It’s important to be prepared for hurricane season

Monroe County Sheriff Rick Ramsey joined Good Morning Keys on KeysTalk 96.9/102.5FM this morning to talk about what’s going on in the county.

Hurricane season is right around the corner.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “We’ve got to start talking about hurricane season and being hurricane prepared, have hurricane plans. We hope nothing makes landfall, but we have to have a plan in place for the worst case scenario. All of us, not only the Sheriff’s Office, but personal residents and businesses and we’ve just got to plan for the worst and hope for the best.”

A West Palm Beach, Florida man was arrested for illegally possessing prescription pills recently. It came from a traffic stop.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “This is a 52 year old male from West Palm. This is on Monday in the Marathon area, a traffic stuff, resulting in officers identifying narcotics in the car. We’ve talked in the past so much about OxyContin and oxycodone, just how dangerous these pills are. These are the pills that got most people in America addicted to pharmaceutical drugs and ruin people’s lives. They were actually 10 times more addicted and crack cocaine. We saw doctors that were over prescribing and improperly prescribing these drugs to citizens which getting them all hooked on these drugs ultimately. So we haven’t seen oxys as much these days, it’s kind of tamed down a lot because they’ve been so controlled now by DEA. But we did have this individual who was in possession of 30 oxys. No prescription for these pills, some other drug related items and drug paraphernalia on them. So we did arrest him for possession of controlled substances in this case being oxys.”

The marine theft of GPS systems is still ongoing. An individual from Stock Island was arrested earlier this month as part of an ongoing investigation into multiple marine related GPS thefts.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “I think you and our listeners will remember this numbskull. These are two guys in Stock Island, who were out in the middle of the night doing marine burglaries in Islamorada that we stopped coming back in Marathon and they had a six year old daughter in the car, so our listeners will probably remember this, that he was bringing this kid out on a crime spree, terrible father. He’s in our jail, our investigation continued and we were able to put up more charges on other marine burglary cases which he was a suspect in. So the different location also in Islamorada. The first location was the 73 mile marker, we’ve got him pinned on a burglary around the 80 and another location. So we had two more warrants signed for him for marine related burglaries and grand theft of GPS units. So the judge signed the warrants, we had a bond placed on the warrant at $305,000. So we went to the jail and served him with additional warrants, he will not be bonding out. He lives on Stock Island and does not have the means to bond out, which is good, keeps him in jail, keeps him away from hurting our citizens and trying to steal their property. It does what the system is designed to do is hold people accountable. This is a career criminal, so it seems this is not a one time person. This is a person who’s victimized our citizens more than once time and time again. I am not going to tolerate this and he’s where he needs to be in my jail and I’m going to work to try to make sure he stays in my jail or goes off to state prison.”

A 65 year old Marathon man arrested last week following a search warrant at a residence where cocaine found.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “This was a drug target, a suspect we had, we already had two sales of cocaine from him. We had warrants for his arrest. So we had already two warrants for his arrest and we got a search warrant from the courts to enter his home to look for additional drugs, we had probable cause to believe that drugs were in the house. So we brought our special operations team, they executed a search warrant in Marathon at this location, in the south of Marathon around the 1300 block. Our suspect was a 65 year old male. As we entered the house, there was another male who had just purchased cocaine from him. So we interrupted the drug deal that was going on when we hit the house. So we arrested the other person in the house who had just purchased cocaine. Then we secured the home, the residence, the persons in the home. Then during our search we did located just over an ounce, 1.1 ounces of cocaine, which is trafficking level. So he was charged with trafficking in cocaine, sale of cocaine, possession, and two active outstanding warrants for sale of cocaine. So a good job and we arrested the other person who came there to buy, keep trying to send a message and do our job to control the illegal drugs that are in America.”

A man recently was fleeing deputies on foot and made his situation even worse.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “It doesn’t make any sense. If a car gets stopped, if you’ve done nothing wrong, you’ve got nothing to worry about. You should just sit there and shut your mouth and listen to commands, orders, directions you may get from law enforcement, but just mind your business. We did stop the car, the driver was a habitual traffic offender, but hazard on the highway. Obviously, a person who operates as a habitual offender has no license, no insurance and obviously can’t safely operate a motor vehicle. That’s why they’re considered a habitual offender. At some point time, the passenger was just causing issues and disturbances, being combative. The officer tried to give that person verbal commands, lawful command to cease and desist and stay out of the situation. The person would not and at some point, the person again being given orders, directions, failed to obey them and fled, was given orders as he failed to stop and he did not. We had to chase him while dealing with the driver of the car on foot and eventually had to deploy a taser to stop them. The taser did what is supposed to do, stop them in his tracks. We were able to handcuff, secure him. Tasers and pepper sprays that we use, these are called intermediate weapons. What the goal is, is to try to stop the fight right away. We don’t want to go hands on and fists and feet and kicking and punching at each other. No one wins and the only people who get hurt are officers and defendants. So our goal is use these weapons not as a means of hurting somebody, but stopping someone from hurting themselves or others. So the taser did what it was designed to do. We had to arrest him for resisting, obstructing and opposing officers and the message there is if you’ve done nothing wrong, they should have nothing to worry about. Don’t make the situation worse. Just sit there. You may not be happy, but just sit there and just shut your mouth. It’s going to be what it’s going to be, but you can control making it worse.”

A 55-year-old Port St. Lucie man passed away while freediving off Key West last week.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “This is the second free diving incident we’ve seen here in the last couple of weeks. It’s a shame. He was free diving and didn’t come up. They wound up finding him deceased. Free diving can be dangerous. Spearfishing can be dangerous. You can get wrapped around the cord, around your leg as you’re trying to surface and drown. You can potentially blackout while going up and down. This is a dangerous sport. I free dive myself and you have to take a very serious. Yesterday we stopped two boats that were free diving in 95 feet of water in the channel. It spearfishing and that’s some deep water. That’s some dangerous stuff. So what a shame, a sad situation when anybody lost a life. There’s so many people in the water here. We have more dive deaths here than other area per capita because this is a dive central. People are in the water all day long.”

A man was recently cited for illegal fishing and undersized speared hog fish.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “My marine officer saw a person with dive flags, diving around the bridge, we came up, checked on him. The guy was spearfishing. He had undersized speared snook and also an undersized speared hog snapper. You can’t spear snook at all, undersized or not. You’re not allowed to spear snook in first place, let alone it was undersized and hog snapper same thing, 16 inches to the fork is one per person. This person had a undersized hog snapper. So he was cited to give him a notice to appear. We continue to do our efforts to work with our friends at FWC and protect our resources and try to keep working to make sure that these resources are here in the future for future generations. We just continue to see people attack our environment. Our state attorney does such a good job to hold these people countable. So I appreciate that from him and we want to be a good partner to our friends in FWC.”

Scams are continuing as well.

Sheriff Ramsay assured, “We’re not going to demand money. If they say you’ve got a warrant or a missed jury duty, you can’t pay your way out of that. That’s not how this works. If they want to get access to your computer, all that’s always going to be a scam. You never give access to your computer. Never give control of your computer or your phone devices. You never give any personal information. Never pay over the phone. Never go to the store and pick up Green Dot cards. Just hanging up and call us or call back whether it be law enforcement, whether it be Keys Energy, Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority. We’ve seen so many scams about we’re going to shut your power off. You don’t get arrested because you don’t show up to jury duty. It just doesn’t happen and we’ve seen that.”

There was a migrant landing this morning.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “We’re seeing this time of year where the warmer weather and the better season you start potentially seeing more migrants coming across. It was a small group, just two people this morning on County Road 905 in the north end of Key Largo. Last week we had seven migrants come in the Upper Keys. So we’re starting to see a couple of cases, our friends at the United States Coast Guard and Air National Guard are doing a good job to keep these migrants down, but two landings just to let our citizens know.”

Remember there will be a lot of traffic this weekend for Memorial Day.

Sheriff Ramsay said it will be the “first three day weekend for the summer. The weather’s looking really good. So I think we should expect heavier amounts of traffic, heavier amounts of boat activity. So we want people to enjoy, have a good safe holiday weekend. But do expect more boats on the water, be a little careful. More traffic on the highway. Be a little careful. The holiday weekends do have impacts.”

There were two injured runners for the Keys 100 this past weekend.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “That was a sad case. Two runners off the road. There were not a fault. They were just running southbound. A vehicle left its lane of travel, struck two runners at the 17 mile marker, pretty serious injuries. We had Trauma Star airlifted out both patients to Miami area hospitals, one especially with a lot of extreme injuries to the lower extremities, legs, arms, body. So both took a beating. We have running events and riding events and people enjoying the Keys on a regular basis. You have to put your phones down, be careful and pay attention. I always say distracted driving is more dangerous than impaired drunk driver. So we have to look around and protect ourselves and others and not be part of the problem, be part of the solution.”