Issued by the Media Relations Office,
Public Information Officer Deputy Becky Herrin
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September 29, 2016
Search Warrant, Big Pine Key
A search warrant was served Wednesday evening at a Big Pine Key residence. Detectives from the Special Investigations Unit, along with Agents for the Drug Enforcement Administration and Homeland Security Investigations served the warrant at 1309 West Shore Drive, in Big pine Key. Inside the residence Detectives found 52 year old Aaron Pannell and 29 year old Tanya Rego.
The search of the residence turned up over four ounces of cocaine, fifteen grams of crack cocaine, three grams of heroin, sixty grams of hashish, fifty-five grams of marijuana, over twenty Xanax pills; multiple items of drug paraphernalia, more than two hundred other various pills and fifty-two hundred dollars of possible drug proceeds.
Rego was charged with possession of marijuana over twenty grams and possession of drug paraphernalia. Pannell was charged with cocaine trafficking, possession of a controlled substance without a prescription, heroin possession with the intend to sell, possession of Marijuana over twenty grams, possession of a schedule IV substance with the intent to sell, and possession of drug paraphernalia. Additionally, Pannell had an active arrest warrant for sale of cocaine. Both Rego and Pannell were booked into the Key West jail.
Two charged with drug warrants
Two Key West residents were arrested Wednesday, charged with outstanding warrants related to sale of Oxycodone.
The warrants stem from an incident in April; an undercover operative purchased Oxycodone and cocaine at a home on Flagler Avenue in Key West. The sale was facilitated by both 50 year old Odalys Delisle and 56 year old Gerardo Cutino.
After the sale took place, warrants were issued for their arrest. On Wednesday, detectives from the Sheriff’s Special Operations Unit arrested Delisle and Cutino; they were charged with sale of the two illegal substances. Because the Flagler Avenue residence is within 1000 feet of Grace Luthern Church and School, the charges carry an enhanced penalty. When he was arrested, Cutino had cocaine in his possession so he was further charged with possessing cocaine.
September 28, 2016
Dead woman identified
Detectives say they have determined the identity of the woman found dead Monday on Munson Island, offshore of Little Torch Key.
Detective Manny Cuervo says the woman is 24 year old Patricia De La Pena Perez of Bejucal, Cuba. She was identified from a photo obtained from family members in the Miami area. The Sheriff’s Office has received many calls from people attempting to find out if their family or friends were on board the boat which is reported to have sunk south of the Marquesas last week.
“We are working with federal authorities on this case; we have identified the woman found on Munson Island but we are all still working to identify the man found on a Ramrod Key beach and the three bodies recovered from Upper Keys waters,” said Sheriff Rick Ramsay. “We feel great sympathy for those who are missing someone. This event is very difficult for everyone involved.”
The U.S. Coast Guard late Tuesday announced they’d suspended their search for survivors. Sheriff Ramsay says he encourages everyone out on the water to keep an eye out for anything unusual. “We would like to be able to bring closure to more families, but the fact is that many of those lost in this tragic accident may never be recovered.”
Roommate charged with stealing, pawning stolen items
A Big Pine Key woman was charged with stealing a large amount of jewelry and other property from her roommate and using her debit card without her permission while the roommate was in the hospital.
The crimes took place in September of 2015. The victim was in the hospital for a period of time; while she was there, here roommate 31 year old Belen Araque took a total of $29,000 worth of items from her home including jewelry, rods and reels, clothing, custom made knives, a camera and a computer tablet. She pawned many of the items at two local pawn shops.
The victim told Detective Diane Mimosa she left her phone with Araque when she went to the hospital and her identification and card were stored in the phone’s case. She said when she got out of the hospital, in addition to all the stolen items, she discovered a number of cash transactions on her debit card as well.
Detective Mimosa searched the pawn shop computer database and found the locations where Araque pawned the victim’s property; she also followed up with the banks and ATM locations where the debit card was used while the victim was in the hospital and photos from some of those transactions were identified by the victim as depicting Araque.
A warrant was issued for Araque for grand theft, 9 counts of dealing in stolen property and fraudulent use of a credit card. While Detective Mimosa was investigating the case, Araque was arrested in North Carolina for unrelated charges. She was returned to Monroe County today to face her charges here.
September 27, 2016
Update on death investigations
The Sheriff’s Office is working together with other state and federal agencies to investigate a number of recent deaths believed to be related to a Cuban migrant vessel which reportedly sank while on its way from Cuba to the United States last week.
All agencies involved now believe the five people found dead since Saturday and the three Cuban migrants found alive on Big Pine Key were most likely all from that same lost vessel. The Coast Guard is still reportedly out on the water searching for any possible survivors from that boat.
Sheriff’s Major Crimes Detective Manny Cuervo says there is no foul play suspected in any of the deaths. The main concern of all the agencies involved is to make sure a thorough search is made for anyone who might still be alive, and to identify those who died and notify their families of their deaths.
To recap: three people – two men and a woman – were found dead in the water approximately 23 miles offshore of Islamorada on Saturday. A man was subsequently found dead on a Ramrod Key beach later in the day on Saturday. Three men made it to shore on Big Pine Key and were taken into custody by Customs and Border Protection on Sunday evening and a woman’s body was recovered offshore of Little Torch Key on Munson Island on Monday. Detectives and investigators have been working with the three survivors in an attempt to determine what happened, and in an attempt to identify those who died and those who were on board the vessel that reportedly sank.
Search warrant served in Marathon
Marathon - A search warrant was served Monday evening in a Marathon residence. Detectives from the Special Investigations Unit, along with Agents for the Drug Enforcement Administration served the warrant at 568 82nd Street (Ocean), in Marathon. Inside the residence Detectives found 31 year old Alana Williams.
The search of the residence turned up trafficking amount of cocaine – approximately thirty one grams – as well as drug paraphernalia and over five hundred and forty dollars of possible drug proceeds. Williams was charged with possession of cocaine with the intend to sell, possession of drug paraphernalia and tampering with evidence. The tampering charge was due to Williams attempting to flush some of the drugs down the toilet as detectives were entering the residence.
Williams was booked into the Marathon jail.
Convicted felon charged with purchasing gun
On Monday, Special Investigation Detectives received information regarding a convicted felon who wanted to purchase a firearm; the information received was that Pulido wanted to use the weapon to rob an armored Wells Fargo truck and subsequently flee with the money to Cuba.
57 year old Jose Pulido of Stock Island purchased a Glock-23, .40 caliber handgun from an undercover operative from the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, for $300.00. The transaction took place at the CVS pharmacy parking lot on Stock Island Monday evening. Pulido did inform the undercover operative he intended to use the firearm to commit an armed robbery. Pulido also had several active warrants for unrelated charges.
Pulido was arrested and charged with possession of a firearm by a Florida convicted felon, conspiracy to commit a first-degree felony (armed robbery), and unlawful use of a two-way device. Pulido was transported to the Key West Jail.
Pulido has felony convictions for sexual battery on a victim under 16 years of age, aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer and fleeing and eluding police. His warrants were all related to sexual offender registration violations.
On Sunday Lower Keys Marine Deputy James Hager charged three people with lobster violations.
While on boat patrol near the Seven Mile Bridge bayside, Deputy Hager conducted a vessel stop. An inspection of the boat revealed nine obster, seven of which were undersized. 53 year old Juan Nunez Medina of Hialeah was charged with possession of undersize lobster and possession of over the limit lobster.
On a separate case, Deputy Hager was checking on two divers without a dive flag near North Pine Channel bridge on the bayside. An inspection of their catch revealed 10 lobster, eight of which were undersize. 44 year old Taek Lee of Coral Springs and 59 year old Jaytee Lee of Illinois were both charged with possession of undersize lobster & harvesting lobster in the water without a measuring device.
September 26, 2016
Sheriff’s detectives investigate another recovered body
Sheriff’s detectives from the Major Crimes Unit responded to Little Palm Island this morning after the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission reported finding the dead body of a woman in that area.
Little Palm Island is offshore of the Little Torch Key area, near the 28 mile marker of U.S. One. It is also close to the Ramrod Key location where a man’s body was found on a beach Saturday evening. Three Cuban migrants who were found alive on Big Pine Key Sunday night reportedly said they were on board a boat traveling from Cuba which sunk enroute. It is unknown if these two dead people are connected with that migrant group. It is also unknown if three people found dead offshore of Islamorada Saturday were in any way connected.
Detectives with the Major Crimes Unit are investigating each of the deaths in an attempt to discover the identity of those who died and the circumstances of their death. They say there were no obvious signs of foul play. The Medical Examiner’s Office is also working on the case. Anyone who has any information is asked to call the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.
September 25, 2016
Stolen truck recovered; Homestead man arrested
A stolen F350 truck has been recovered and a Homestead man was arrested for fleeing from deputies in it early on Saturday.
Deputies in the Upper Keys are on particular alert when it comes to large pickup trucks because a number of them have been stolen within the past few months. When Deputy Matthew O’Neill spotted a white F350 truck at 6 a.m. northbound on U.S. One at the 97 mile marker of the highway, he asked dispatchers to check the truck’s tag through their computers. The tag turned out to belong to a different vehicle, so he turned on his lights and siren to pull the truck over.
Instead of stopping, the truck fled. It made numerous dangerous high speed maneuvers in an attempt to avoid being apprehended, once almost hitting the deputies vehicle and a second vehicle, braking suddenly, running stop signs and then driving through a parking lot. The driver finally lost control of the truck, crashing into a boulder and some bushes on 2nd Avenue. The driver jumped out and ran from the truck and was seen by witnesses running into the Denny’s Restaurant nearby. He was apprehended without incident inside the restaurant. He was identified as 36 year old Oyantay Perez of Homestead.
A further check on the truck revealed it had been stolen on September 11th from a residential parking spot on Angler’s Way in Islamorada.
Perez was arrested. He was charged with grand theft of a motor vehicle, fleeing an deluding police and resisting arrest. He was booked into jail.
Unknown man found dead on Ramrod Key beach
The body of an unidentified man was found on a beach on Ramrod Key Saturday evening.
Detectives say there was no obvious signs of trauma on the man’s body which was found lying, on the remote strip of beach by the owner of the Ramrod Key property and some friends. The dead man had two bottles of water and a small amount of food near him when he was found.
The previous evening – Friday at 6 p.m. – deputies had responded to the area after the U.S. Coast Guard reported seeing a man on the beach in the same area waving as if to get their attention. Deputies responded to the area to look for him but were unable to find him.
The time of the Coast Guard report was also reportedly close to the time a group of migrants were found by the Coast Guard, having landed near Little Palm Island offshore of Little Torch Key, according to detectives.
It is unknown if the dead man was a Cuban migrant or if there is some other explanation for him having been found on a remote strip of beach with no vehicle nearby. The body has been turned over to the Medical Examiner’s Office and detectives with the Sheriff’s Office Major Crimes Unit will be investigating and will be attempting to identify the dead man.
Septembrer 24, 2016
Sheriff’s Office assists with investigation of bodies found offshore
The Sheriff’s Office is assisting federal authorities in the investigation of three people found deceased offshore of the Upper Florida Keys today.
Sheriff’s detectives and the Monroe County Medical Examiner responded with the U.S. Coast Guard and Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to a location 23 miles east of Islamorada today after a fisherman reported finding the body of a male floating in the water. A raft was located in the vicinity of the body and, a short time later, two more deceased people were located – a male and a female.
As of now, the deceased people have not been identified; their bodies have been turned over to the Medical Examiner’s Office for an autopsy to determine the cause of their deaths and to attempt to determine their identities.
The Sheriff’s Office will be assisting federal authorities in the investigation since the location of the bodies was in international waters.
September 23, 2016
Tavernier man faces drug charges
The Sheriff’s Special Investigations Unit served a search warrant at a Tavernier residence Thursday, arresting one man on drug charges.
The warrant was served at 2:45 p.m. at 582 Beach Road. As detectives served the warrant, they saw 37 year old Francisco Guevara getting out of a blue F150 truck. Guevara ran toward the back of the property, but he was apprehended.
During the search of the truck and the residence, detectives found crack cocaine, synthetic marijuana, sometimes called “Spice”, several different controlled substances including alprazolam and Oxycodone, heroin, a handgun, ammunition and multiple items of drug paraphernalia. Guevara was charged with resisting arrest, possession of heroin, cocaine and controlled substances without a prescription and possession of drug paraphernalia. He was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.
September 19, 2016
Convicted felon charged with possessing a firearm and drugs
An Islamorada man who is a convicted felon was arrested Sunday night for possessing a firearm and drugs.
Sheriff’s dispatchers received a call at 8 p.m. of a suspicious person on South Ocean Shores Drive in Key Largo. The caller said a man in a car was seen dumping a firearm and bullets out of the vehicle and onto the street and then leaving the area. As deputies were responding, dispatchers received another call that the vehicle had returned and picked up the firearm and bullets.
Once Deputy Titus Hodges and Sgt. Sheila Seago arrived in the area, they were flagged down by a witness who said the vehicle had turned onto Ocean Way. A vehicle matching the description given by the witness was found, with two men inside, parked at the end of the street.
Deputy Gil Gonzalez arrived to assist. He made contact with the driver, 26 year old Derek Williams of Islamorada, who admitted there was a gun in the car in a side pocket next to the center console. He told deputies he is a convicted felon and knows he is not allowed to have a firearm. There was a strong odor of burnt marijuana in the vehicle. Williams was found to have marijuana in his pocket and more marijuana was found in the vehicle. Two pills later identified as Alprazolam were found in the ashtray of the car and there were also several items of drug paraphernalia in the car.
Williams was arrested. He was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm, possession of marijuana, a controlled substance and drug paraphernalia. He was booked into the Plantation Key Jail.
September 16, 2016
Woman arrested for aggravated assault, DUI
A Key Largo woman was arrested Thursday night for driving drunk and for attempting to hit two people with her car.
Deputies responded to Hibiscus Park in Key Largo just before 10 p.m. A caller to Sheriff’s dispatchers said a woman was “trying to kill people with her vehicle.” The caller said the vehicle was an older beige colored sedan and it was “going over 100 miles per hour.”
Sgt. Scott Ward was first to arrive and he spotted the vehicle in question at the entrance to the Hibiscus Park neighborhood. Deputy Paul Rocha also arrived and turned on his emergency lights, stopping the car. The driver was identified as 56 year old Sonja Lopez. A Florida Highway Patrol Trooper also responded. After it was determined Lopez appeared to be impaired, the FHP trooper conducted a DUI investigation.
Deputies interviewed the two victims, a 39 year old woman and her 19 year old son. The woman was the one who called dispatch to make the report. She was visibly upset and told Sgt. Ward she and her son were walking down the side of the road and Lopez was driving up and down the road at a high rate of speed. She said Lopez was yelling and screaming from the car, and repeatedly used racial slurs as she was yelling. She said Lopez intentionally tried to hit her and her son twice with the car. She said they had to jump out of the way to avoid being hit.
Lopez was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol by the Florida Highway Patrol and with aggravated assault by the Sheriff’s Office. The Sheriff’s Office is discussing with the State Attorney’s Office the possibility of a potential enhancement of the aggravated assault charge due to the racial slurs used by Lopez.
Two arrested on drug charges
Two Key Largo residents were arrested Thursday afternoon after undercover operatives purchased heroin and cocaine at a resort in Key Largo.
An undercover operative met with 25 year old Jessica Brown at Sunset Cove Beach Resort; they went to a unit at the resort with “Pelican” on the door and met with a man later identified as Kristian Demblans and purchased a substance that later tested positive as 3.4 grams of Heroin. A second purchase of 4.4 grams of crack cocaine was made later in the day at the same location from Brown and Demblans.
After the drugs were purchased a search warrant was obtained for the unit they were selling from. Inside, detectives found 23 grams of crack cocaine, 9 grams of powdered cocaine, 15 grams of Alprazolam, .7 grams of Heroin and 5 grams of marijuana. A large amount of drug paraphernalia was also found in the room.
Both Brown and Demblans were arrested. Brown was charged with sale of cocaine, sale of heroin, possession of heroin with intent to sell, trafficking in cocaine, two counts use of a two way communications device to facilitate a felony and possession of drug paraphernalia. Demblans was charged with sale of heroin and cocaine as well as an outstanding warrant for failure to appear in court.
The operation was conducted by the Sheriff’s Special Investigations Unit with assistance of Homeland Security Investigations and the State Attorney’s Office.
Woman arrested for warrant, drugs and resisting arrest
A Rockland Key woman was arrested for having an outstanding warrant, possessing drugs and fighting with deputies Thursday afternoon on Summerland Key.
The bartender at the Wharf Bar called the Sheriff’s Office just before 4 p.m. because 32 year old Kristin Plante was reportedly causing a scene in the bar and refusing to leave when he asked her to. He told responding Deputy Freddy Rodriguez he believed Plante was under the influence of cocaine because she’d gone in the restroom and come out with white powder on her face. By the time deputies arrived, she’d left the bar.
Deputy Rodriguez located Plante walking near the First State Bank on Summerland Key. When he checked on her through Sheriff’s Office computers, she had an outstanding warrant for her arrest for violating the terms of her conditional release ref. two counts of felony theft. When he informed her of the warrant, she told him she was not going to jail and she ran away from him. As she was running, she tripped and fell face-first onto the sidewalk.
Deputies Seth Hopp and Austin Hopp arrived to assist. An ambulance was called to assist as well. Plante fought with the deputies as they attempted to take her into custody. She was bleeding from injuries to her face, so after she was handcuffed, she was transported by ambulance to Lower Keys Hospital.
Plante fought with paramedics in the ambulance and continued to fight once she got to the hospital. At the hospital, at one point, she was able to break away from deputies who were restraining her. She ran away from them and ran face-first into the emergency room doors before they gain control of her.
She was finally cleared by the hospital for transport to jail. In her purse, deputies found white powder and a green leafy substance which tested positive for cocaine and marijuana. She was charged with possession of cocaine, possession of marijuana and two counts each of battery on a law enforcement officer and resisting arrest with violence.
September 12, 2016
Marathon man charged with burglary
A 26 year old Marathon man was arrested for burglary early today.
The victim lives in Galway Bay Trailer Park in Marathon. He told Deputy Seth Hopp he woke at 3:30 am., walked out of his bedroom and found the door to his trailer open. He then found several cabinets open in the trailer and found an open can of beer and a pair of sunglasses inside that weren’t his. That is when he called the Sheriff’s Office.
As he was responding the call, Deputy Hopp encountered 26 year old Zachary Sims in the trailer park. Sims appeared to be intoxicated and said he was looking for his sunglasses.
Deputies Garrett Bragg and Shannon O’Connell arrived as back up and stayed with Sims while Deputy Hopp met with the victim.
Subsequent investigation revealed the sunglasses and the beer in the trailer did belong to Sims. He claimed to be in the trailer park visiting a friend, but he was unsure which trailer his friend lived in.
Sims was arrested. He was charged with burglary of an occupied dwelling and he was booked into jail.
Two charged with racing motorcycles
Two teens were arrested on Cudjoe Sunday afternoon for racing unregistered motorcycles.
Sgt. Ken Fricke was on patrol on Cudjoe Key at 1 p.m. when he heard motorcycles racing up and down Spanish Maine Drive near the 23 mile marker of the highway. As he turned onto Spanish Maine, he saw the motorcycles; neither had a license plate. He turned on his lights and siren to stop them.
Both bikes fled from him at high rates of speed, fleeing down side streets off of Spanish Maine Drive. He eventually one hiding in some bushes on Dirk Lane. The 17 year old driver from Ramrod Key was cited for careless driving and operating an unregistered vehicle.
The second motorcycle was found abandoned on another street nearby. Investigations revealed the driver had been a 17 year old from Big Coppitt Key. He was located by Deputy Lazaro Valdes at home and was charged with fleeing and eluding law enforcement, reckless driving, operating an unregistered motor vehicle and driving with no license.
September 4, 2016
Dive death Dry Tortugas
A Louisiana man died while diving in the Dry Tortugas Saturday.
67 year old Paul Wimberly of Natchitoches, Louisiana was in the Dry Tortugas snorkeling from the commercial vessel Playmate, operated by Sea-Clusive Charters. Wimberly’s dive partner said it appeared Wimberly panicked while underwater. She said he grabbed her and pulled her to the bottom with him. She was able to shed her dive equipment and do an emergency ascension to the surface.
Once on the surface, she yelled for help. She was taken on board the boat and a rescue diver from the vessel then retrieved Wimberly from the water as well. There was a physician and a physician’s assistant on board the vessel. They performed CPR on Wimberly, but were unable to revive him.
The vessel returned to the Key West Harbor Yacht Club at 10:30 p.m. Major Crimes Detective Dawn Agusto was assigned to investigate the case. An autopsy will be done to determine the cause of his death.
September 3, 2016
Miami men charged with illegal lobster, fish
On Friday afternoon Marine Deputy William Guerra was on routine patrol in the area of Toms Harbor Channel when he saw Miami resident Luis Del Rosario, 54, walking from the shore line carrying a bag. Upon contacting Del Rosario and checking the bag, Deputy Guerra found 11 speared lobster, nine of which were undersized and a illegally speared Parrot fish.
Another man who was with Del Rosario, 45 year old Alexis Penate of Miami, was still swimming in the water. Upon seeing Deputy Guerra with Del Rosario, Alexis swam down with his makeshift lobster spear and attempted to hide it. Deputy Guerra jumped into the water and retrieved it.
Deputy Guerra requested backup. Marine Deputy James Hager was on the water nearby and responded to assist.
Alexis was arrested by Dep. Hager for obstruction.
Luis was arrested by Dep Guerra for possession of undersize spiny lobster, possession of over the limit spiny lobster, possession of speared spiny lobster, possession of a speared Parrotfish, possession of parrot fish greater than 12 inches.
September 1, 2016
Detectives ask for help locating missing man
A 56 year old man has been reported missing and detectives say they would like the public’s help locating him.
56 year old Jeffery Dunn of Big Pine Key spent the night Tuesday night at his girlfriend’s apartment on Witter’s Lane, Summerland Key. His girlfriend said he left the apartment at 6:30 a.m. Wednesday, saying he was going to get cigarettes and would be home soon. He did not return.
Dunn reportedly works as the general manager at the No Name Pub; another man who works at the pub says Dunn did not show up for work Wednesday, which is unlike him. Dunn’s vehicle, a grey Mercury SUV with New York license tags, was found parked at the corner of Paradise Drive and Watson Boulevard. A witness said the vehicle had been there since at least 9 a.m. Wednesday morning. The vehicle was unlocked, his wallet was inside and the keys were in the ignition.
The Sheriff’s Office contacted Dunn’s cell phone provider. They said his cell phone has been turned off since 9:30 a.m. Wednesday.
Officers from the Sheriff’s Office, Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Federal Fish and Game Commission searched the area but they did not find Dunn.
Major Crimes Detective Dawn Agusto has been assigned as the lead investigator on this case. Anyone who has any information which may help locate Dunn should contact the Sheriff’s office at 305-289-2410.