Monroe County Sheriff’s Office
Daily Crime and Information Report

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


May 31, 2000

Reports of Water Testing scam investigated. Calls were from a legitimate business.

(Reference Sheriff's Office daily report, dated May 19th, 2000, "Residents warned of water testing scam")

Monroe County - The Sheriff's Office has learned that calls received by a number of Marathon residents about water testing were legitimate sales calls by a solicitation company hired by a business that sells equipment that they say filters and softens residential drinking water.

According to Detective Sgt. Tom Brazil, the company calls homeowners and offers to come to their home and test their water. During the call, they offer $500 worth of grocery coupons or other benefits in return for being allowed to perform the test. After performing the test, they then make an effort to sell their water system based on the test results.

"I feel the confusion occurred because this solicitation company could not always answer the questions asked by the people they called, and because of this, they occasionally sounded evasive on the phone. This made people suspicious that it might be a scam," said Detective Sgt. Brazil.

"The Sheriff's Office always cautions people about giving out personal information over the phone, and about allowing strangers into their homes. This caution still stands. If you don't know who you are talking to, whether it be on the phone or on your doorstep, be very cautious in your dealings with them," said Crime Watch Coordinator Deputy Emil LaVache.

Here are some rules governing telemarketing companies and how they must operate:

1. It's illegal for a telemarketer to call you if you've asked not to be called.

2. Calling times are restricted to the hours between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m.

3. Telemarketers must tell you it's a sales call and who is doing the selling before they make their pitch.

4. If it's a prize promotion, they must tell you that no purchase is necessary to enter or win.

5. It is illegal to misrepresent any information, including facts about the goods or services, earnings potential, profitability, risk or liquidity of an investment, or the nature of a prize in a prize promotion scheme.

6. Before you pay, telemarketers must tell you the total cost of the products or services and any restrictions on getting or using them, or whether a sale is final or nonrefundable.

7. In a prize promotion, they must tell you the odds of winning, that no purchase is necessary to win, and any restrictions or conditions of receiving the prize.

Robber caught trying to catch a bus

Key Largo – A man who robbed an upper Keys hotel restaurant Tuesday was arrested that same evening as he tried to catch a bus northbound.

Detective Adrian Youngblood says 31 year old Ray Elliot Lee was trying to return home to Homestead, Florida when he was apprehended. The Sheriff’s Office had information he might be there and had the area  around the Greyhound bus stop at the 102 mile marker of highway U.S. One staked out.

Lee actually helped detectives in his own capture. Just before robbing the restaurant at the Howard Johnson’s hotel in Key Largo, he asked the restaurant cashier for the location of the Greyhound bus stop, which is in the hotel’s lobby. He walked to the hotel front desk to check on the status of a bus ticket someone in South Carolina was supposed to purchase for him. He gave the front desk clerk his name, checked on the ticket, then walked back into the restaurant. When he saw the cashier counting money behind the register, he reportedly leaned over the counter and told the cashier “You’ve been robbed.” He had his hand under his shirt and indicated he had a weapon.

After walking out of the restaurant with the money, he was seen getting in to a grayish green four-door vehicle with a black woman driving. Detectives got Lee’s name from the front desk clerk. They were also able to identify the woman driver and later interviewed her. She said she drove Lee to Hibiscus Park at the 101.5-mile marker of the Highway. A search of the area failed to turn up the suspect. Detectives do not believe the woman was an accomplice in the crime.

Detectives knew Lee was trying to return to Homestead by bus, so they staked out the area around the bus station. Just before 8 p.m., he arrived at the Howard Johnson’s front desk to ask again about his ticket. He then left the lobby and went to a nearby convenience store. The clerk immediately called the Sheriff’s Office. Deputies took Lee into custody at the store at 9:15 p.m. He was charged with armed robbery and booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

Lee admitted to committing the crime. He said he used some of the money to buy drugs and lost the rest of it when he was fleeing through a wooded area in Hibiscus Park to escape apprehension by the officers who were searching for him.

Man arrested for violating vacation rental ordinance – for the second time.

Cudjoe Key – A Titusville, Florida man was arrested – for the second time – for violating Monroe County’s vacation rental ordinance.

63-year-old Oscar Dean  Madison is also accused of conspiring with his renter to obstruct a law enforcement officer.

According to Detective Donald Catala, Madison rented his home at 23097 Sailfish Lane to a man from Longwood, Florida from April 21 to April 30th, 2000. When the renter was confronted by Detective Catala, he said Madison charged him $2,000.00 for the nine-day stay at the house. Madison told him about the vacation rental ordinance and instructed him to tell any law enforcement officer who asked that the money was a down payment to purchase the house.

A warrant was issued for Madison’s arrest for obstruction and violating the rental ordinance. Today (Wednesday), Detective Catala was notified by Monroe County Code Enforcement that Madison was in the Florida Keys, at his Cudjoe Key residence. Deputy David Chavka took him into custody and charged him with the warrant. He was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center, where he is being held on a $5,000.00 bond.

Madison’s first arrest took place on April 1st of this year under similar circumstances. In that case, he also instructed his renter to tell law enforcement officers the $2,000.00 he paid for a ten day stay was a down-payment to purchase the house. On that occasion he was charged with violating the rental ordinance. An obstruction charge may be pending in that case as well.

Training offered for Child Passenger Safety Technician

Monroe County - Interested in Child Passenger Safety? Want to be a Nationally Trained Technician?   Come to the first four-day child car seat class to be held in Monroe County on June 19-22, 2000.  The class will be held at the Hampton Inn 1688 Overseas Hwy. Marathon, Fl.   The cost of the training is free.  RSVP to Sgt. Roy Bogue at (305)852-3211 or  Deadline for registration is June 16, 2000.

May 24, 2000

25 crack rocks seized in drug bust

 Following an investigation into drug dealing at a Stock Island Trailer Park, members of the Special Operations Unit of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office arrested 64-year old Juan Cremade on charges of  possession of a controlled substance.

Cremade was taken into custody Tuesday afternoon at his residence at C-9 Coral Isle Trailer Park.  A search of the trailer produced 25 large rocks of crack cocaine with a street value of over $1,200. 

The investigation was prompted by citizen complaints about drug dealing at Cremade’s trailer.  Cremade was booked into the county detention center on Stock Island.

 May 22, 2000

 Deputies target Memorial Day Weekend traffic

All Monroe County Special Traffic Enforcement Units will be assigned to monitor traffic flow this Memorial Day Weekend in the Florida Keys.  The traffic deputies will be assigned to the Upper Keys area on Friday afternoon and evening (May 26) when heavy southbound traffic is anticipated as visitors pour into the Keys for the holiday weekend.  Traffic Deputies will return to the Upper Keys in force on Monday afternoon as visitors leave the Keys to return home from the holiday weekend.   The Sheriff’s Traffic Units and road patrol deputies will be on the lookout for reckless drivers, speeders and especially for impaired drivers. 

Sexual Predator Notification

As required by state law, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office is releasing information about a sexual predator who is living and working in the Key West area.   The Florida Department of Law Enforcement says that Jose Pino (alias Jose Corrida Pina) is residing at 412 Truman Avenue in Key West and works at Royal Canvas, 5950 Maloney Avenue on Stock Island.  Pino is a 29-year old white male, five foot eleven, 140 lbs., black hair and hazel eyes.  Pino was convicted of lewd and lascivious acts on a child under the age of 16 and sexual battery on a child.  For further information, contact the Florida Department of Law Enforcement at 1-888-357-7332.

Tavernier man arrested on molestation charges

A 62-year old Tavernier man is under arrest for molesting a ten-year-old girl.  Monroe County Sheriff’s detectives arrested Roberto Pla Friday at his residence following an investigation of allegations that Pla had molested a girl who was under his care while the parents were out of town.  During an interview, Pla admitted touching the girl’s genital area.  Detectives also interviewed the victim.  Detectives obtained a warrant charging Pla with lewd and lascivious molestation on a child.  Pla was booked into the Plantation Key jail.   His bond is set at 25 thousand dollars.

May 19, 2000

Keys businesses warned about check writing scam 

Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Crime Prevention Officer, Deputy Hugh Gibson, is warning Keys businessmen about a check writing scam.  The suspect, identified as 33-year old Kenneth Lee Cunningham, is using a laptop computer to print up bogus checks and is using them to purchase goods at businesses.  Cunningham usually shows up near closing time at the business in order to avoid close scrutiny of the checks.  Businesses in the Key Largo and Marathon areas have already been victimized.

Cunningham is a white male, six feet tall, weighing 147 pounds.  He has blue eyes, brown hair and wears glasses.  He could be traveling in a stolen 1993 Mercury Villager mini-van.  He may also have minor children with him.

Anyone with information should call the Sheriff’s Office at Plantation key 853-3211, Marathon 289-2430 or Key West at 296-2424.  Anonymous tips can be made to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-346-TIPS.  Crime Stoppers pays cash for information leading to an arrest.

 Traffic Stop yields drug arrest and seizure of a machine gun

 Monroe County Sheriff’s Deputies Thursday afternoon arrested 41-year old Rolando Rodriguez, of Miami, on drug trafficking and weapons charges following a traffic stop in the Marathon area.

The Sheriff’s Office received a tip that Rodriguez had made a drug deal in the Key West area and was headed north in a white Cadillac.  The tipster also stated that Rodriquez had drugs and cash in the car.  An alert was put out to all law enforcement agencies.  A Marine Patrol Officer spotted the suspect’s car near the seven-mile bridge and notified the Sheriff’s Office.  Sheriff’s Deputies located the suspect car and made a traffic stop when the driver speeded through a 35 mile per hour zone.

Rodriguez consented to a search of his car.  Deputies found one-half of a kilo of cocaine with a street value of over forty thousand dollars in a plastic bag, $1,992 cash and a fully loaded nine-millimeter machine gun.

Rodriguez was arrested on charges of drug trafficking while armed with a machine gun.  He was taken to the jail in Marathon. His car was also seized for possible forfeiture.

The case was worked by Sheriff’s Deputies, Detectives of the Special Operations Division of the Sheriff’s Office with assistance from the Florida Marine Patrol and the U.S. Border Patrol.

Residents warned of water testing scam

The Sheriff’s Office has received a report of a scam involving water testing and the offer of free groceries.  Monroe County Crime Watch Officer, Deputy Emil LaVache, feels the suspects are likely trying to use the offer as a way to get inside residents houses.  An elderly Marathon woman who stated that she received a telephone call from a female stating that she would be eligible to receive 500 dollars in free groceries if she allowed her water system to be tested filed the report received by the Sheriff’s Office on May 17.  The elderly woman at first agreed, but when a man showed up at the residence to conduct the test, she had second thoughts and refused to let him in.  Shortly afterwards, she received a call from a man claiming to be a “supervisor.”  She told the man she wasn’t interested anymore and would contact the water company. The man abruptly ended the conversation.

Deputy LaVache said the likely object of the scam is to get inside the house in order to case the contents for possible burglary or to attempt to scam money from the residents.

Deputy LaVache warns residents to verify the credentials of anyone before allowing that person into the house. 

Anyone with further information about this case should call the Sheriff’s Office in Marathon at 289-2430 or call the toll free line at 1-800-273-COPS.


May 16, 2000

Search Warrant leads to arrests for cocaine trafficking

Marathon – A Marathon couple is under arrest today charged with trafficking in cocaine. Detectives seized 1 Kilos of cocaine and over $8,000 cash at their home on 95th Street in Marathon.

Detectives from the Sheriff’s Special Investigations Division served a search warrant at 288 95th Street Ocean at 8:45 a.m. today (Tuesday). In the house, they found 57 grams of Marijuana in the refrigerator crisper drawer. Further search revealed 1 Kilos of cocaine – 1,783 grams - buried about 18 inches deep in the back yard, under a potted plant. Total street value of the cocaine is $148,000.00.

In addition, various items of drug paraphernalia were found in the house, including a white powder used as a cutting agent for the cocaine. Detectives seized $8,520 in cash from the couple’s bedroom.

28 year old Ivan and 24 year old Daymis Aldama were both arrested. They were charged with trafficking in cocaine, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. Their 22 month old child was turned over to the custody of relatives.

Assisting in the service of the warrant were two Florida Highway Patrol K9 teams and the detectives from the HIDTA Group out of Marathon.

It pays to report crimes

Upper Keys – A Key Largo man who recently reported a theft to the Sheriff’s Office quickly received his stolen property back. The property, recovered almost a month ago, was sitting in the Sheriff’s property division waiting to be claimed.

Detective Sgt. Corey Bryan was working an off-duty detail last week when he was approached by a man who said his shed had been broken into a few weeks before. He wanted to know if Sgt. Bryan thought he should report it. Of course, the sergeant told him he should definitely report the crime as soon as possible.

It turned out that the items stolen from the victim – including fishing gear, a bike, spear guns and a chain saw – were all recovered April 18th when deputies stopped a car driven by two burglars. Since that time, the items had been sitting in the Sheriff’s Office property room waiting to be claimed. The Sheriff’s Office just didn’t know who they belonged to.

“People should report all crimes – big or small. You just never know when a relatively minor theft might be part of a bigger crime spree, or when we might have already recovered property from the crime, as in this case,” said Deputy Becky Herrin, Public Information Officer for the Sheriff’s Office.

All of the stolen items were returned to the owner and detectives will be investigating the possibility of bringing more criminal charges against the defendants, 27-year-old Javier Govin and 43-year-old Lazzaro Rodriguez of Miami.

Govin and Rodriguez were arrested April 18th after witnesses spotted them breaking into a vehicle on Bonito Lane in Key Largo April 18th. The witnesses reported the crime to the Sheriff’s Office and the two men were stopped on the highway as they fled northbound in their van. A large amount of stolen property was recovered from their van.

Since then, almost all of the property has been matched up with owners who reported home and automobile thefts in the Key Largo area. The defendants are both still in jail. They have been charged, so far, with five counts of burglary and five counts of grand theft.

May 15, 2000

Detectives looking for information on Road Rage incident

Key Largo – Detectives are looking for anyone who might have seen the road rage incident that occurred in April on the 18-mile stretch.

Detective Sergeant Corey Bryant is asking for witnesses who saw the incident to come forward. The incident occurred April 15th at 4 p.m. near the boat ramp at the 111-mile marker of Highway U.S. One. A traffic incident led to an aggravated assault. One man pulled a gun on another man, threatening to kill him. A Fort Lauderdale man was arrested and charged with the assault.

Anyone who has information about this case should call Sgt. Bryan immediately at 853-3211. You may also e-mail the information to him at Callers who wish to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. If the tip is accurate, the caller may be eligible for a reward. The Crime Stoppers hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS.

Man charged with holding woman against her will

Tavernier - A Tavernier man was arrested Friday evening and charged with locking his wife in their trailer and threatening her with a knife.

Deputy Sever Hustad arrested 58-year-old Daniel Jewell for aggravated domestic battery and false imprisonment. According to the victim, Jewell locked her in their trailer for 48 hours by putting a padlock on the front door. He also allegedly put a pillow over her mouth to keep her from screaming and held a knife to her throat and threatened to kill her.

Deputies discovered the padlocked door after a man reported the incident to them at 7:45 p.m. He said he knew the woman was being held against her will, but did not want to get directly involved in the investigation. When the officers knocked on the door, Jewell answered from inside. They asked about his wife and Jewell said she was fine. Then a woman screamed for help from inside the trailer.

Fearing for the woman’s safety, the deputies told Jewell they would kick in the door if he didn’t answer it. He finally opened the door and was taken into custody. Jewell denied holding his wife against her will, but admitted to getting into an argument with her and said he’d grabbed her by the throat during the argument.

Jewell is still in jail (as of 11 a.m. Monday), being held on a $45,000.00 bond.

May 10, 2000

Sea Ray boat.jpg (17067 bytes)

Click on the above thumbnail to see a photo 
similar in appearance to the boat stolen from Marathon

Detectives searching for stolen boat

Marathon – Sheriff’s detectives are asking for the public’s help locating a stolen boat.

The boat is a 1991 31 foot white runabout with a blue striping made by Sea Ray Boats, Inc. and it is equipped with twin inboard engines. The boat has a large color picture of a dolphin fish leaping out of the water on the back and is valued at approximately $70,000.00.

The owner, 43-year-old Martin Guarino of Marathon, told Deputy Tony Pabon he last saw the boat on April 17th. He said it disappeared sometime between that day and May 4th, when he noticed it was gone from the canal behind his house on Allyn Place in Marathon.

Detective Mike Langston is investigating the case. He would like anyone with any information about the stolen vessel to contact him immediately at the Key Vaca Substation, 289-2430. Callers who wish to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. If a tip leads to an arrest in a felony case, the caller will be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.00. The Crime Stoppers hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS.

Search warrant leads to three drug arrests

Key Largo – Detectives from the Special Investigations Division arrested three people after serving a search warrant at a residence on King Avenue in Key Largo Tuesday.

After receiving complaints from residents of the neighborhood, the Special Investigations division began an investigation into possible drug transactions taking place at 232 King Avenue in the Taylor Creek Village subdivision near the 105-mile marker of highway U.S. One.

A search warrant was served at that home Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. When detectives entered the residence, they found 51 year old Diane Kay Gross sitting in the living room. In her lap were 22 bags of cocaine, weighing a total of approximately 20 grams.

Her roommate, 41-year-old Jamie Key Haley, had a small amount of cocaine in her bedroom, along with several items of drug paraphernalia.

There was a man visiting the house. 33-year-old Michael Tognaci told detectives he likes to visit the residence to relax and read his bible. When the detectives searched Tognaci’s car, they found cocaine and drug paraphernalia inside.

All three people were arrested and booked into the Monroe County jail. Gross was charged with possession of cocaine with intent to distribute. Haley and Tognaci were charged with possession of cocaine and drug paraphernalia.

May 8, 2000

Stock Island man reports attempted carjacking

Stock Island – A Stock Island man reported two men tried to carjack him Sunday night as he left his job at a local gas station.

The victim called the Sheriff’s Office at 11:30 p.m. Sgt. Ronnie Roberts responded to the man’s home on Stock Island to take a report of the incident. The victim told the Sergeant he was in his car, leaving work at the Key Haven Texaco Station at 11:20 p.m. when two men walked up to his car. He said both men covered their faces and pointed handguns at him through the windows of the car demanding that he open his door.

He sped off and went home, then called the Sheriff’s Office. Detectives will be investigating.

Man charged with two counts of burglary

Stock Island - Detectives arrested a Key West man Friday for breaking in to two Big Coppitt homes, stealing several items, then pawning them in local pawnshops.

Investigations revealed that several items stolen in the burglaries had been pawned at a pawnshop in Key West. Detectives Scott Robinson and Ben Lowe discovered that Michael Fisher had pawned those items, so they brought him in to the Criminal Investigations Division for questioning.

Fisher admitted to breaking in to a home on Palmetto Drive and another home on Avenue F, Big Coppitt Key. He said he took a television set, two VCRs and a microwave oven. He said he pawned the items and used the cash to buy crack cocaine.

He was arrested, charged with two counts of burglary and two counts of dealing in stolen property and he was booked in to the Monroe County Detention Center.

Marathon man charged with possessing cocaine

Marathon – Deputies arrested a Marathon man for possessing crack cocaine Sunday just before 1 a.m.

Deputy Chuck Kellenberger was on patrol in the area of 41st Street when he saw 27-year-old Louis Terracina riding his bike, leaving an apartment complex on the street. The owner of the apartments has submitted a written request to the Sheriff’s Office that anyone spotted on her property be stopped and identified because of drug dealing going on in the area.

The deputy stopped Terracina and noticed a bulge in one of his socks. When the deputy asked Terracina what was in his sock, Terracina began to act very nervous. When the deputy attempted to search him for possible weapons, Terracina began to shake.

Deputy Kellenberger reached into the sock and pulled out a plastic bag with what appeared to be crack cocaine inside. At that point, Terracina tried to run away. The deputy attempted to take him in to custody and Terracina struggled with him. Deputy Kellenberger finally had to use his pepper spray to subdue Terracina, who was arrested and charged with possession of 7 crack rocks and with resisting arrest with violence.

Terracina was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

Two Key West residents charged with marijuana possession

Marathon – Two Key West residents were arrested for possessing marijuana after a traffic stop in Marathon early today (Monday).

Deputy Kin Parks was on routine patrol when she stopped a van for speeding just after 4 a.m. Monday. When she checked the driver’s identification, she discovered he had a learner’s permit from Alabama that required he only drive a vehicle with a licensed driver in the passenger seat. A check on the passenger in the van revealed he had a suspended license in Florida.

Deputy Chuck Kellenberger arrived on the scene as back up. He did a pat down search of the passenger, 23-year-old Orion Prout. He found 9 grams of marijuana in Prout’s pocket. The deputies received consent to search the van. Inside, they found a bag containing 1,127 grams of marijuana in 14 separate packages.

The passenger, Orion, and the driver, 26 year old James Hudnut were both arrested and charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute. Orion was further charged with misdemeanor possession of marijuana. Both men were booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

The marijuana seized during the incident has an estimated street value of $5,000.00.

Date: May 5, 2000

Tavernier man caught in possession of over $40,000 worth of cocaine

Tavernier – Detectives from the Special Investigations Division of the Sheriff’s Office seized almost $50,000 worth of cocaine yesterday and arrested a Tavernier man for possessing the illegal drug.

An undercover operation led to the arrest of 31 year old Leonardo Perez Thursday. He was picked up on a traffic stop a block away from his home in Tavernier. Detectives had an outstanding warrant for him for sale of cocaine, and a search warrant for his home at 115 Indian Avenue.

Perez had 30 grams of cocaine with him when he was stopped while driving his 1991 Ford GMC van. The van was seized for possible forfeiture. A search of his home turned up another 415 grams of cocaine and $6,000.00 in cash, which was also seized.

The cocaine was in large chunks and was virtually uncut, which makes it more valuable than the powdered cocaine commonly sold on the street. Cocaine available on the street has usually been cut numerous times with various chemical agents and costs between $40 and $60 per gram. The cocaine seized from Perez is estimated to be worth more than $100.00 per gram, for a total value of at least $45,000.00.

In addition to the sale of cocaine charge, Perez was charged with trafficking in cocaine and he was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

Florida City man charged with stealing boat

Key Largo - A Florida City man who stopped to ask a deputy for directions was subsequently arrested and charged with stealing a boat and trailer Thursday.

Deputy Tim Hurd was on a call in Key Largo just before 8 p.m. when a van pulling a boat on a trailer pulled up to him. The driver, later identified as 24-year-old Ariel Rufin, asked him for directions to an auto parts store. As Rufin pulled away, Deputy Hurd noticed his rear trailer lights weren’t working.

After the deputy cleared the call he was on, he was on patrol when he spotted the van pulling the boat and trailer again. He noticed that, in addition to the lights not working, the trailer had no license tag in evidence, so he pulled the vehicle over.

Rufin could not produce any registration information for the boat or trailer. He claimed his cousin sent him to the Keys to pick the boat up from Caloosa Campground. He could not, however, give Deputy Hurd his cousin’s full name, or a contact number for the cousin.

Deputy Sean Heffron responded as back up. He went to Caloosa Campground to further investigate Rufin’s claims. Deputy Heffron found the owner of the boat, Abelardo Silva, at the campground. Silva told the deputy no one had permission to have his boat and trailer.

Rufin was arrested, charged with grand theft, and he was taken to the Monroe County Detention Center.

Two students charged with making bomb threats at school

Marathon – Two Marathon High School students have been arrested and charged with making false bomb threats to the school.

Detective Mike Langston arrested 16 year old Tristan Benshelter and 15 year old Billy Siegal today, charging each of them with making false bomb threats at a state owned facility and being a principle in the first degree to the same crime. Benshelter allegedly called in a threat to the school April 13th at 8:01 a.m. from a pay phone near the K-Mart department store in Marathon. Those people who were already at the school – mostly employees – were evacuated and the school was searched for a device. Nothing was found.

The following day, at 7:23 a.m., Siegal allegedly called and made a similar threat from a pay phone near the Dion’s Quik Mart on 15th Street. An employee in the office received the call. When Siegal told her there was a bomb at the school, she replied, “Uh-huh.” Later that morning, as she was walking in the school hallway, Siegal and Benshelter walked by her. As they passed her, she heard Benshelter say, “Uh-huh.” She turned to look at him, and the two boys were watching her, apparently waiting to see what her reaction would be. She reported this incident to the Sheriff’s Office, along with her suspicions that the boys may have had something to do with the threats.

Marathon detectives were assigned to investigate. When they questioned Siegal, he admitted that he and Benshelter had committed the crime. Both boys were arrested and booked at the Monroe County Detention Center. They’ll be turned over to the Department of Juvenile Justice.

State law provides that, in a case of bomb threats being made at a state-owned facility, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement will pay a reward of $5,000.00 to anyone who gives information that leads to the arrest of the perpetrators. Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys also offers a reward of up to $1,000.00 for information leading to an arrest in any felony crime. The Crime Stoppers hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS.


May 3, 2000

Marathon man charged with trafficking in cocaine

Marathon – A search warrant, served by detectives from the Special Investigations Division of the Sheriff’s Office, resulted in the arrest of a Marathon man today for trafficking in cocaine.

The search warrant was obtained after the Sheriff’s Office received complaints about possible drug dealing at 11405 3rd Avenue Ocean in Marathon. The warrant was served at 8 a.m. today (Wednesday) at that location. 42-year-old Habib Caram was sleeping in bed at the time and had a loaded gun nearby.

A search of the premises turned up 58 grams of powdered cocaine in 14 separate packages, all located in a kitchen cabinet. The cocaine has an estimated street value of $3,400.00. Caram also had numerous items of drug paraphernalia in the house.

He was arrested and charged with trafficking in cocaine and possession of paraphernalia. He was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.

Community Projects planned

Upper Keys - The Sheriff's Office and Monroe County Code Enforcement will be working together in numerous upper Keys subdivisions in the near future to identify and address various code violations including illegal structures, yard debris and abandoned vehicles.

This notice is an advance warning, and could be the last opportunity for people to avoid possible penalties by ridding themselves of anything that might constitute a violation now.

The first two subdivisions to be targeted will be Sexton Cove and Lake Surprise May 12th and 13th. Other subdivisions will follow. This project is being coordinated by Sheriff’s Office Zone Commander Sgt. Donnie Fanelli.

The Sheriff’s Office is committed to ensuring the quality of life of all Monroe County citizens. We would appreciate your participation and cooperation in this effort.