Monroe County Sheriff’s Office
Daily Crime and Information Report

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


June 21, 2000

Search warrant leads to drug arrests

Key Largo – A Key Largo man was arrested and four other people were given notices to appear in court after a search warrant turned up cocaine, marijuana and drug paraphernalia at their house on Plantation Road.

The Sheriff’s Special Investigations Division received information that drugs were being dealt from the house, located at 921 Plantation Road in Key Largo. A search warrant was obtained and was served this morning (Wednesday) at 7:30 a.m. When detectives entered the house, they found 22 year old Steven Bennett, Jr. in his bedroom with a 17-year-old girl. In the room, they found marijuana, cocaine and drug paraphernalia. In the girl’s car, which was parked outside, they found more marijuana. Bennett was arrested and the girl was issued a notice to appear in court.

A further search turned up marijuana and drug paraphernalia in two other bedrooms of the house, including one belonging to Bennett’s parents, 48-year-old Steven Bennett, Sr. and 49 year old Charlene Bennett. A 17-year-old boy was in the other bedroom. All three were issued notices to appear in court.

Bennett, Jr. was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

June 15, 2000

Detectives arrest three on trafficking charges; seize $41,000 worth of cocaine

Stock Island – Detectives from the Special Investigations Division arrested three men on charges of trafficking in cocaine today. They also seized $41,000 worth of cocaine and $9,000 cash.

The arrests were the result of a joint undercover investigation conducted over the past few months by the Sheriff’s Special Investigations Division and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assisting in the arrests was the Sheriff’s Office Special Weapons and Tactics Team.

At 10:30 a.m., a search warrant was served at H23 Miriam Street on Stock Island. 63-year-old Ramon Fernandez was arrested on four outstanding warrants for trafficking in cocaine. Total bond on the warrants was $600,000.00. A search of the residence turned up 41 ounces of cocaine – about 2 and a half pounds of the illegal drug. The street value of cocaine is approximately $1,000.00 per ounce, for a total value of $41,000.00. The cocaine, along with $9,000.00 cash, a 9 mm Beretta semi-automatic handgun and various items of drug paraphernalia, was found hidden in the ceiling, behind a light fixture. The cocaine was packaged in 92 half-ounce packages.

Fernandez was additionally charged with possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, possession of paraphernalia and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Two other men were picked up on outstanding warrants relating to the undercover investigation. 62-year-old Lazaro Padron was arrested at the Sea Lobster fish house on Stock Island at 12:30 p.m. for being a principle in the first degree to trafficking in cocaine. 54-year-old William Vasquez was arrested at his home on 5th Street Stock Island for four counts of trafficking in cocaine. The bond on those warrants was set at $100,000.00 for each count.

All three men are currently in the Monroe County Detention Center.

Detectives looking for help with business burglaries

Marathon – Detectives are investigating 14 burglaries or attempted burglaries at Marathon businesses over the past three weeks. They believe the burglaries are being committed by the same person or group of people.

Anyone who has information which might help crack these cases would be eligible for a reward from Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. Callers may remain anonymous and may receive up to $1,000.00 for information leading to an arrest. The Crime Stoppers Hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS.

The suspect or suspects use a crow bar or a similar type prying tool to force a door or window in the victimized businesses. They concentrate primarily on stealing cash, although they have in a couple of cases stolen fishing equipment. Nine businesses have either been burglarized, or evidence of an attempted break in has been found.

The World Class Angler has been the victim of a break in three times; The Dockside Lounge has been burglarized once and had one attempt; The Shellman has had two attempted break-ins; The Hurricane Restaurant has had one break in and one attempt; other businesses affected include the Cracked Conch Restaurant, Jeff’s Bait and Tackle, Shipwrecked by Design, Fish and Fun Boat Rentals and the Island Tiki Bar.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Sheriff’s Office immediately at 289-2430. Ask for the Detective Division.

Marathon man charged with insurance fraud

Marathon – A Marathon man who reported his boat stolen is wanted on charges of insurance fraud, and making a false report to the Sheriff’s Office.

Detectives are looking for 43-year-old Martin Guarino of Marathon. According to Detective Mike Langston, Guarino reported his 31 foot Sea Ray stolen May 4th. He said it had been taken from the canal behind his house on Allyn Place in Marathon sometime between April17th and May 4th.

Investigations later revealed that the boat was docked at a Marathon marina for a week in late April. Some repairs were done on it, then, on April 26th, three men arrived to pick the boat up. They told people at the Marina they were taking it to Fort Lauderdale.

The Sheriff’s Office issued a press release about the theft May 10th. Local radio stations and newspapers carried the story. One of the men told detectives he got nervous after hearing about the missing boat on the radio. He said Guarino asked he and two other men to take the boat to Fort Lauderdale and he agreed. He said at the time, he was not aware of Guarino’s intentions. Guarino reportedly told the men he wanted to put the boat in dry-dock so it would be safe during hurricane season. Guarino paid the men $1,000.00 to take the boat to Fort Lauderdale for him.

A caller to the Crime Stoppers hot line confirmed that information. An insurance investigator working on the case also received an anonymous tip giving information about the boat’s whereabouts.

Detectives found the boat in a storage yard in that area. It is now in the custody of Nation’s Bank. Guarino owed $40,000 to the bank for the boat.

After making the theft report to the Sheriff’s Office, Guarino also filed a claim with his insurance company, Royal and Sun Alliance Insurance Company. The boat is valued at $70,000.00.

A warrant for his arrest was signed by Judge Ruth Becker for Insurance Fraud, grand theft, filing a false police report. Detectives are looking for him. Anyone with information as to his whereabouts can call the Sheriff’s Office or the Crime Stoppers Hot line number. Callers may remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1000.00. The Crime Stoppers hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS.

Escapee from Guidance Clinic is found

Marathon – A prisoner who escaped from the Guidance Clinic in Marathon in May has been found.

Detective Bob Voss found 27 year old Manny Pamlie sleeping under a Marathon business just before 5 a.m. today (Thursday). Pamlie gave the detective several false names before he was identified.

Pamlie was charged with escape, resisting arrest and with a warrant for failure to appear in court because he missed a court date while he was at large. He was booked into the Monroe County jail.

Dead man’s body found floating off Key Colony Beach

Marathon – The body of a Deerfield Beach, Florida man was found floating in the waters off of Key Colony Beach Wednesday morning by the Florida Marine Patrol.

Sheriff’s detectives identified the man as 56-year-old Kelly Robinson. Robinson reportedly used to live in Marathon. He was in the Keys staying at the Anchorlight Motel.

He was last seen at 9 p.m. Tuesday at the Motel, walking toward a boat he had rented. He was found the following morning floating in the water, about 100 yards from his boat that was grounded on a sandbar.

There were no obvious signs of foul play. An autopsy will be done to determine the cause of his death.


June 13, 2000

Two men arrested by Special Investigations Detectives

Key Largo – Two upper Keys men were arrested Friday by Detectives from the Special Investigations Division.

22-year-old Aron Beaver of Key Largo was arrested near the 100-mile marker of the highway after he sold two pills with the street name “Rolls” to an undercover operative. “Rolls” is a mixture of cocaine, heroin and other drugs in a pill form. A search of his pockets also turned up marijuana. Beaver was charged with possession of narcotics and possession of marijuana.

Detectives also arrested 26-year-old Shayon Bryant at the 102.5-mile marker of the highway on an outstanding warrant for Aggravated Battery. Bryant allegedly participated in the beating of an upper Keys man in Hibiscus Park May 12th at 4 a.m. The victim sustained injuries to his face and upper body, including a broken nose and rib fractures. Three other men were also implicated in that attack.

During the course of his arrest, he fought with deputies, so he was charged with resisting arrest with violence. After his arrest, a search turned up the probable reason for his resistance: 60 crack cocaine rocks in his pocket. He was further charged with possession of cocaine with intent to distribute.

Both men were booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

June 12, 2000

Miami man charged with having sexual relations with young girl

Miami – A Miami man was arrested Friday for having sexual relations with a 15 year old Key West girl after meeting her over the internet.

According to detectives, 24 year old Ramon Marcado met the girl on the Internet in December of 1999. The two conversed electronically and over the phone for five months. During that time, the girl sent him her address and they exchanged photographs.

Marcado traveled to the Keys May 27th and contacted the girl. She agreed to meet with him and asked him to come to her house in Key West. He met her there, outside the house in a wooded area. Her mother caught them together and told him to leave her 15 year old daughter alone.

The girl contacted him later that night and told him she wanted to run away from home. He offered to help her, and told her he would pick her up and drive her to Miami. He picked her up outside her house at 3 a.m. They drove to Big Coppitt Key where he turned off the highway. He parked the car and they allegedly had sexual intercourse twice. He then told her to get out of the car, but she refused. He forced her out of the car, hitting and kicking her in the process. He then left the area, returning to Miami.

The girl called her mother for help. The incident was then reported to the Sheriff’s Office for investigation. Detective Chris Scott, a detective for the Sheriff’s Office Crimes Against Women and Children’s Unit, was assigned to the case.

On Friday, Detective Scott traveled to Miami. With the help of two investigators from Miami-Dade Police, she presented Marcado with a warrant to search his car. In the trunk, they found the girl’s backpack. They also seized his computer and will be checking it for further evidence.

Marcado was arrested and booked into the Miami-Dade Detention Center. He has been charged with Monroe County arrest warrants for two counts of Lewd and Lascivious Battery on a Minor, interference with custody and child abuse. He will be brought back to Monroe County to face those charges.

June 2, 2000

Search warrant leads to arrest

Key Largo – The Sheriff’s Special Investigations Division arrested a Key Largo woman after serving a search warrant at her home Wednesday morning.

47-year-old Jeanette Sarah Batten of 130 Gumbo Limbo Drive was charged with possessing cocaine, marijuana and drug paraphernalia after detectives found those illegal items in her home during the search. 16 grams of cocaine were found, along with a small amount of marijuana.

Her roommate, Jeffery Harrison, was issued a notice to appear in court after a small amount of marijuana was found in his room.

Detectives also seized $1,195.00 in cash from the home. Batten was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

June 1, 2000

Marathon man charged with molesting, raping children

Marathon – A Marathon man is in jail today, charged with repeatedly molesting and raping young girls.

The Sheriff’s Office Crimes Against Women and Children’s Unit arrested 38-year-old Charles Mierke, also known as Charles Reynolds, Wednesday after he admitted to the molestation accusations. One of the victims is 15, and Mierke has been molesting her for approximately four years; the other two victims are 11 years old.

The victims told detectives Mierke provided them with alcohol, showed them pornographic movies, fondled them, and exposed himself to them. Mierke also allegedly penetrated the 15-year-old victim on a number of occasions with his finger, and his penis.

Mierke has been charged with three counts of sexual battery, three counts of lewd acts on or before a child under 16 years of age, lewd and lascivious exhibition, lewd and lascivious molestation and contributing to the delinquency of a child.

Mierke is being held in the Monroe County Detention Center.

Child Safety Seat Inspection Checkpoint

Marathon - A Child Safety Seat Inspection Checkpoint will be held on June 22, 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.   At the Publix Supermarket in Marathon.

Child car seat checkpoints are an opportunity for people who transport children to get their car seats checked for proper installation.  The car seats are checked by certified child passenger safety technicians.  In studies conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly 80 percent of the child seats observed were misused in one or more ways.  In most cases, the car seats are not properly attached to the vehicle; in others, the seat is not appropriate for the child's size and/or the child is not buckled in the seat correctly.

When used properly, child car seats are 71% effective in reducing fatalities in children under the age of 5 and 69% effective in reducing  the need for hospitalization.  Unfortunately, parents and other caregivers too often consider child car seats inconvenient, out their financial reach or too difficult to install.

The checkpoint will be manned primarily by the graduates of the Child passenger safety course being held in Marathon June 19-22. The course is being offered free of charge by the Monroe County Community Traffic Safety Team.

Those attending the course will become nationally trained technicians in Child Passenger Safety. You must sign up by June 16th, 2000. Contact Sgt. Roy Bogue at (305)852-3211 or for more information.