Jan 24
Two arrested on drug charges

Detectives arrested two people on drug charges Saturday after a traffic stop in Marathon.

Detectives were on patrol at 5 p.m. when they saw a silver Chevrolet Malibu southbound on U.S. One near 55th Street. The driver was not wearing a seatbelt so a nearby marked patrol car driven by K-9 handler Danielle Malone responded and pulled the car over. Deputy Malone and her dog Tracer performed a check on the outside of the vehicle after it was stopped. The dog alerted on the car, indicating the presence of drugs inside.

A search turned up 19 grams of cocaine, packaged for sale, and 36 grams of marijuana also individually wrapped in smaller quantities, packaged as if for sale. Some of the drugs were found in a hidden compartment in an Aquanet hairspray can.

The driver, 26 year old Rebecca Wells of Big Pine Key and her passenger, 29 year old Aaron Lindsey of Big Pine Key were both arrested. They were charged with possession of cocaine with intent to sell, possession of marijuana with intent to sell and possession of drug paraphernalia. The car was seized for possible forfeiture, along with $431.00 in cash.

Jan 24
Man arrested for firing flare gun at another man

Two men who live on board boats in Boot Key Harbor got into a dispute just before 5 p.m. Saturday. In front of witnesses on neighboring boats, one of the men fired a flare gun at the other man as the dispute escalated.

The witnesses say the two men, whose boats are anchored about 50 feet apart, have had disputes in the past. They said on this occasion they began yelling at each other from their respective vessels. 58 year old Argelio Soto then picked up a flare gun, firing it at the victim.

Deputy Vince Weiner and officers from Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission went to Soto’s boat. Soto, who reportedly appeared to be intoxicated, told them the dispute was because he believes the victim came onto his boat earlier without permission. He admitted to firing the flare gun at the victim, and said if he’d had more flares he would have fired more times. He told Deputy Weiner he “is not afraid to kill”.

Soto was arrested and charged with aggravated assault with a weapon. He was booked into jail.

Jan 24
Marathon man charged with vehicle burglaries

A Marathon man was arrested Friday, charged with burglarizing three vehicles in Marathon in November and December.

Deputy Chuck Kellenberger investigated the cases. One of the vehicles was parked on Sombrero Boulevard. The Ford truck had a camper shell on the back. Between the night of November 23rd and the morning of the 24th, tools were stolen from the back of the truck. Two other vehicles – A Dodge Durango and a Ford van – were both burglarized between December 17th and the 20th. A socket set was stolen from the Durango and a GPS was stolen from the van.

Deputy Kellenberger checked pawn shops in Marathon to see if any items stolen in any of the burglaries had been pawned. He found the GPS stolen from the van pawned at Joe’s Pawn Shop. It had been pawned by 30 year old Timirau Conrado of Marathon.

Deputy Kellenberger confronted Conrado with the information about the pawned GPS being stolen in a vehicle burglary. Conrado admitted to stealing it from the vehicle. He also admitted to the two other vehicle burglaries.

Warrants were obtained for his arrest and on Friday, he was charged with three counts of burglary and three counts of theft. He was booked into jail.

Jan 24
Two arrested for using debit card without permission

A Big Pine Key couple was arrested Friday, charged with using a debit card belonging to a family member without permission.

28 year old Alesha Ratliff and 31 year old Scott Kennedy both admitted to taking a debit card belonging to Ratliff’s mother and grandmother and using it to obtain cash on numerous occasions. They also admitted to charging other items on the card. The victims reported the theft after noticing over $1,600 missing from their joint bank account.

Deputy Scott Ward responded to the report and investigated the case. After interviewing Ratliff and Kennedy, he placed them under arrest. The two were charged with grand theft, fraudulent use of a credit card, theft of a credit card and identity theft.

Jan 17
Drug drop program still in effect

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office would like to remind everyone about the ongoing drug disposal program offered at all our Sheriff’s Office Substations. The program has been an ongoing success. The Sheriff’s Office collected 185 pounds of various medications in the past six months of this year, from July 1 – December 31, 2013.

Proper disposal of prescription and over the counter medications is important. Flushing them down the toilet or sink can introduce dangerous and environmentally damaging substances into the water system; throwing them away in the trash can also introduce them into the environment, and you run the risk of them winding up in the wrong hands. The medications collected by the Sheriff’s Office are safely burned in the Sheriff’s Burn Unit.

County-wide, citizens may bring no-longer-needed prescription drugs and other over the counter medications in, or call and someone will pick the medications up for disposal.

People who call to have medications picked up can do so with no questions asked. The Sheriff’s Office goal is to dispose of the items properly, not to catch people with illegal pills.

· In the Upper Keys, medications will be accepted at the Plantation Key Substation Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. For pickup, call 305-853-3211 during office hours.

· In the Middle Keys, the Marathon Substation will accept any medications Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. For pickup, call 305-289-2430 during office hours.

· In the Lower Keys, citizens can drop off medications at the Freeman Substation on Cudjoe Key at the Sheriff’s Office headquarters building on Stock Island Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. or call 305-745-3184 for pickup.

Caution: people who are going to bring their medications in themselves need to make sure to keep prescriptions in the prescription bottle while transporting them in case they need to show proof the prescription is legitimately theirs.

Jan 17
Father and son charged in jail smuggling

A father and son were both arrested last Thursday, charged with conspiring to smuggle marijuana into the Monroe County Detention Center.

Sheriff’s Office Special Investigations detectives received information that current inmate 20 year old Jack Cantres asked his father to help him smuggle marijuana into the jail. According to the information, 36 year old Harrold Cantres would hide the marijuana in a trash can at the Miami Subs restaurant on North Roosevelt Boulevard. His son would then arrange to have someone else pick it up and smuggle it into the jail to him. Jack Cantres is currently serving time in jail on drug charges.

Detectives did surveillance of the restaurant on the day the drugs were to be dropped off. After Harrold Cantres left the restroom, they searched the trashcan, finding the Marijuana he hid there. Harrold Cantres was taken into custody and he admitted to knowing the drugs were going to be delivered to his son in the jail. He said he was “doing a favor for his son.” Harrold Cantres was also found to be in possession of a large amount of money in small bills – $1,178. The money was seized for possible forfeiture.

Harrold Cantres was charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute within 1000 feet of a public housing facility and with conspiring to smuggle contraband into a detention facility. Jack Cantres was charged with conspiring to smuggle contraband into a detention facility. Now both men are in the Monroe County Detention Center.

Jan 17
Big Pine man arrested with marijuana

A Big Pine Key man was arrested last Friday after he was stopped for not wearing a seat belt and a large amount of marijuana was found in his truck.

Detectives on patrol on Grassy Key Friday just before noon spotted a white truck on Guava Avenue. The driver was not wearing a seatbelt, so they pulled the truck over. As they were making contact with the driver, they could smell a strong odor of marijuana coming from inside the truck.

They called for an assist from a K-9 team. The team responded and during a K-9 search of the outside of the truck, the dog alerted indicating the presence of drugs inside. A search inside revealed a box containing a plastic bag filled with 235 grams of marijuana.

The search also turned up two different kinds of pills, identified as Alprazolam and Adderal. The driver, 27 year old James Wells of Big Pine Key, had a prescription for the Alprazolam but not for the Adderal.

Wells was arrested. He was charged with possessing a felony amount of marijuana and with possession of a controlled substance. He was booked into jail.

Jan 17
Drunk, armed man arrested on Big Pine Key

An intoxicated man who was openly carrying a handgun struggled with deputies and was arrested Tuesday on Big Pine Key.

Sheriff’s dispatchers received several calls reporting a man who appeared to be intoxicated who had a handgun visible in the waistband of his pants. Deputy Scott Ward responded to the location – the Ace Hardware store on Big Pine Key.

When he and Deputy Linda Kohout arrived, they found 45 year old Jeffrey Charron of Big Pine Key sitting on the ground in front of the business. He had a gun, visible, tucked in his pants. Deputy Ward ordered him to put his hands up and keep them in the air where he could see them. Charron instead began to lower one hand toward the gun. Deputy Kohout walked up to him and was able to grab his arm. Ward grabbed the other arm.

As they attempted to handcuff Charron, he struggled with them. A corrections officer who was riding with Deputy Kohout on patrol took safe control of the gun, a loaded Walther .380. Charron was taken into custody.

A number of witnesses said Charron was having trouble standing. At one point he reportedly went into the hardware store and sat on the floor. He was asked to leave and he went outside, where he was found by deputies.

Charron was charged with carrying a firearm openly, improper exhibition of a firearm and resisting an officer. He was booked into jail.

Jan 10
Sheriff announces employee promotions and transfers

Sheriff Rick Ramsay on Wednesday announced several employee promotions and transfers taking place in the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office this week.

Lt. Mitch Horn, who has served as station commander in the District Six Islamorada District and in the Upper Keys District Seven patrol district in recent years will be moving from his current position as District Seven station commander to fill a position vacancy in the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area group in Miami. To fill his position in Key Largo, Detective Sgt. Al Ramirez will be promoted to Lieutenant. He will move from his current position in the Special Investigations Division to the Roth Building in District Seven.

Captain Gene Thompson, commander of the Marathon patrol district, will be attending the upcoming FBI National Law Enforcement Academy for the next several months. In his absence, Islamorada Lt. Derek Paul will be moving from the District Six station commander position to the Marathon Substation. He will be working with current Marathon Lt. Bruce Winegarden in Marathon for the next several months until Lt. Winegarden’s retirement, after which Lt. Paul will continue to work in Marathon under Captain Thompson.

To fill the position of Islamorada Station Commander, Det. Sgt. Dave Carey will be promoted to Lieutenant, moving from his current position in charge of Upper Keys detectives.

The two detective sergeant positions are currently being posted internally and will be filled in due course.

Jan 10
Man arrested for fake crab certificates

A Big Pine Key man was arrested Monday on felony charges of faking paperwork to sell 380 certificates for stone-crab traps.

Pedro L. Lorenzo, 48, is accused by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission investigators of failing to properly register the sale of the certificates, which is required for each stone-crab trap placed in the water.

According to an arrest warrant, Lorenzo, using his wife’s saltwater products license, purchased 500 trap certificates from their legal owner, Marisol Falcon. When two buyers filed applications with the FWC last summer to transfer lots of 300 and 80 certificates to them, state staff said the paperwork was not complete.

The warrant indicates Lorenzo submitted transfer applications signed with Marisol’s name as seller. Falcon said her signature on the documents was forged, and that she did not sell the certificates to the listed buyers.

“Mr. Lorenzo sold the tags … by fraudulently filling out both stone [crab] tag transfer applications and the bill of sale, then forging Mrs. Falcon’s signature on them,” the warrant says.

The FWC tracks the sale of trap certificates, which were created to ensure the number of traps in the fishery is limited to a specific level.

Lorenzo’s bond was placed at $40,000 for four felony counts of making an improper trap-certificate transfer, and four misdemeanor counts of filing false applications.

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