who patrol Higg’s Beach have done so on foot. This has been a problem because of the area they are required to cover. Many of the security problems the guards deal with at the beach involve homeless citizens who spend time there. Many of these homeless people travel by bicycle, and this makes it difficult for the guards to give chase, should that be necessary. The ATVs will allow them to better deal with problems in their area of patrol. The second vehicle will be assigned to the middle and upper Keys and will be available for use on area beaches as well as for off road investigations.

Each vehicle will be fully marked with Sheriff’s Office insignia and cost an estimated $8,000 each with money coming from Federal Asset Forfeiture Funds seized during federal criminal investigations. No tax money was used for this purchase.

Beach Security Officer Dave Hafenbrack shows off his ATV to Sheriff Rick Roth and Lt. George Simpson, who supervises the officers assigned to beach patrol. Left to right, Lt. George Simpson, Sheriff Rick Roth, Beach Security Officer Dave Hafenbrack, Mayor Shirley Freeman and Commissioner Wilhelmina Harvey. One of the new Sheriff’s Office All Terrain Vehicles.

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