Monroe County Sheriff’s Office
Daily Crime and Information Report

Issued by the Media Relations Office
Media Relations Director Adam Linhardt

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

April 30, 2018

Men cited for illegal lobsters, snook

Two 19-year-old Miami men were cited Sunday for possessing illegal lobsters. One of them was also charged for illegally harvesting a snook.

• Edgar Diaz was cited for possession lobster out-of-season, possession of undersized lobsters, possession of speared snook, possession of undersized snook, possession of out-of-season snook and illegally spearfishing in the Upper Keys.

• Bryon Gonzalez was cited for possession of lobster out-of-season and possession of undersized lobster.

Deputy Wilfredo Guerra was on patrol near Long Key Bridge when he contacted Diaz who was walking to his car with a cooler. Diaz opened his cooler and Deputy Guerra found a speared snook and five lobsters inside.

Diaz admitted to spearing the snook and harvesting three illegal lobsters.

Gonzalez admitted to harvesting the other two illegal lobsters.

Both men were issued a notice to appear in court.

Lobster season runs from Aug. 6 to March 31 each year. The carapace must be larger than three inches and measured in the water to be legally harvested during open season.. It’s illegal to spear lobster at any time.

Snook may be legally harvested from Dec. 15 to Jan. 31 and from June 1 to Aug. 31. Snook must be no more than 33 inches nor less than 28 inches to be legally harvested during open season. It’s illegal to spear lobster at any time.

Spearfishing in state waters in Monroe County from Long Key north to the Miami-Dade County line is legal only in waters three miles from the nearest point of land on the Atlantic side and nine miles from the nearest point of land on the Gulf side.

Man cited for illegal snapper

A 36-year-old Miami man was cited for possessing a litany of illegal snappers on Sunday.

Greggy Darnell Belton was cited for possession for the undersized snappers.

Deputy Wilfredo Guerra was on patrol on the north end of the Channel 5 Bridge when he contacted Belton.

Belton was found to be in possession of 14 undersized mangrove snapper, possession of nine over-the-limit mangrove snapper, possession of over-the-limit yellowtail snapper and possession of undersized schoolmaster snapper.

For more information about harvesting laws of various snappers, visit

Next week is National Correctional Officers and Employees Week

Next week, our agency and others across the nation will take time out to recognize the employees working in our detention facilities in Monroe County. Next week is National Correctional Officers and Employees Week.

In 1984, President Ronald Reagan signed a proclamation creating this special week. Employees working in detention facilities have a difficult job. They are charged with working in a truly stressful environment and at the same time, ensuring the custody, safety and well-being of those under their care.

Please join the Sheriff’s Office in thanking all of our Corrections deputies and employees for their hard work and dedication.

The Bureau of Corrections holds professional accreditation on both a state and national level. The three detention facilities in the Keys hold up to 700 inmates with an average daily population of just under 500. The Sheriff’s Office employs about 136 certified detention deputies in all three facilities.

Man arrested for home burglaries

A 45-year-old homeless man was arrested Sunday for burglarizing two homes and possessing painkillers without a prenoscription.

Christopher Allen McDougal was charged with burglary, grand theft, two counts of grand theft of a controlled substance and four counts of possession of a controlled substance without a prenoscription.

Middle Keys Deputy Mario Benedetti was called to Tingler Lane at 3 p.m. where he met with the owner of the residence. The victim said he walked into his kitchen and saw a man, later identified as McDougal, drinking water. The man apologized after being confronted. The suspect then grabbed a backpack that belonged to the victim and left in the scene in a sport utility vehicle.

The owner said the backpack contained his painkiller medication for cancer, his driver license, credit cards and passport. Also reported stolen from the home were an iPad, a gallon of vodka, a $420 writing pen and $1,052 in cash among other items. The suspect SUV was later spotted on Coco Plum Drive. The victim identified the SUV as the one the suspect had driven away from his house in.

McDougal was found after illegally entering another residence on Coco Plum Drive. He admitted to entering both homes and stealing the afore mentioned items. He said he and his girlfriend have been camping and looking for places to stay.

McDougal was taken to jail.

Man arrested for battery  

A 31-year-old homeless man was charged with battery after he knocked a man temporarily unconscious Sunday afternoon on Stock Island.  

Jonathan Christopher Saporito was charged with battery and resisting arrest without violence.

Deputy Jonathan Lane was called to the 5700 block of U.S. 1 at 2:43p.m.  reference to a fight when he found a man trying to stand up and repeatedly falling to the ground. Another man, later identified as Saporito, was standing over the victim and claimed to be helping him given the victim’s medical condition. Lane had interacted with the victim earlier in the day on a previous medical call.

Lane called Monroe County Fire Rescue. The victim had new scrapes to his body and welts to his face that suggested he had recently been punched.

A short time later, the victim was able to stand up, but could not remember what occurred over the last 20 minutes.

A witness told Lane he saw Saporito attack the victim. The victim later Deputy Donald Stullken he wanted to press charges against Saporito.

Saporito repeatedly declined to give Deputy Lane his full name.

Saporito was taken to jail.

Man injured in accidental shooting

A was not seriously hurt when he was accidentally shot in the leg by a .22-caliber rifle on Friday.

The incident occurred about 3:30 p.m. at Sunshine Key RV Resort & Marina on Big Pine Key.

Deputies Mathew O’Neill and Vincent Torres responded to Fishermen’s Hospital in Marathon.

The incident occurred while the victim and several other men were loading items from a golf cart onto a truck.  The rifle was damaged. It was missing its stock, which leaves the trigger exposed. The firearm was wrapped in a towel.

All the stories provided by the witnesses were consistent in that the incident appeared to be accidental. No criminal charges were filed. The injuries to the victim were non-life threatening.

April 28, 2018

Man arrested for motor vehicle theft  

A 24-year-old Cudjoe Key man was arrested early Saturday morning after he was caught in a 2009 Chevrolet Suburban stolen out of Alabama.

Dakota Wayne Whited was charged with grand theft of a motor vehicle.

The Sheriff’s Office received information that a Suburban sport-utility-vehicle that was stolen in Alabama could be in Monroe County. Lower Keys Deputy Shannon O’Connell spotted the suspect vehicle at 2:42 a.m. at Mile Marker 24 on U.S. 1. She stopped the vehicle at Mile Marker 29.5. One of the passengers, later identified as Whited, said that he knew why they were stopped and that the vehicle was stolen. Whited stated he stole the vehicle. Sgt. Evan Calhoun detained Whited. The driver stated he had no idea the vehicle was stolen. The driver stated Whited had gone to Alabama about two days ago and returned with the SUV. Another passenger also stated she assumed Whited owned the vehicle.

Whited admitted he stole the SUV from a dealership.

Whited was taken to jail.

April 27, 2018

Man arrested for beating dog

A 38-year-old Big Pine Key man was arrested Thursday night for severely beating a woman’s dog.

Armando Corzo was charged with animal cruelty.

The 5-year-old, female miniature poodle, “Ameretta,” is not expected to survive due to injuries to its neck, tongue, eye and brain. It also had several teeth knocked out.

Deputy Vince Pacifico was called to a veterinary hospital in Marathon on Wednesday where he found the dog and its owner. The woman’s friend told Deputy Pacifico that the owner’s boyfriend, later identified as Corzo, was drunk when he was left alone with the dog for about 45 minutes inside the owner’s apartment. The dog had no injuries at that time. The owner came home from work to find her dog lifeless on the floor. She asked Corzo what happened and he stated, “(Deleted) these dogs.” The owner has two miniature poodles. She and Corzo were dating. He does not reside at her Big Pine Key apartment, but he does have a key.

Deputy Pacifico then went to the apartment. He located several spots of blood in various areas of the kitchen and living room. He also found blood on the wall that suggested the dog struck the wall.

The owner told Deputy Pacifico that Corzo had been becoming increasingly upset with the dogs and taking increasingly more severe disciplinary action with them.

Deputy Pacifico spoke to the veterinarian. The veterinarian told him the dog suffered injuries consistent with being thrown, kicked or beaten with a blunt object.

The dog owner called Sgt. Jake Brady on Thursday afternoon and told him the veterinarian told her the dog was likely not going to survive. 

Deputy Pacifico went to Corzo’s residence on Big Pine Key on Thursday night. Corzo declined to speak to Deputy Pacifico.

Corzo was taken to jail.

Weekend Traffic Alert

A group of cyclists who are conducting a relay cycling event from Maine to Key West are set to arrive in the Upper Keys tomorrow on Saturday about noon.

The Pines to Palms group notified the Sheriff’s Office on Friday of their plans. They have been instructed to stay on the bike path/bake lane wherever they can to minimize any impact on traffic. The group consists of 14 disabled, paralyzed, wounded, injured and able-bodied cyclists and volunteers, including military veterans, civilians and supporters. The Sheriff’s Office has been told this is a relay event and not all 14 cyclists will be cycling at one time.

Our deputies have been notified of the event, but Keys residents should be aware of any possible delays due to the cyclists.  

For more information about their route go to

April 26, 2018

Man arrested for stealing tools

A 60-year-old Marathon man was arrested Wednesday for stealing power tools from a construction site.

Silberio Santana Diaz was charged with burglary and larceny.

Lt. Derek Paul responded to Sombrero Boulevard regarding a burglary in process where he met with a witness. The witness told Lt. Paul she saw a man, later identified as Diaz, riding a blue bicycle while holding power tools. She spoke to a nearby construction crew who stated their tools were stolen. The witness gave Lt. Paul a denoscription of the man on the bicycle.

The owner of the tools told Lt. Paul he saw a man throw some tools near a Dumpster before riding away on a bicycle. The owner stated he recovered the tools near the Dumpster, but he wished to press charges.

Lt. Paul described the suspect to several other people in the area and eventually he found Diaz hiding in a closet under the stairs of a nearby hotel. Lt. Paul recognized Diaz from previous encounters with law enforcement. The witness identified Diaz as the suspect.

Diaz was taken to jail.

Body found in water near Key Haven boat ramp

The body of what appeared to be a white male in his 50s or 60s was removed from the water near Key Haven boat ramp about 4 p.m. Thursday.

Identification is pending further investigation and notification of next of kin.

Foul play does not appear to be an initial factor, but the case remains under investigation.

According to a female witness, the man was bathing in a body of water on the northside of U.S. 1 near a culvert. The witness said he was pulled into the culvert possibly due to the current. He was found on the other side of the highway near the Key Haven boat ramp.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Monroe County Fire Rescue and Florida Highway Patrol all assisted at the scene.

April 25, 2018

Man arrested in road rage incident

A 30-year-old Stock Island man was arrested Tuesday night after a traffic crash at Cross Street and U.S. 1.

Devin Eric Kauffman was charged with hit and run, operating a motorcycle without a motorcycle endorsement and resisting or obstructing an officer.

The other motorist involved, who was reportedly punched, did not wish to press charges.

Deputy Ryan Chlebanowski arrived at the scene shortly after 8 p.m. A witness told Deputy Chlebanowski he saw a motorcycle traveling behind a northbound pickup truck. The pickup truck moved into the right turn lane in order to turn onto Cross Street. The motorcycle was already in the right-turn lane. The motorcycle fell over. There was no physical contact between the motorcycle and the pickup truck. The driver of the motorcycle, later identified as Kauffman, and a woman passenger fell to the ground. The pickup truck driver stopped to check on both. Kauffman became angry. Witnesses reported seeing him punch the driver of the pickup truck several times through the driver’s side window. Kauffman then ran down Cross Street, fleeing the scene.

Deputy Denise Dery went to Kauffman’s Stock Island address and brought him back to the scene. Kauffman told Deputy Chlebanowski removed the license plate from the motorcycle and tossed it along Cross Street. Deputy Dery found the license plate. Kauffman said he removed the plate in an effort to hinder law enforcement’s ability to identify him. He later said he has no motorcycle endorsement on his driver license.

There were no serious injuries reported.

Kauffman was taken to jail.

Man arrested in hit and run

A 30-year-old Tampa man was arrested Tuesday night for hitting a parked car at a Marathon hotel and then causing a disturbance at the pool bar.

Bryan Joseph Roeill was charged with hit and run, disorderly intoxication and resisting arrest.

The Sheriff’s Office received reports of a reckless driver on U.S. 1 at 9:22 p.m. Callers reported seeing a white, Dodge pickup truck with a ladder in the back. The callers said the truck was not staying in its lane or maintain its speed. Thereafter, Deputy William Daniels was dispatched to the Courtyard Marriott, 2146 Overseas Highway, at 9:40 p.m. reference a truck matching the denoscription that had just hit a parked car. Deputy Daniels arrived to find a witness who relayed the same information. The witness said he confronted the driver, later identified as Roeill, at the hotel pool bar. Roeill was disruptive while at the pool bar. Roeill threatened to beat up the witness.

Deputy Daniels then spoke to Roeill and asked for his name and identification. Roeill refused. Deputy Daniels made repeated requests and threatened to arrest Roeill if he declined further. Deputy Daniels and Deputy Edward Swogger then moved to handcuff Roeill. Roeill pulled away from them and resisted. Deputy Daniels fired his Taser when Roeill attempted to run away. Roeill was then taken into custody shortly thereafter.

Several witnesses at the pool bar stated Roeill was acting belligerent prior to the Sheriff’s Office arrival.

Roeill was taken to jail.

April 24, 2018

Man arrested for dumping boat

A 49-year-old man was arrested Monday for dumping an 18-foot boat on the side of 20th Street in Marathon.

Harry Elmer Lebo of Marathon was charged with illegal dumping and resisting arrest without violence.

Deputy Edward Swogger responded to 20th Street where he found two witnesses. The man and woman told Deputy Swogger they saw a man driving a forklift, later identified as Lebo, approached with a boat on the forks. The witnesses said the forklift operator dumped the boat on the shoulder of the roadway. When the witnesses asked why the boat was being dumped there, he replied, “This is not my property and it’s not my boat, so I don’t care.”

The witnesses were about to provide a detailed denoscription of the suspect. Deputy Swogger noted the boat was about 18-feet long and was miscellaneous trash and debris inside the hull.

Deputy Swogger located several forklifts near the area and further investigation led him to Lebo, who was positively identified by the two witnesses.

When Deputy Swogger and Deputy William Daniels went to arrest Lebo, he resisted by pulling away from the deputies.

He was taken to jail.

April 23, 2018

School security assessments beginning

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office and Monroe County School District will be conducting a security assessment at Sugarloaf School, 255 Crane Boulevard, Sugarloaf Key, beginning roughly 7 a.m. Tuesday and throughout the morning.

The assessment is being done in light of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act, which requires local law enforcement and school districts to evaluate and improve safety and security in Florida schools.

Students, parents, faculty and residents will see an increased law enforcement presence at Sugarloaf School and should not be alarmed.

Similar assessments will be conducted at each school in the district. Sugarloaf School is the first.

April 18, 2018

Man arrested for sexual harassment  

A 25-year-old Marathon man was arrested Tuesday for posting naked pictures of his ex-girlfriend on social media.

Alfred Theodore Kluge was charged with sexual cyber-harassment.

The victim told Deputy Amanda Coleman on April 16 that Kluge posted the pictures on Facebook and SnapChat. She did not give him permission to do so. The pictures were posted after Kluge saw her speaking to another man. She provided Deputy Coleman with copies of the pictures.

Kluge admitted posting the pictures in a text to the victim, which the victim also provided to Deputy Coleman. A warrant was issued for Kluge’s arrest.

Kluge was booked into jail on Tuesday.

April 17, 2018

President Trump’s visit to impact traffic

Sheriff Rick Ramsay is reminding motorists traveling between Naval Air Station Key West at Boca Chica Key and within Key West itself to expect traffic disruptions during President Trump’s visit Thursday.

The specific times and route the President will be taking between Boca Chica Field and Joint Interagency Task Force South in Key West are not available.

Sheriff Ramsay asks that residents give themselves extra time to travel and expect stops in traffic, re-routing of traffic and/or other similar measures during the President’s visit.

“We ask that people be patient as we hope the traffic impacts will be minimal,” Sheriff Ramsay said. “Safety is always our number one priority.”

Detectives make drug-related arrests

The Sheriff’s Office Special Operations Narcotics Unit arrested four people on Friday during a warrant sweep in the Hibiscus Park area in Key Largo after receiving complaints from residents about drug activity.

All those arrested on cocaine sales-related charges reside in Key Largo. They include:

• Henry Dewayne Clark, 42
• Anthony Earl Fuller, 48
• Dennis Earl Cooper, 35
• Kenneth Lavan Crawford, 51

A fifth suspect remains at large: Sherry Ann Cooper, 56, also of Key Largo. Anyone with information about her whereabouts is asked to call the Sheriff’s Office at 305-289-2510

The suspects were arrested after lengthy investigations into cocaine sales in the area.  

Anyone with information about these crimes 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

Man arrested in road rage incident

A 25-year-old Marathon man was arrested for throwing a metal Master Lock at a vehicle during a road rage incident on March 29 was arrested Tuesday.

Carlos Ariel Alvarez was charged with criminal mischief and throwing a deadly missile at a vehicle, building or aircraft.

The incident occurred after Alvarez and the victim left the Home Depot and both headed southbound on U.S. 1. What happened in the parking lot of the Home Depot that preceded the incident was not clear. The victim said Alvarez pulled up next to him and appeared to throw what appeared to be a rock. The object, later determined to be a lock, struck the side of his vehicle and left a dent.

The lock was found in the roadway and it had a rubber base. That rubber left some matching material on the victim’s vehicle.

Alvarez denied throwing anything. A passenger in the victim’s vehicle corroborated his story. Deputy Ian Douthirt contacted the State Attorney’s Office to review the case.

Alvarez was booked into jail on Tuesday.

Traffic to alternate on Niles Channel Bridge tonight into morning

Construction crews will be alternating traffic on U.S. 1 at the Nile Channel Bridge — the bridge between Summerland and Ramrod keys — from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m. tonight into Wednesday morning.

The northbound lanes on U.S. 1 will be closed and traffic will alternate via the southbound lanes as crews perform roadwork.

Please plan accordingly and be patient.

April 16, 2018

Man arrested for fleeing

A 43-year-old Islamorada man was arrested Sunday afternoon after fleeing from deputies on foot.

Thomas Henry McConnell was charged with flee/eluding police, resisting arrest without violence, driving with a suspended license, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

McConnell was spotted near Mile Marker 87. He was driving a Toyota pickup truck. Deputies knew McConnell from previous encounters with law enforcement. They also knew that he has a suspended license. Deputy Bryan Branco spotted the truck near Coral Shores High School shortly thereafter and got behind the suspect vehicle. Deputy Branco radioed Deputy Nicholas Thaler to inform him he was going to initiate a traffic stop. The truck turned off U.S. 1 near Mile Marker 83. Deputy Branco found the truck pulled over on the shoulder and the driver, identified as McConnell, out of the vehicle. Deputy Blanco began a traffic stop. McConnell looked at Deputy Blanco. McConnell fled on foot. Deputy Branco gave chase on foot.

Deputy Thaler and others took part in the search for about an hour when McConnell was spotted near the Postcard Inn. He was detained at that time. A small amount of marijuana and a pipe was found in the truck.

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


April 15, 2018

Five arrested in Marathon attack

Five men from Arizona were arrested early Sunday morning for beating up a co-worker, who required staples to his head. He also suffered injuries to his nose and jaw.  

Derek Polk, 37, Jacob Stanley, 31, Justin Mahsill, 26, Benny Cassa Jr., 34, and Curtis Stanley, 30, were all charged with aggravated battery causing bodily harm.

Middle Keys Deputy William Daniels was dispatched at 1:56 a.m. to the area of 37th Street in reference to a group of people beating up another person. He arrived to find the five suspects outside a trailer drinking beer. Deputy Daniels asked them what happened to the other male a few trailers away. They said he came over, grabbed one of them in a choke hold and pulled him off the steps for no reason. They provided no further detials.

Deputy Daniels then spoke to the 27-year-old victim. He told Deputy Daniels he approached the defednants to ask if anyone had a lighter and was then beaten up by the defendants. He left and went back to his trailer when the defendants entered through the back door and attacked him again. He stated he wished to press charges and was then taken to Fishermen’s Hospital.

Two witnesses gave the same account of what transpired. A third witness told Deputy Daniels the defendants chased him back to his vehicle and threw chairs at his vehicle when he arrived on scene.

Deputy Daniels observed blood and the defendants’ shoes and clothing.

All five men were taken to the Monroe County Detention Center on Stock Island.

April 14, 2018

Man arrested for flare gun, knife threats

A 47-year-old Marathon man was arrested Friday for threatening another man with a flare gun and a filet knife.

Rodger Doyle Green was charged with two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon without intent to kill and improper exhibition of a firearm.

Green went to an agency that serves the homeless on the 1600 block of Overseas Highway on Thursday night in reference to an employment opportunity. He had a disagreement with another man there and tried to fight with the man. He eventually left for the night. Green returned Friday morning with a flare gun in one hand and a filet knife in the other. He pointed the flare gun at the man and made threatening statements. The victim was able to retreat inside the building and another person on the property convinced Green to leave the area. There were no reported injuries.

Warrants were issued for Green’s arrest. He was spotted riding his bicycle later Friday evening whereupon he was arrested taken to the Stock Island jail.

April 12, 2018

Weekend traffic alert

— Seven Mile Bridge Run on Saturday, April 14th
— Cow Key Bridge Run on Sunday, April 15

• The Seven Mile Bridge Run will impact traffic both north and south for 2 1/2 hours at the bridge.

Travelers should plan to be across the bridge by 6:30 a.m. to avoid being stuck on one side or the other.

Traffic flow will resume at 9 a.m., but usually takes at least an hour after that to get back to normal flow.

Please plan any travel accordingly and please be patient during the traffic disruption.

• The Cow Key Channel Bridge Run will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Traffic may be slow during those times. Expect delays.

Juvenile arrested for battery

A 12-year-old girl who hit another juvenile in the head with a large rock was arrested Wednesday.

She was charged with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.

The incident occurred about 5 p.m. on April 1 in Marathon. The victim required stitches to his head. He was later taken to a Miami hospital due to other head injuries.

A family member took the victim to the Sheriff’s Office substation in Marathon on April 3. The victim told deputies the suspect was angry because she thought he was talking about her. She then threw a rock described as about the size of a football.

Warrants were obtained after further investigation whereupon the suspect admitted to throwing the rock. Other juvenile witnesses gave similar statements as to what transpired.  

Woman arrested for child abuse

A 54-year-old Big Pine Key woman was arrested on a child abuse charge Thursday.

Holly Maria Estes was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center on Stock Island.

The charge stems from an investigation that began on April 2 when a teacher at a Lower Keys elementary school notified the Sheriff’s Office one her students had significant bruising on multiple areas of their body, including a bruised eye and shoulder. The ongoing investigation included the Florida Department of Children and Families. In two instances, the victim told investigators Estes pulled hair as well as hit the victim on the back and buttocks. The victim was also thrown across a room, according to statements made in interviews with authorities.

Estes admitted to hitting the child on the buttocks, but denied hitting the child on the face.

Warrants were issued for Estes and she was arrested Thursday morning.

Woman arrested for animal abuse

A 56-year-old Big Pine Key woman who runs a pet grooming business out of her trailer was arrested Thursday for failing to properly care for a customer’s dog that later had to be euthanized.

Cynthia Lynn Hodakowski, who operates the business out of her home on the 30900 block of Nathalie Road, was charged with one count of animal cruelty.

A owner of a 6-year-old Airedale Terrier named “Mercy” took her dog to Hodakowski’s business on Oct. 16, 2017. When she went to pick the dog up, she noticed it was not able to walk or stand on its own, which was odd given it was usually very energetic. She later took it to a veterinarian. The veterinarian started an IV and began treating the dog for heatstroke. The dog’s condition deteriorated over the next two days and eventually the veterinarian recommended the dog be put down due to kidney failure as a result of heatstroke.  

The Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Keys Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals investigated. A second opinion by another veterinarian also stated the dog’s symptoms were likely due to heatstroke. A third veterinarian performed a necropsy. That veterinarian also agreed the dog likely died of heatstroke. He stated a dog being groomed in direct sunlight while wearing a muzzle would contribute to heatstroke.

Hodakowski told Lower Keys Det. David Cruz she grooms the dogs outside and did not have shade in the area due to tree damage from Hurricane Irma. Hodakowski told Det. Cruz the owner gave the dog a Benadryl previous to dropping it off at the business. The owner said she did give the dog Benadryl to calm it before leaving it at the business. She also told Deputy Cruz she put a muzzle on the dog  and that it appeared dehydrated.

The investigation and meetings with several veterinarians took several months. A warrant with a $25,000 bail was obtained Wednesday.

Hodakowski was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center on Thursday.

Man injured in truck accident

A man working on a truck suffered a head injury and a broken arm Thursday afternoon when a truck rolled over him and into a canal.

The Florida Highway Patrol will be the primary agency investigating the incident.

The incident occurred about 2 p.m. on Sebring Drive at Mile Marker 88, bayside. The man was airlifted to a Miami hospital. 

April 11, 2018

Crocodile spotted in Key Largo  

Upper Keys Deputy Jose Hernandez snapped the attached photos of this crocodile at the Largo and Vaca roads area near Mile Marker 106 about 5:45 a.m. Wednesday.

That area is near Lake Surprise and the Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge is close by as well. Sightings in the area are not uncommon.

The Sheriff’ Office notified the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, but the animal was gone when wildlife officers arrived, said FWC Bobby Dube.

The FWC is the primary wildlife response agency and they take the lead in most wildlife related calls.

The FWC reports that crocodile population numbers are on the rise. Keeping an eye on your small pets and children when outdoors in the area is always advisable.

More information about living with crocodiles can be found at

More information about the Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge can be found at

Illegal contractor arrested

A 31-year-old Marathon man was arrested Tuesday for larceny and fraud after taking money from a couple for repair work he never began.

Tison Lee Kennedy was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center for theft of about $5,423 from a Key Colony Beach couple.

The victims told Deputy Leon Bourcier they wrote four checks to Kennedy ranging from $800 to $1,875 in February to do some repair work to their home. Kennedy presented himself as a private contractor, but he is not a licensed contractor with the state of Florida. Two out of the three jobs the couple hired Kennedy to do required licenses.

Kennedy never began work or purchased materials for the jobs as of April, 6, the victims reported.

Man arrested in drug case

A 34-year-old Tavernier man was arrested Tuesday for selling prenoscription pills.

Jonathan Jason Mauthe was charged with selling Oxycodone pills, possession of drug paraphernalia, using a phone to facilitate a felony and theft.

Mauthe sold the pills on two occasions in February.

He was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center on Tuesday.

April 10, 2018

Detention Deputy arrested in domestic incident

A 34-year-old Monroe County Sheriff’s Office detention deputy assigned to the Stock Island jail was arrested Friday in Miami Gardens for slapping his ex-girlfriend.

Jatavi Wendall Lee of Miami was charged with misdemeanor battery and theft.

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office has opened an internal affairs investigation regarding the incident.

According to Miami Gardens Police, Lee was picking up a child he has in common with an ex-girlfriend from daycare. The former couple ran into one another. The victim was with her present boyfriend. Lee became upset and slapped the woman on the face. He then followed the victim and her new boyfriend to a gas station where he removed her license plate from her vehicle and threatened to shoot both of them. He did not display a firearm when making the threat.

A Miami Gardens Police officer contacted Lee whereupon he admitted to arguing with his ex-girlfriend. He also admitted to removing the license plate because he stated it belonged to him, but he denied hitting her or threatening to shoot anyone.

Lee was hired on Feb. 13, 2017. His salary is $50,210.

Man arrested for DUI near bar

A 30-year-old man was arrested Monday for DUI after causing a disturbance at a Key Largo bar and then attempting to drive away.

Joseph Dominic Figliuolo was charged with his third DUI in 10 years, refusal to submit to a breath test while his license was suspended for a previous refusal, driving with a suspended license, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Deputy Christopher Kilmurray was called to the Caribbean Club in Key Largo about after Figliuolo had reportedly been harassing female customers. Deputy Kilmurray arrived to find a pickup truck directly in front of the business and a man later identified as Figliuolo exiting the bar at the same time.  The deputy watched as Figliuolo opened the driver’s side door and get in the already running truck. Deputy Kilmurray could smell the odor of alcohol coming from Figliuolo. He slurred his words and his eyes were bloodshot. He admitted to having some marijuana and a pipe later found in his pocket.

An off-duty law enforcement officer told Deputy Kilmurray he saw Figliuolo acting belligerent in the bar by harassing women. The witness said he saw Figliuolo go outside, get in his truck, drive it from the parking lot to the circular driveway, get out while leaving the door open and return to the bar where he ordered another drink. The witness said Figliuolo then walked back outside to the already running truck with a drink in hand. Deputy Kilmurray stopped Figliuolo at that time.

Figliuolo was taken to the Monroe County Detention Center.

April 6, 2018

Woman arrested for theft

A 41-year-old Key Largo woman was arrested Thursday on fraud and theft charges.

Michele Lee Moser was charged with theft from a person 65-years-old or older, forgery, passing forged checks and illegal use of another person’s identification.

The incident began in January when the victim asked Moser to stay on his property in order to accept a package.  The man later received a bank statement reflecting he had cashed a check for $2,300. He noticed his checkbook was missing the same numbered check used in that transaction. He notified the Sheriff’s Office and stated he suspected Moser given she had access to his property.

Moser admitted to stealing, forging and cashing the check in an interview with Detective Paul Bean in March. Warrants were issued for her arrest and she was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center on Planation Key on Thursday on a $12,500 bail.

April 3, 2018

Catamaran reportedly found  

The $350,000 catamaran sailboat reported stolen last week from Newfound Harbor in the Lower Keys has reportedly been found in or near Cuba.

Multiple be-on-the-lookout alerts were sent out by sailing and boat groups via radio as well via social media, which led to reports that the vessel was spotted on March 31, 2018 after it reportedly tried to enter Marina Darsena Varadero located on the north coast of Cuba at Veradero, Matanzas. The alleged occupant or occupants of the 2009, 40-foot Admiral Catamaran sailboat named “Kaisosi” reportedly had no vessel papers or passports and were turned away.

The Coast Guard Investigative Service and Sheriff’s Office were still working Tuesday to verify those reports as well as determining for sure where the vessel is currently located, including any persons who may have been on board at the time it was reportedly spotted.  

The catamaran was last in the Florida Keys by a Little Palm Island employee who saw it traveling west toward Key West on March 30, 2018 with its sails down. It’s owner had anchored it between Picnic Island and the southern point of Little Torch Key.

April 1, 2018

Islamorada firefighter arrested for battery

A 33-year-old Islamorada Fire Rescue firefigther was arrested early Sunday morning after hitting a man in the face with a glass mason jar during a fight.

Lester Robert Young of Key Largo was charged with aggravated battery.

Deputies Christopher Kilmurray and Orlando Alvarez were on patrol near Morada Bay Beach Café, 81600 Overseas Highway, about 1 a.m. when a person approached them to report a fight. They found a man on the ground. They recognized the man on the ground as the same man who had been escorted out earlier for causing a disturbance. There was blood coming out of his mouth, cheeks, eyes and forehead. The injured man was eventually flown to Ryder Truama Center in Miami.

Several security guards were ordering Young to get on the ground when Deputy Kilmurray placed him in handcuffs.

Witnesses told Deputy Kilmurray they saw Young hit the man in the face with a mason jar as well as with his fists.

Young told Deputy Kilmurray he hit the man after the man groped/and or made unwanted advances on his wife.

Young was taken to the Monroe County Detention Center.

Miami man cited for harvesting protected shark

A 63-year-old Miami man who was found in possession of a Lemon shark was cited Saturday for harvesting the protected species.

Jose Medina was given a notice to appear in court.

Upper Keys Deputy Nelson Sanchez made a traffic stop in Islamorada about 4 p.m. and noticed fishing rods in the car. The driver and passenger said they had been fishing near the Indian Key Fill at Mile Marker 78. The driver showed Deputy Sanchez a cooler containing some snappers. Deputy Sanchez inquired about a larger cooler and Medina responded that it was “only a shark.” Deputy Sanchez opened the larger cooler and found a cleaned shark. Deputy Sanchez saw that it could be a Lemon shark, which is a protected species. Deputy Sanchez asked those in the car if they had any photos of the shark on their phones, which Medina provided. The photos confirmed the shark was a Lemon shark. Medina also confirmed it was a Lemon shark, adding he is a spearfisherman and famliar with the species.

Medina said he found the shark on the shoreline and didn’t want it to go to waste. It is illegal to harvest Lemon sharks in Florida state waters.

He was cited and the shark was seized.