Let’s check in with Sheriff Rick Ramsay

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

Caution on the roadway is not just a suggestion, it’s a necessity.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “Unfortunately this time of year with the heavy influx of traffic, we still have people that are in hurry and passing and distracted driving. This is a difficult time to drive this road, without being fully aware of what’s going on. So we have experienced a lot of crashes. Last Thursday, we had a tractor trailer early hours in the morning at the 100 mile marker flip over and dump its load all over the road. So that was really difficult and challenging. That caused all traffic to divert to 905, which is really kind of a small access road. It just doesn’t have the capacity for that volume. That really made it difficult for us. And then we did have a couple of really bad crashes down south. We’ve just been seeing people here driving I think aggressive and not paying attention and with that bad things happening. Put your phones down, pay attention and give yourself little extra time and relax. I always tell people look, if you’ve got to be in traffic, it’s not much better place than here in the Keys with the beautiful scenery and oceans and the Gulf of Mexico and bridges. It’s always difficult for law enforcement. We have to get on scene to clear these roads out and we get stuck in traffic like everybody else. So it’s a challenging time of year for a lot of reasons between traffic call for service and just an influx of people.”

A man from West Palm Beach, Florida was charged with fleeing and eluding, reckless driving, aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer recently. He was driving 102 mph near mile marker 35 and failed to pull over for the sheriff’s office.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “This was an illegal migrant who was illegally in the country from Mexico. So you’ve got to wonder if you’re here illegally, you don’t have a license, why would you drive like this and draw attention to yourself? Well, about 10:21 in the morning, so we’re talking daylight hours, 35 mile an hour zone, the 35 mile marker, he’s clocked at about 102. We tried to stop him, and he refused to stop and he kept giving our officers thumbs up. As this is going south, we made a couple of attempts to Stinger spike out his tires, but he was too aggressive, too fast. The one time where we have the assault on the officer is that when the officer is getting ready to throw the spikes out, he swerved at the officer who had to jump out of the way to try to avoid a potential impact from the car versus the civilian, or in this case, officer. That’s where that charge came from. We attempted to throw Stinger spikes out another time around at Channel Five Bridge area, but he swerved around those. So the challenge is we want to get these cars stopped, but it’s not that easy. Eventually he just came to stop on his own around Sugarloaf for some unknown reason, but he went from the 35 mile marker to about the 19 mile marker at these excessive speeds. So that’s when we did finally confront him, arrest him and for multiple charges, but we keep saying we don’t understand when you have drugs in your car why you drive this way when you’re in this country illegally and don’t have a license, why do you drive this way? You shouldn’t be driving but if you are boy, I think you’d be driving by following all the speed limits and 10 and 2 on the steering wheel and doing everything you can not to draw attention to yourself, but this guy’s just, he might as well have a neon sign on the roof of his car just saying stop me.”

A boat dumping case came about recently.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “The FWC is the lead and the sheriff’s office working with the FWC on the dumping of a derelict vessel. Eventually probable cause came to believe that the suspect was a guy named Solar George, who had been arrested just a week before for dumping a large amount of hazardous waste on Big Pine. He was ultimately arrested and brought the MCJ over the weekend for dumping of a vessel. You just do these types of acts, this is going to keep on happening. You keep trying to hurt our environment and dump and do bad things like this, we’re going to continue to be vigilant as FWC to hold these people accountable and try to protect our environment, our resources, our homes, and our neighborhoods and where we live and our community.”

A man from Pembroke Pines was given a mandatory notice to appear in court for harvesting goliath grouper and not having a fishing license.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “We came across this individual from the south Florida area who was fishing on the bridge, no fishing license. We inspected his catch, we found a goliath grouper. Some people remember these used to be called jewfish. They’ve been renamed Goliath Grouper, but these are protected species. At some point in time they were close to getting extinct when they protected them. So we have to protect our resources. He had a goliath grouper that was no longer alive that was in his catch bucket, probably about a 24 inch grouper. We obviously took the action against him for no fishing license but moreso for having a protected species. We like to return it to water when we can, but in this case here this was futile. There wasn’t anything we could do to try to save it. This is why we have to be out there. If you’re going to fish, you have to know the laws, rules and regulations. I think at this point time anybody who fishes in Florida, who’s a resident clearly knows that goliath grouper are a no take zone.”

A man from Tomball, Texas was arrested for a litany of drugs in Marathon on Thursday following a traffic stop. He was stopped for illegal window tinting.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “We see these cars with these smoke black windows. They’re dangerous and they violate law and officer safety. We do have tint meters in cars, our patrol cars. We stopped him around 11 Street and we could smell marijuana. We brought our canine Coral in. Our canine alerted right away to the presence of narcotics. Our canines don’t alert to marijuana. So when the dog alerted to the presence of narcotics, we knew it was something more than marijuana. So we did find cocaine, ecstasy, marijuana, drug paraphernalia, signs of drug using, drug dealing. It’s always good to deal with traffic safety issues, but the same token, out of traffic safety comes a lot of good other related crimes that we have to deal with and try to put a stop to, in this case drugs, which are prevalent everywhere. But we’re able to get some drugs off the street, hold the drug deal accountable, tow his car, keep sending the message that you’re more likely to get arrested here, more likely to get prosecuted, more likely to spend more time in jail. That’s the message we keep trying to send is that we are not going to tolerate this and we’re going to be hard on crime here in Monroe.”

A local woman who had no license plate on her car was stopped near 11th Street in Marathon, too, where drugs were found.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “We keep saying how important traffic is. It’s the number one complaint the sheriff’s office gets and the traffic is the number one injuries or cause of loss of life, so we really continue to focus hard on that. But when we’re out with these cars, when we keep coming across people who have drugs in their cars, a lot of time it’s in plain view or the smell of or canine alert. So we’re going to continue to be vigilant on that. We’re going to just keep trying to fight this battle, this war on drugs, which is difficult and challenging and it’s an uphill battle.”

An inappropriate videoing case happened recently in Marathon.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “We got called by the management of Publix in Marathon about a video voyeurism case. When we got there, the suspect was gone, but they had great video surveillance within the store. It showed a woman in a dress who was stopped in the aisle and was going through stuff on the shelf, looking to maybe buy when a Hispanic male came up behind her. There was no one else in sight. He had his phone on and he dropped down to his knees right behind her. And he put the phone up under her skirt videotaping up under her skirt. So we were alerted to this. It was a little difficult case because the suspect was gone. We had to try to figure out who he was and identify him, which was not an easy task. It took us a little while, but were eventually able to obviously get the witness, and the management with the video, collect the video, get the identity of the victim. She wanted to pursue charges, had detective look into it. We eventually tracked down and identified the suspect, who was a known perpetrator, had been involved in drugs and other charges in the past. We did get a probable cause affidavit, applied for a warrant, got the warrant signed for his arrest for video voyeurism and we picked him up last week and arrested him for that charge. So a really good case, good evidence, solid video this guy doing it so there’s not too much he’s going to be able to argue in this case. I don’t think there’s much to dispute. But sad to say someone just couldn’t go to grocery store without having somebody trying to perv on them. We do so much and we’re part of so many different types of enforcement of crimes. Everything’s important to us whether it be a Marine, whether it be video voyeurism, whether it be drugs, traffic , everything has an equal level of importance for a lot of things, quality of life, for crimes against persons, crimes against property. We just have to do everything, but good job to my detective crews for tracking that individual down and making that case. We’re glad to hold that guy accountable. That’s just a creep.”

A Key Largo man on Friday was found to be hitting another man, then he stole a pint of vodka from a 45-year-old female.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “That was in Key Largo about the 99.6, 99.8 mile marker, we had an individual who stole a little pint of vodka from another individual, they were known drinking buddies, and got into an altercation over it and committed a battery. So we get called out there and how to deal with that and track him down, find him and get both sides, figure what was going on. We figured that the battery did occur. These are individuals who were just homeless drinking and when two guys or gals or other people get involved with alcohol and drinking, it’s not uncommon for stupid things to happen or poor decisions or even batteries. That’s what we deal with on a regular basis that people will make poor decisions and people who are under the influence of alcohol, drugs and other stuff, which makes our job that much more dangerous and challenging.”