Monroe County Sheriff’s Deputies never know what they’re going to face each day

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. 

A Key West Florida man was arrested Saturday for a variety of different crimes. The Key West Police Department was joined by US Marshals, Florida Regional Task Force. 

Sheriff Ramsay said, “He was our top, most wanted person here in the Keys. Not in the nation, but here locally. He’s one of our top offenders. He’s a drug dealer, selling amphetamines to people. He had a litany of about 10 different charges. So we’ve been looking for this guy in the past and trying to find him. Always work so closely with our friends at Key West Police and the federal government, in this case the US Marshal Service.”

He was caught a traffic stop in the Lower Keys. 

Sheriff Ramsay said, “We were able to finally arrest him without incident, that’s a good thing. Get him off the streets. He’s a career criminal that just needs to be off the streets. He’s where he needs to be at the Rick Ramsay Bed and Breakfast. He’s sitting in my jail.”

Another traffic stop found a Louisville, Kentucky man with cocaine and marijuana and drug paraphernalia. 

Sheriff Ramsay said, “This is about the 55 mile marker in Grassy Key. We stopped this individual for driving a SUV, a nice Lexus SUV, but had no brake or tail lights. So when we did encounter the driver and the window rolled down, we smelled a strong odor of marijuana coming out of the vehicle. He had no marijuana medical card, which gave us probable cause to do a search of the car. We did find cocaine, marijuana, paraphernalia in the car. So we were able to arrest him on drug charges as well as cite him for the traffic violation. Our top complaint we always get is traffic, so we really work hard on traffic, and traffic safety is the most important thing for us because more people are injured or killed from traffic stops than anything else. So I have my troops spend a lot of time on the traffic enforcement world. We see great things come out of this where people are wanted, don’t have licenses, have drugs, committed other crimes. So another means for the two birds with one stone type theory.”

Resource violations also continue in the Keys. 

Sheriff Ramsay said, “We always talk about how important is for the citizens to have a relationship with the sheriff’s office so they can call us and brief us and tell us what’s going on. So we just love that. We got a report from a citizen who saw someone who was fishing in the Tavernier area and there was reportedly undersized fish involved. We sent out officers. We did contact this individual from Miami where a lot of our violators come from. We did find him to be out there possessing undersized Mangrove Snapper. So we did elect to give him a notice to appear in lieu of taking him into physical custody. A lot of things come based on what’s the violation, what’s the attitude, is this a first time offense whether we’re going to give you a court date summons or whether we’re going to take you to jail. We keep sending a message about depleting our resources and about hurting our environment. We’re just keep trying to keep something there for the future generations.”

Another man was also stopped for lobster violations recently. 

Sheriff Ramsay said, “One of the biggest violations we continue to see whether seasons are open or closed, people just can’t help themselves. A lot of our violators are from out of county. A resource violations check revealed undersized lobster. The reality is the majority of people that violate our fisher laws get away. We hope that the ones that we can hold accountable, that we can keep getting the message out on your show, and that the people think that there’s some fear of being caught reduces the potential for people to keep violating and hurting resources. We’re going to continue to be vigilant. This is a prime responsibility of FWC, but yet to me, this is really, really important. I’ve asked my people to keep vigilant on the land and on the sea. We have to do whatever we can to protect our resources. At this point in time I’ve seen dramatic decreases in our fisheries over the years I’ve been here. I’ve been here since 1976 and I’ve seen the resources just diminish. Which is a scary.”

If the judicial consolidation happens between Monroe County and Miami-Dade County, that could have a major impact on crime in the Keys. 

Sheriff Ramsay said, “I am very worried about this consolidation effort. I think it’s going to be terrible for our citizens at every level. I think our citizens are likely to be re-victimized as a result. It’s only going to help criminals. It’s only going to make easier for people who want to come down here to commit crimes, because the fear factor is going to be diminished by so much. Miami Dade County, while they do a great job I’m sure, but their sentencing is different, their enforcement, their prosecution, everything that we are always focusing on they are not at that level and they’ve got so many other big crimes and so much other stuff going on. I think this takes a back burner that this is not really a big deal. I think the concern is a valid concern, that we are going to see an adverse impact as a result of the consolidation if it occurs. It’s something we’re trying to work really hard to stop from occurring because it just it’s just going to be terrible. I’m very, very concerned.” 

A 24-year-old Miami, FL, man was wanted for violating probation regarding a homicide and was stopped in Monroe County. 

Sheriff Ramsay said, “This is a traffic stop for running a stop sign. So again, always falls back though you just don’t know who you’re out with and what they’ve done or what they’re capable of doing. So we did stop this car for running a stop sign. This person was on probation. He was wanted for violation of that and had no driver’s license as well. So we went out for a simple minor traffic violation and no one wants to go back to jail, which makes it they’re more likely to hurt an officer or do something to try to get away. But we were able to stop him from driving and hold him accountable for the charges of Miami Dade County to get them off the streets and put them back in our jail where he appears to be that he needs to be there because he can’t follow rules and regulations.”

The sheriff’s office warned residents to be careful about scams — especially ones where people are posing as sheriff’s officers for a Cash App donation. 

Sheriff Ramsay said, “Scams are becoming so prevalent. They’re becoming so realistic. The first scams started coming out years ago, you could pretty much tell they were so primitive, but these scammers have become so impressive with the ability to clone phone numbers, to ghost stuff, to IRS stuff, warrants. We keep trying to tell people never give personal information out. Don’t send money. Don’t do any green dot cards. Don’t give money on a cell phone or computer apps. Unless you are 100 percent sure that you know who it is you’re sending it to or why and the legitimate reasons, when in doubt, hang up. Call the entity, whether it be the sheriff’s office directly on our line, the Aqueduct Authority, Keys Energy, whatever it may be. But these scams are so realistic. They’re trying to have you sign documents. We haven’t seen much of it. But I’m always worried about the docu-sign stuff where you can sign legal documents online. I’m always worried about people trying to have you sign something on a document on the computer, not knowing what you’re signing. These scammers, their goal is to keep you on the phone, if they’re on the phone if it’s not just the email. To keep you communicating as long as you can, and not let you get a break from communicating. Because they don’t want you to have a break. If you have a break, you’re going to think about it. If you think about it logically, you’re going to come to conclusion something’s not right. So they’re trying to get you emotionally. They’re trying to focus on your emotions, not your logic thinking. So take a break, hang up. No one’s going to come seize your house or tow your car. You’re not going to go to jail because you allegedly missed a jury summons. It doesn’t work that way. You can always tell people, you can never pay your way out of an arrest. They say we’ve got a warrant for your arrest, pay $300 and we’ll take care of it. It doesn’t work that way. You don’t get just to pay your way out. So we’ve just got to think.”

Reputable businesses and law enforcement will not call or text asking for money. 

Sheriff Ramsay said, “The big thing is just check with somebody else, run a path to somebody who’s not emotionally charged, not emotionally involved and they’re likely to give you some good guidance, which is take no action.” 

Columbus Day is next Monday, so traffic may be busy. 

Sheriff Ramsay said, “It’s the last three day holiday weekend of the year. So we’ll see people for Columbus Day coming down here boating, tripping, so that should be the last time we’re going to see a lot of holiday weekend, but we should be careful.”