Sheriff Rick Ramsay was elected for another term

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

It’s official — Sheriff Ramsay was reelected sheriff. 

He said, “It was exciting to go through the process, always meet some great people along the way. But I’m really glad I don’t have to go through the full campaign cycle. Campaigning is really difficult anywhere, especially in this long county. But I’m thankful this is my fourth term as the elected sheriff, terms for a sheriff are four years. So I’ll be starting year 13 soon and this is my third time going unopposed, which I think is a good testament to the citizens being happy with the sheriff, the sheriff’s office, what we’re doing, and it’s a sign of success as a leader of an agency when people don’t oppose you. If they’re not happy they’re gonna move to oust you and get opposition. I’m proud to be the leader of this agency.”

Last week a large amount of suspected cocaine was found in Islamorada. 

Sheriff Ramsay said, “We’ve been having our citizens and visitors alike find a lot of floating cocaine and marijuana here lately. The numbers seem to be a little bit higher than normal. We always have drugs coming in the shorelines historically, but there has been an uptick. Last week, about 25 kilos and now this time, about 21 kilos. A kilo is 2.2 pounds. So we’re talking about 44 or 45 pounds of pure uncut cocaine was located by some subjects that were in the Islamorada area. They did what they’re supposed to do, and we appreciate the fact they contacted our authorities, notified us, we came out, looked at it, inspected it, determined it was in fact cocaine. We again called our partners in the federal government, who come out, they take possession of the drugs. They ultimately destroy it. But first off, they do a lot of intel driven work on the kilos, trying to determine what origin are they from, how long they’ve been at sea, what’s the purity, can they track it down to a certain cartel, the markings on there? What are the markings consistent of? Most kilos have some type of identifier on these packages. After that they destroy it. It keeps the history of drug smuggling in the Keys alive. But also for the people who do find it and have contact and turn it in, they’ll have a story for the rest of their lives. Twenty years now they’ll still be talking about the day they found 45 pounds of cocaine floating in the Islamorada area. So those are always interesting times.”

An 18-year-old from Miami was arrested for fleeing from the sheriff’s office on Saturday. 

Sheriff Ramsay said, “This is interesting. It’s a young man who just got his license a couple of years earlier and he’s operating a Hellcat, which is like a 700 horsepower, Dodge Challenger type car. Super powerful, fast. While this individual was fleeing from our people, we saw him going through the Islamorada area at high rates of speed. We tried to catch up to him. He took flight, speeds got so high, we eventually broke off for safety of our citizens. Sometime later, an off duty officer spotted the car, a very distinct car like a gray color with some black trim, and a neon green Hellcat on the side, dark tinted windows very, very distinct car. We located that at Fiesta Key, about the 70 mile marker. We were able to determine to prove that this individual was the operator owner of the car who fled from us. We arrested him for felony fleeing and eluding and then we checked some Facebook posts and some other posts that apparently we had contact with him the day before. We tried to deal with him the day before for speeding and he fled as well. He actually videotaped it and posted it and made a comment something about even the sheriff’s department can’t catch him and posted online of him speeding away from us the day before. So that was interesting video. So we did get him. We towed his car while we determined whether we’re going to seize it or not. So we’ve got possession of this Hellcat, determining what our next move is to the car itself. But just a super dangerous, super scary and just total disregard for law and he knows he’s got a car which can outrun most police cars and in Miami Dade County they run from the police all the time because the policies there, they have to shut down these pursuits so fast that these people aren’t even afraid of being caught. But here, he was caught.”

People stole fishing rods from Boot Key Harbor recently. 

Sheriff Ramsay said, “Boot Key is an interesting area, there’s a couple of sections. One is more of a managed mooring field, managed through the city of Marathon. Most of those have hooks there and do what they’re supposed to do and don’t cause any problems. There’s another section which is just on the hook, where they just drop anchor and they’re not in a managed mooring field. That population gives us a lot of issues, a lot of problems, a lot of fights between the voters out there. This case here, not uncommon to steal stuff from boat to boat. One individual stole three high value fishing rods and reels, valued a little over $500 and later on tried to pawn them. We were called about that theft. Our investigators did a good job to track down the suspect, the pawn shop and ultimately be able to build probable cause and arrest this person for the theft of these rods and reels from the Book Key Harbor, but it does keep us busy out there in Boot Key, for sure.” 

A man was arrested in Stock Island for drugs recently. 

Sheriff Ramsay said, “This is my special operations group in Marathon. This is a county wide group narcotics division. They do a really good job. But when we’re doing search warrants it’s because we’ve targeted a house as a drug house, we’ve done a lot of work there. We’ve generally been in the house or bought drugs from the person or persons. We’ve got to build probable cause to spell out to a judge why we believe there’s drugs in the house and there’s more likelihood than not because it’s a lot to be intrusive to go in someone’s home, but my team did a good job to build probable cause to get a judge to sign off on a search warrant. We executed an early morning search warrant and we bring out our narcotics team and our SWAT team. We hit the house on Stock Island and we’re able to identify multiple types of drugs, drugs, paraphernalia, clear signs of not only drug use, but drug dealing. So we got a drug dealer off the road, keep sending the message, education, and try to be out there as a presence, and force to the best we can combat and fight the war on drugs which will go on for a virtually eternity.”

A man in Marathon threw a hatchet through a vessel’s window on Wednesday. 

Sheriff Ramsay said, “Fights between boaters are not uncommon. In this case, arguments between the boaters led to one of the ones came up on a rowboat, with a hatchet, yelling and screaming between the two boaters, throwing the hatchet through the window of the boat where the victim was located. A couple of witnesses on nearby boats heard the arguing, heard the screaming, saw the person rowing away from the crime scene. So we had some pretty good witnesses that could verify that this situation did occur. Our suspect later on said he wasn’t there and didn’t know anything about it. But it’s always nice to have independent witnesses collaborate the fact that yes, you were there, and you did know something about it. So we arrest him pretty quickly for aggravated assault, throwing this hatchet to the window, other related crimes. We keep trying to say for every action there is a reaction, and decisions made off of emotion versus logic are never going to be right. And they’re going to have repercussions that could be long term everlasting.”

There were some sexual assault cases last week as well. 

Sheriff Ramsay said, “The one in Summerland is a young lady, 18 year old girl lived in one part of a subdivided house, a small house, and then the other side was this Hispanic male, substantially older, who had been kind of creeping on her and been kind of hitting on her and she was a little nervous about this guy. At some point time, he came over and forced his way in the house when she opened the door, wouldn’t take no for an answer, and pushed his way into the house, and then started touching, grabbing on her. She was very scared. She’s young, a tiny little thing. This girl is probably five foot nothing, just really small, 18 year old girl living on her own for the first time and then you’ve got this occurring. So she was terrorized. I spoke to her myself about this case. We got the call, we came out there pretty quickly, figured out what’s going on, we arrested him right away, put him in jail for multiple charges. I talked to her about getting a restraining order so we can get him out of the other side of the house. With a restraining order, he’ll have to immediately not be there, he can’t come around to pick up his stuff. But we try to get these protection orders to protect these victims from being re-victimized and also give them more sense of security. These temporary restraining orders help us do our jobs and gives us more tools in our toolbox to deal with people that harass, bother the victims in his case. So it’s a tough time to be young female anywhere, but we’re glad we can be there. We’re glad the situation wasn’t worse and we could arrest him right away and get her some closure and some safety and security.”

One in three women will be the victim of domestic violence in her lifetime. 

Sheriff Ramsay said, “The majority of the time, women are more likely to be the victim of domestic violence. But we also do have men who are victims of domestic violence. There are a lot of men who are victims that we deal with too as well. People think domestic violence they think strictly women, but they’re much more likely to be the victim, but it is widespread. We have a women, men and children who are involved in domestic violence, elderly people, it happens in entire households of all levels. We just have to keep combating domestic violence, educating, arresting, holding people accountable when bad things occur.”

Resource violations also continue to occur. 

Sheriff Ramsay said, “We continue to be focused on this, I really have a good press on my men and women, that this is part of our jobs to to help aid and assist FWC because we all have to be all in to protect our resources, which are so fragile, are being attacked every year and every year there’s less resources available. If we don’t do something, soon there’ll be no resources left for not only commercial living, but recreational and locals and people who want to go out and see, touch, enjoy or catch, eat and harvest. We’re working cases, one case was undersized lobster, obviously out of season. Another case was again, we always talk about undersized snapper, variety of different type of snappers, all undersized. The majority time the offenders are coming out of Dade County, coming into Monroe to fish off our bridges or side of our road or waterways. Those are the ones that we deal with the most. A lot of those are repeat offenders. So we keep vigilant to help out our friends at FWC who have limited manpower, can only be so many places at one time. We’re just scratching the surface, the majority of offenders get away with it, because it’s just so prevalent, and we just don’t have the resources to be everywhere and everything to everybody. Thanks to everybody for the support, myself and the office, to know whe have the support of the community really makes us want to come to work, work extra hard and do good stuff. I appreciate everybody.”