Monroe County Sheriff’s Office
Daily Crime and Information Report

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


Click on the highlighted headlines to hear an audio recording of the story

May 31, 2005

Holiday weekend keeps deputies in Islamorada busy

Deputies working in Islamorada were kept extremely busy over the holiday weekend with arrests, medical calls and with extremely heavy traffic.

Between Friday and Monday, 25% of all Sector 6 calls for service took place in the area between the 83 and the 86 mile markers of the highway. Emergency responders answered a total of 115 calls in that area over the busy weekend.  In Sector 6 - which runs from the 73 mile marker to the 90.5 mile marker of the highway - there were a total of 469 calls for service for the weekend, an all time record for the sector according to Captain Joe Leiter. Of those calls for service, 51 were medical calls - also a record, according to Fire Chief William Wagner.

Over all, the Sheriff's Office and other emergency responders answered 1,958 calls for service over the three days. That is 520 more calls for service than the same period the week before.

Traffic was backed up for miles, particularly in the upper Keys. At the worst point Monday afternoon, reports are that northbound traffic was almost bumper to bumper from Key Largo all the way to Conch Key. Some of that backup can be attributed to the fact that Card Sound Road was closed due to a brush fire in Miami-Dade County.

Key West man charged with fleeing from police boat

A Key West man was arrested Saturday evening after he fled from a Sheriff's Office vessel that was trying to stop him on the water.

Deputy Nelson Sanchez was on patrol off shore of Islamorada when he saw a boat speeding through a no motor zone at the south end of Whale Harbor Channel. The boat was traveling in very shallow water at a high rate of speed, and was kicking up mud and grass from it's propeller, so Sanchez turned on his boat's lights and siren and attempted to stop it. There were two men on board the boat he was trying to stop. The passenger saw the patrol boat behind them and tapped the boat's captain on the shoulder to let him know he needed to stop. The captain, 29 year old Hingino Noya, refused to stop however, and instead tried to elude capture by speeding up and swerving to the left and right.

Deputy Sanchez finally managed to get in front of the fleeing boat and stopped it. The passenger told the deputy he was just getting a ride to shore and did not really know the captain. He wrote a witness statement and was allowed to go. Noya was arrested and charged with fleeing from a law enforcement officer and he was booked into the Detention Center.

Miami man charged with jumping on patrol car

A Miami man was arrested after witnesses reported seeing him jumping on a Sheriff's Office marked patrol car.

Deputy Luis Blasco was working an off-duty security detail at the HOliday Isle REsort Saturday evening when a number of people approached him to report seeing a man jumping on his patrol car, parked in the parking lot. The deputy walked toward his car and saw a man walking away from it. He confronted 22 year old Luis Mosquera with the witness reports, and Mosquera admitted to jumping on the car. He said he'd been drinking, and decided to have fun by jumping on the hood and roof of the car.

He was arrested and charged with disorderly intoxication and he was booked into jail. Deputy Blasco said he could see no obvious damage to the car.

Miami man charged with hitting security guard with his car

A Miami man was arrested Sunday afternoon after he hit an elderly security guard with his car, knocking him to the ground.

Witnesses told Deputy Wastine Allen they saw 43 year old Alfredo Egued strike the 69 year old security guard with his 2005 BMW after the two men had a disagreement about parking. Egued was attempting to drive his car into the Caloosa Campground. The guard told Egued there was a policy in place which only allows property owners to park inside the campground. He told Egued since he is only a visitor to the campground, he'd have to park outside the main entrance.

Egued became enraged, told the guard he was not going to park his new car outside the campground, and he began to drive toward the gate. Both security guards who were on duty tried to calm Egued as they stood in front of his car. Egued threatened them, and, as they moved up beside the drivers' side of the car, he threw the car in reverse, accelerating backward and knocking one of the guards to the ground, injuring his foot.

According to witnesses, Egued then left the area, never checking on the guard to see if he was all right. The guard was taken to Mariner's Hospital where he was treated for broken bones in his foot. Egued was found at a nearby fast food restaurant, after a witness followed him and then told deputies where he was. He was charged with aggravated battery on a person over 65 years of age and he was booked into the detention center.

Miami man arrested for trying to drown his girlfriend

A Miami man was arrested Saturday afternoon after he held his girlfriend's head under water in an apparent attempt to drown her.

According to the 21 year old victim, and witnesses, she, her boyfriend and some friends were at the Sandbar Saturday afternoon when the incident occurred. The victim told Deputy Ann Latham she went off with her friends for a while and when she returned to her boyfriend's boat just before 5 p.m., he was angry with her. She said he jumped off the boat, hit her in the mouth, then grabbed her and held her head under water. Several men who witnessed the incident grabbed him and pulled him off of her and she was able to come up for air.

As the witnesses held him, he reportedly struggled with them, yelling that if he got loose he would drown her. She was able to get a ride from the Sandbar to shore where she called the Sheriff's Office.

22 year old Nelson Cabrera was arrested and charged with aggravated battery. He was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.


May 26, 2005

Sheriff's Office, DEA bust marijuana growers

Two men were arrested after they were caught attempting to dismantle and dispose of a Marijuana growing operation at a home in Tavernier Wednesday evening.

Sheriff's detectives with the Special Investigations Division received information that two men might be attempting to dismantle their growing operation at a home on Jasmine Street in Tavernier. The detectives called for assistance from the local office of the Drug Enforcement Administration and two agents from that office responded to surveil the location at 4 p.m. When they arrived they saw evidence that a growing operation had been set up in a house at 261 Jasmine Street. As they watched the house, two men pulled up in a pickup truck and loaded it up with boxes and bags. They then began driving the truck toward the waste transfer station on State Road 905.

The two DEA agents pulled the truck over. They saw, in plain view, Marijuana plants sticking out of the bags in the back of the truck and they could smell the drug as well. They took the two men in the truck into custody, then later handed them over to Sheriff's detectives. The marijuana weighed six pounds.

46 year old Frank Wilson and 39 year old Michael Murray were both booked into the Monroe County Detention Center for possession of a felony amount of marijuana. The investigation into their activities is ongoing, and there is a possibility of federal charges in the case.

May 25, 2005

Stock Island man charged with possessing crack, testosterone

A 21 year old Stock Island man was arrested Tuesday evening after a routine traffic stop for a brake light that was out.

Deputy Andrew Ensminger was patrolling 2nd Street at 7:30 p.m. when a 1966 Chevrolet passed by him with the passenger side brake light out. He turned around and pulled the car over. The driver, identified as Yasmany Santana of Stock Island, could not produce a driver's license. A check on his license revealed it to be valid but a check of the car's tag showed it did not belong on the car.

During the stop, Deputy Ensminger told Santana not to return to his car, but Santana kept walking back to the driver's side door as if he were nervous about something inside the car. Reserve Deputy James Ensminger was also on the scene. He looked inside the Chevy and saw a box on the back seat that said "syringe" on it. Deputy Ensminger confronted Santana, asking him if he had any steroids in the car that he might be using the syringes for. Santana admitted to having a steroid - testosterone - in the car.

Santana was arrested and charged with attaching a tag not assigned to his vehicle. A search of his vehicle turned up three vials of testosterone. Twenty-one grams of crack cocaine were found in the car near the driver's side door, next to a sharp pointed throwing star. Santana was further charged with possession of cocaine, possession of steroids with intent to distribute, possession of a concealed weapon and possession of drug paraphernalia and he was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

Watch out for heavy traffic this Memorial Day weekend

The Monroe County Sheriff's Office is expecting a busy Memorial Day weekend with traffic projected to be especially heavy in the upper Keys. Deputies will be out in force patrolling the highway to make sure residents and visitors alike are safe as they drive in Monroe County.

Deputies will be watching out specifically for improper passing, speeding and drunk driving. These offenses are some of the most dangerous ones when traffic is heavy. The Sheriff's Office recommends that everyone take their time while traveling. Go with the flow of traffic and don't try to get anywhere in a hurry.

If you decide to drink alcohol over the holiday weekend, make sure you choose a designated driver who agrees to remain sober and drive home those who are drinking. Driving under the influence of alcohol is against the law and will earn you an automatic trip to jail. Also remember, boating under the influence of alcohol is also a crime and the Sheriff's Office and Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission officers will be out on the water patrolling as well.

Refugees arrive in Marathon

Ten refugees reportedly landed on a small island off of Marathon early today.

Sheriff's dispatchers received a report at 4:30 a.m. that a group of refugees was on Tingler Island off of Marathon. The group turned out to be 10 men and one woman, all in good condition. Border Patrol responded and took custody of the group.

May 24, 2005

Bomb squad responds to device found in the water

Click here to see photos of the device found off of Key Largo

What turned out to be an inert Navy training mine brought the Sheriff's Office bomb squad to Pennekamp State Park Monday morning.

Detective Sgt. Bobby Randolph and Inspector Butch Albury, members of the Sheriff's bomb squad, responded to the park to reports that something that looked like it might be an explosive device was found about a mile off shore of the main channel into Pennekamp State Park. After calling the Navy, and sending digital photographs of the device to them, it was finally determined the device was a mine warfare training device that is not explosive in nature and is used in Naval training exercises.

Stock Island teen charged with fleeing police, possessing testosterone

What started as a routine traffic stop for an expired tag turned into an arrest for fleeing from police and illegally possessing a vial of testosterone.

Deputy Andrew Ensminger and Reserve Deputy Colleen Carter were on patrol Saturday at 7:30 p.m. on Stock Island when they spotted a 1996 Chevrolet Impala with an expired license tag. When they attempted a traffic stop on the vehicle as it was turning from Highway U.S. One onto 3rd Street, it failed to stop, then accelerated. The vehicle made several turns at a high rate of speed, traveling on Maloney Avenue, then through Overseas Trailer park onto 5th Street. It finally stopped in the parking lot of Stock Island Apartments with the passenger and the driver bailing out of the car and running in different directions.

Deputy Ensminger chased the passenger, but lost him after he jumped a fence and fled into a wooded area. He then returned to the apartments, where he'd seen the driver run into the complex. Deputy David Lariz arrived as back up. A bystander told the deputies they'd find the driver upstairs. They did, indeed, find the driver,19 year old Jose Barcenas, on the second floor of the apartment complex. Deputy Ensminger used his in car video system to confirm that Barcenas was the person who jumped out of the vehicle and fled. Barcenas was charged with fleeing from police, having a suspended license, and resisting arrest. A search of his car turned up a vial of Testosterone, so he was further charged with possession of a controlled substance and he was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

Stock Island man charged with drug possession

A Stock Island man was arrested for possessing marijuana after a woman called to report finding the drugs under her sink Friday morning.

Deputy Maretta McNichol and a Detective from the Special Operations Division responded to a report of found marijuana at a home on Maloney Avenue at 8:30 a.m. When they arrived, a woman who lives there showed them the drugs and a digital scale she'd found under her sink. She told them the drugs, weighing approximately 56 grams, belonged to her daughter's boyfriend, a man she identified as 26 year old Jesus Hernandez, also known as "Chulo".

Hernandez was found at his home on Stock Island. He admitted to putting the drugs under the sink, and he turned over more marijuana that he had in his house. Hernandez was arrested and charged with possessing the illegal substance and he was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

Fire destroys Grassy Key trailer

A trailer caught fire this morning (Tuesday) on Grassy Key burning completely.

The owner of the trailer, located in the Pelican Trailer Park on Grassy Key, told Sgt. Sam Cassell he lit several candles, then went outside and was working when he noticed smoke billowing from his residence. He said he ran back inside and was able to save his dog and his cat, but the trailer, described as a 30 foot travel trailer with an addition built on to it, was destroyed by the blaze.

The Red Cross was notified and will be giving him assistance.

Internet tipster voted reward

The board of Crime Stoppers of the Keys has voted a substantial reward for a crime tip submitted over the internet. The tip assisted the Sheriff's Office in a drug bust at Marathon on May 17 that netted two arrests and the seizure of drugs and cash.

The tipster should contact the Crime Stopper operator at 1-800-346-TIPS in order to receive instructions on how to pick up the reward money. Crime Stoppers pays up to one thousand dollars for information leading to arrests in felony cases and the apprehension of fugitives. Anonymous tips can be on the Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-346-8477 or on the internet at www.

Crime Stoppers works: So far this year, tips have resulted in eleven arrests, including the apprehension of three fugitives and the solving of 18 criminal cases.

May 18, 2005

Two arrested after search warrant in Marathon assisted by Crime Stopper tips

A suspected drug dealer was caught dumping what turned out to be cocaine powder down a kitchen sink as members of the Sheriff’s SWAT team entered an apartment in Marathon last night. Sheriff’s detectives, deputies and SWAT members served warrants at two apartments at 2401 Overseas Highway, resulting in two arrests and the seizure of cocaine, crack rocks, marijuana and cash.

The Sheriff’s Special Investigations Division made undercover drug buys at the apartments after receiving crime stopper tips and complaints about heavy drug activity in the area. After obtaining search warrants, the two apartments were raided shortly after 7 p.m. Tuesday.

As the officers entered one of the apartments they spotted 35-year old Leon A. Mangham in the kitchen dumping a white substance into the sink drain. Officers took Mangham into custody and tests of the white powder on his fingertips and in the sink drain tested positive for cocaine. A search of the apartment produced a plastic bag containing 13.4 grams of cocaine and another plastic bag containing marijuana. Officers also found cocaine residue in numerous locations throughout the apartment. Mangham told officers that he was in the process of making crack cocaine when officers raided the apartment. Mangham is charged with trafficking in cocaine, possession of marijuana and tampering with evidence.

Officers Tuesday night also arrested 28-year old Willie L. Weston after serving a search warrant at his apartment at 2401 Overseas Highway. Officers found cocaine residue in the kitchen sink drain and on a razor blade. The search also produced a small amount of marijuana in three separate locations along with 300 dollars in twenty-dollar bills. The serial numbers on five of the bills matched the money used in the undercover investigation that led to the search warrant. Weston is charged with possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. The Coast Guard’s K-9 team and a Border Patrol Officer assisted the Sheriff’s Office in the search warrant.


May  16, 2005

Stock Island man charged with threatening, restraining and beating his wife

A Stock Island man is in jail charged with threatening to kill his wife, beating her and tying her up.

Deputies Evan Calhoun and Brian Kibbe were dispatched to a call for help from a residence on 2nd Street, Stock Island at 1:30 a.m. Sunday. When they arrived, they found the front door destroyed, and a woman inside who was distraught. She told the deputies she and her husband, 32 year old Rory Davis, had been drinking and began to argue. She said she tried to get him to go to bed, but he became increasingly angry and, finally, violent. He began beating her, told her he was going to kill her and tied her hands and feet. He began asking her if she wanted to die, and told her he was going to die by calling the police, and then pointing a gun at them when they arrived so they would kill him.

She said he finally went outside and she managed to get some of her restraints loosened enough to crawl to the door. She said she locked the door with her teeth to keep him outside. When he realized the door was locked, he became enraged and kicked the door in. She finally convinced him to hand her the phone so she could call for help.

The deputies placed Davis, who was still at the home, under arrest. He was charged with false imprisonment, battery and aggravated assault and he was taken to the Monroe County Detention Center for booking.

Homestead man found with Meth and GHB

A Homestead man is in jail charged with possessing Methamphetamine and Gamma-Hydroxy Butyric Acid, also known as GHB and Liquid Ecstasy.

Deputy Edward Askins was on patrol on Highway U.S. One southbound at  the 105 mile marker at 2 a.m. Sunday when he spotted a four door Lincoln sedan traveling 10 miles per hour in a 45 mile per hour zone. As he followed the car, he saw it swerve off the road several times and he saw the driver leaning over the center console and he saw the flame from a lighter several times.

He pulled the car over and began speaking with the driver, 43 year old Miguel Martinez. Martinez told Deputy Askins he'd just left Fort Lauderdale, and he pointed south toward Tavernier. When the deputy asked Martinez if he knew where he was, Martinez told him he was on Key Biscayne Boulevard in Miami. The deputy saw a glass pipe used for smoking illegal drugs in plain view on the center console, so he placed Martinez under arrest for possession of drug paraphernalia.

An inventory search of the car turned up a half gram of crystal meth in a plastic bag inside a grooming kit. A glass vial containing 37 grams of liquid GHB was also found in the car. Martinez admitted to smoking the methamphetamine just prior to being pulled over. He was arrested, charged with possession of the two illegal substances and with possessing the paraphernalia and he was booked into the Detention Center.

Stock Island man arrested for breaking in to a home and attacking a man

A Stock Island man who broke into a home and attacked a man who was inside was arrested in the early morning hours Saturday.

When deputies arrived at the 5th Street residence, they found the victim of the attack restraining his attacker, 32 year old Gabriel Gonzalez. Gonzalez was struggling with him, and continued to struggle as Deputy Evan Calhoun handcuffed him. Further investigation revealed the woman who lives at the residence used to date Gonzalez. According to her, Gonzalez broke down her door and entered her home. The man staying with her pushed him back out the door, but he broke in again, attacking them both and fighting with the other man. During the fight, both victims and the suspect sustained some injuries. The male victim was bitten on the stomach, and received lacerations on several areas of his body.

Martinez was arrested and charged with two counts of battery, burglary, criminal mischief and resisting an officer with violence. He was taken to Lower Keys Hospital to be medically cleared before going to jail. At the hospital he continued to violently struggle, at one point trying to bite a nurse who was treating him. Once he arrived at the jail, detention deputies searched him, finding a small amount of marijuana in his possession. Martinez was further charged with introduction of contraband to a corrections facility and he was booked into jail.

May 12, 2005

Marathon man charged with aggravated assault

A Marathon man was arrested in the early morning hours Wednesday after he scuffled with another man in a dispute over money he says is owed to him.

According to witnesses and the victim, during the scuffle 40 year old Richard Davis pulled a gun out of a backpack he was carrying, and later pulled a knife out of his pocket. One witness helped restrain Davis while the victim ran away. The victim ran from the 41st Street area, where the struggle occurred, to the Marathon Detention Center where he reported the incident to the Sheriff's Office.

When Deputy Gregg Johnson and Sgt. Lionel Vargas arrived just before 1 a.m. they spoke to the victim, and spoke to witnesses who corroborated the victim's story. They looked under some rocks where one witness said Davis hid the knife and they found it there. Another witness said he saw Davis climb over a fence into a nearby boat yard with the backpack containing the gun. He reportedly returned a short time later without it.

Deputy Johnson spoke with the victim's father who said Davis showed up at his residence earlier in the day, told him his son owned him money, and showed him a gun.

The suspect was located still in the area of 41st Street and he was arrested for aggravated assault. A search of the boat yard failed to turn up the back pack or the gun. Davis was booked at the Monroe County Detention Center.

May 11, 2005

Girl reports attempted kidnapping on Stock Island

A 9 year old girl reported a man tried to kidnap her as she walked her dog near 2nd Avenue on Stock Island Tuesday evening.

The victim said she was walking her dog on the 2nd Avenue side of Stock Island apartments when a man ran out from behind a storage container. She said he ran at her and, frightened, she ran away from him toward the apartments. As she neared the courtyard entrance of the apartment complex, she saw her mother and ran to her. At that point, the man turned around, ran away and jumped into a vehicle driven by another man and they drove away.

The girl, who according to detectives was extremely upset and frightened by the ordeal, described her attacker as a "very white" white male, approximately 5' 2" tall and "skinny". He had gray hair and a short white beard and mustache. He was wearing long, "beach-type" shorts that were navy blue in color and a white tank top shirt. The girl could not say what kind of vehicle he got into, or what the driver of the vehicle looked like.

Detectives from the Crimes Against Women and Children's Unit responded to interview the victim and they are investigating. They say the girl did the right thing in running away when she felt threatened, and they said they are impressed with her ability to give such a detailed description of the man. "This girl reacted in just the right way," said Detective Janine Gedmin. "Children should know that if a stranger approaches them, tries to lure them into a car, or tries to grab them that the best thing they can do is run away as fast as they can and make as much noise as they can. Many times this behavior will deter a potential kidnapper."

Anyone with information about the case should contact the Sheriff's Office at 2. Callers who wish to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. If a tip leads to a felony arrest, the caller would be eligible for a cash reward. The Crime Stoppers hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS.

May 10, 2005

Miami man charged with cocaine

A Miami man seen acting suspiciously at the poolside bar of an Islamorada resort was arrested in the early morning hours today when deputies discovered he had cocaine in his possession.

30 year old Christopher Travis was spotted in the bar by a food and beverage manager at Holiday Isle. The witness told Deputies David Lariz and Reggie Williams that he saw Travis acting suspiciously, making what appeared to be hand to hand transactions,as if he were selling something to patrons of the bar. The deputies approached him and asked him if he had any weapons or narcotics. He replied that he did not. The deputies then asked him for permission to search him.

At that point, Travis began taking things out of his pockets, including a plastic bag with money inside and another one containing four separate packages of white powder, later identified as cocaine. Travis was placed under arrest for possession of cocaine with intent to distribute. Once at the Detention Center, the booking officer asked him if he had any other illegal items or substances in his possession. He replied that he did not. A search by the booking officer turned up another plastic bag with cocaine inside, so Travis was further charged with smuggling contraband into the jail.

Miami man charged with multiple burglaries

A Miami man was arrested Monday evening after numerous residents in the area of the 95 mile marker of highway U.S. One called in to complain about a suspicious person in the area.

Deputy John Perez responded to a call from a woman who said she saw a man on the balcony of her house. When she made eye contact with him, he fled from the home. She described the suspect as a white male, wearing a plaid shirt, blue jeans and sporting a goatee type beard. Just minutes later, Deputy Perez and Deputy Jeffrey Parker responded to another house in the same neighborhood where a burglar alarm had been tripped. They found pry marks on the door where someone had tried to enter. The deputies were talking to neighbors asking if they had seen anything when another suspicious person call came in with the same description given as the first call. When they reached the location of the latest call, they spotted a man fitting the description, with a plaid shirt wrapped around his hand. They detained 29 year old Andrew Gonzalez for questioning.

As they were continuing their investigation, they discovered one neighbor whose car, parked in a garage, had been burglarized. She said just prior to finding the burgled car, she saw the suspect fleeing from her property. The deputies then found another neighbor whose two cars had broken windows, and they had been ransacked.

Gonzalez was arrested and charged with two counts burglary to structures, three counts burglary to autos and one count of theft. He became violent, yelled that he wanted to die, and then began hitting his head against the hood of one officer's patrol car. He was restrained, placed into a marked patrol car and was taken to the Monroe County Detention Center for booking.

Arrests on the water in Islamorada

Two men were arrested for drug possession in separate incidents off shore of an Islamorada resort.

Deputies Nelson Sanchez and Harrold Boyden were both patrolling the area of the Sandbar off of Windley Key Monday. At 3:15 p.m., Deputy Boyden responded to back up the United States Coast Guard on a vessel stop for a safety check. When he arrived, the Coast Guard had two men handcuffed for officer safety. They had asked one man to empty his pockets because he had a large bulge in the pocket which could be a weapon. As he was emptying his pocket, the man, identified as 29 year old Ryan Ranaudo of Coral Springs, Florida , pushed off the side of the boat and into the water, dumping everything from his pockets into the water.

Deputy Nelson Sanchez responded to assist. Among those things recovered from the water were baggies containing blue pills identified as Viagra, and baggies containing cocaine .Ranaudo was charged with possession of cocaine, possession of a controlled substance without a prescription, destruction of evidence and resisting arrest and he was booked into jail.

Later in the evening, at 7:20 p.m., Deputy Sanchez backed up the Coast Guard on another vessel stop. He assisted in removing everyone from the vessel so a K-9 search could be conducted for possible contraband. As the people were moving off of the boat, a Coast Guard officer saw one man drop a black handkerchief. During the subsequent search, the dog alerted on the seat where the handkerchief had been dropped. Further investigation revealed a cylindrical container in the same location containing 45 Amphetamine pills and four grams of cocaine, packed in individual gram packages as if for sale.

25 year old Rudolpho LaMartina of Boca Raton, Florida was arrested. He was charged with possession of cocaine and possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute and he was taken to jail.

May 3, 2005

Identity of dead diver released

Detectives are releasing the identity of a man who died diving off of Key Largo Saturday.

Family members of the deceased diver have been notified of his death, so his identity can now be released. The man who died Saturday after diving on the wreck "Spiegal Grove" is 44 year old Tarik Khair-el-din of Indiatlantic, Florida.

Detectives and the Medical Examiner's Office are investigating the death.

Big Pine man arrested for peeping in women's shower facility

A Big Pine Key man was arrested Monday for hiding at a women's shower facility at a campground and peeking at women in the shower.

On April 23rd, Deputy Edgar Piniero responded to a Sugarloaf Key campground to reports that a man was caught watching a woman as she showered at the campground. Witnesses chased him from the shower and were able to get his license plate number as he fled in his vehicle. From the vehicle information, Deputy Piniero was able to show the witnesses a photo of a possible suspect, and the witnesses positively identified the photo as the man they saw running from the bathhouse.

A warrant was issued for the arrest of 21 year old Peter Angellotti for trespassing and voyeurism. On Monday, he turned himself in at the Marathon detention center and he was booked on the charges.

Two men charged with racing

Two men are facing charges for racing their vehicles at the 8 mile marker of Highway U.S. One Monday afternoon.

Traffic Enforcement Deputy Andrew Ensminger was on patrol, traveling southbound at the 8 mile marker when he spotted two black cars traveling in the same direction at a high rate of speed. His radar indicated they were both traveling 94 miles per hour in a 55 mile per hour zone. After he pulled both cars over, he discovered one of the drivers, 18 year old Ross Marshall, had been drinking alcohol. Marshall was arrested and charged with reckless driving. A search of his car turned up two bottles of vodka, so he was further charged with being a minor in possession of alcohol.

The other driver, 55 year old Christopher Smith of Big Pine Key, was issued a notice to appear in court for reckless driving.

Teen charged with burglary

A Cudjoe Key teen has been charged with burglary in connection with a January 3rd incident involving arson, vandalism and burglary on Little Knockemdown Key.

The small island is located on the bayside of the Lower Keys and is accessible only by boat. During the incident, suspects broke into several of the unoccupied residences, vandalizing them and setting fires resulting in thousands of dollars in damages. On Monday, 15 year old Preston Hartman was arrested on an outstanding warrant for burglary and criminal mischief after a palm print found at the scene of one of the burglaries was positively identified as his. Detective Manuel Cuervo is assigned to the investigation.

The manager of the island property, who responded to the sight of smoke billowing from the island on January 3rd, told Sheriff’s deputies that he spotted two suspects leaving the island in a boat. The manager knew the suspects and reported their names to Sheriff’s detectives, who later found a driver’s license and court papers belonging to the suspects on the island. However, subsequent investigation could not generate enough evidence to produce probable cause to arrest the two suspects until the palm print identified Hartman. The case is still under investigation.

One of the property owners is offering a five thousand dollar reward for detailed information that will result in more arrests or more charges in this case. Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys will increase that amount by up to another thousand dollars. If you have information about this case, call the Crime Stoppers 24 hotline at 1-800-346-8477 or you can submit the tip through the web at or by clicking on the Crime Stoppers Tip link on the Sheriff’s web site at www. Tips by e-mail or phone are completely anonymous.


May 2, 2005

Man dies while diving

A man from Indialantic, Florida died while diving off of Key Largo Saturday afternoon.

According to Deputy John Perez, the captain of the charter dive vessel "N2Deep", Jason Hill, saw the victim surface from his dive on the Spiegal Grove at approximately 2:50 p.m. and was hanging on to a mooring buoy a short distance from the boat. The victim reportedly signaled that he was in distress, and Hill told him to wait until the other divers were on board the boat and he would come get him. A short time later, the victim let go of the mooring buoy and began trying to swim to the boat.

Captain Hill said he saw the victim go under the surface, so he left his mooring to go get the victim, but he was no where to be found. The U.S. Coast Guard was notified and they, along with the Fish and Wildlife Commission and Key Largo Fire Rescue divers responded. A search took place and, about 6:30 p.m., the victim's body was reportedly found by diver's from Key Largo Fire Rescue on the bottom of the ocean about 100 feet from the wreck. He had his mask on, but his regulator was out of his mouth and he had no air in his buoyancy compensator or in his dive tank.

The name of the victim is not being released because his next of kin has not been notified. Detectives are investigating, along with the Monroe County Medical Examiner, who will do an autopsy to determine the cause of his death.

Two men arrested after burglary at gas station

Two men were arrested today (Monday) in the early morning hours after deputies responded to an alarm at a Key Largo gas station convenience store.

At 2 a.m., Deputies Edward Askins and Jeffrey Parker responded to an alarm call at the Liberty gas station at the 99 mile marker of Highway U.S. One. When they arrived, they discovered a window was open. They also found a bicycle and a flashlight on the property, a short distance from the open window.

When they checked the area around the gas station, they found 52 year old John Hughs of Key Largo and 57 year old Ernesto Molina of Hialeah feigning sleep a short distance away. Near them were several Budweiser beer cans that it appeared they'd been drinking. The cans were still cold to the touch.

The deputies asked the two men what they were doing. Hughes told him he'd just bought the beer from the Liberty gas station a few minutes before. When confronted with the fact that the gas station had closed over an hour before, Hughes finally admitted to going into the closed business through the window and taking the beer.

Hughes was charged with burglary, theft, loitering and prowling and possession of untaxed beverages. Molina was charged with loitering and prowling. Both men were booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.