The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office continues to send the ‘tough on crime’ message

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.

Last week, the area saw a fatal accident with a tractor trailer at a construction site.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “The construction site was destroyed, but the Florida Department of Transportation came back and they put it back together exactly the way it was. No improvements. Still no lighting, still no construction occurring there. Still no new signage. They’ve done nothing to improve what was already said to be an unsafe construction zone. There’s still no reduced speed limit there. So everything that we brought up in the past and present, they’ve failed to do. They just put it back the same way it was so it’s like Groundhog Day. I wouldn’t be surprised to see something else bad occur, because they have not corrected the problem. In fact, it’s as we said before, it was foreseeable and preventable and it remains foreseeable and preventable. But Florida Department of Transportation fails to act for safety. It’s frustrating to all of us. I’ve had so many citizens call, so upset about that construction zone and what is or is not occurring there. Sometimes you’ve got to keep fighting the battle, but I don’t understand, Florida Department of Transportation, a lot of times stuff they do is just hard to swallow and understand.”

There was a recent high speed chase near the Bahia Honda area.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “This was a very scary situation. Our friends in FHP clocked a car doing over 100 miles an hour. FHP Sergeant tried to stop the car. Attempts were made for a couple of miles to no avail. Speeds reported at 114 miles an hour. Sometime about the 42 mile marker south end of the seven mile bridge going northbound, FHP notified the sheriff’s office dispatch center that they were in pursuit and needed help. We immediately started organizing our staff, our personnel, were trying to find a proper location to set up Stinger spikes. We could not do it initially in Marathon because the car by time we got notified was traveling so fast we couldn’t get to a strategic location to safely deploy the spikes. They continued through Marathon at extreme high speeds. We were helping assisting in this pursuit. We tried to spike the car about the 60, 61 mile marker. The car continued and we set up two other strategic locations where the car was spiked a couple of times. The bad thing, really scary was later on the driver was a female found to be drunk. But on top of that there was a 10k run occurring in Islamorada on the highway that this car was barreling down towards. We called ahead to fire rescue and Islamorada staff and said you may want to get all these people off the road. There’s a high speed pursuit coming your way. So thank God, we’re able to spike the car twice, right before Islamorada about the 75 mile marker and then about the 80. Eventually, we got the car riding on one tire, on three rims before the female crashes to the mangroves, crossing US 1 to the bayside. Right before all these runners on the highway. Thank God. We did find a female inside the car, 41 year old female from South Carolina. Tag is registered out of South Carolina. When questioned why she was speeding. She said she had called her father to ask what to do and her father allegedly told her not to stop to keep on going. So that’s interesting if that’s truly what was told by her father. She was arrested on multiple counts of felony fleeing and eluding, and drunk driving. We’re happy to help aid and assist. Unfortunately, two civilian cars had a tire spiked out. They were so close to the suspect car. It’s not uncommon. We don’t like to do it. But we have to stop a 5,000 pound missile heading towards 1,000 people running on the highway. If it means taking out a couple of cars and having to replace a few tires. that’s what we have to do to protect the general public.”

A man and woman were arrested Friday after a traffic stop where a large amount of crystal methamphetamine was found.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “A good job. One of my officers working around the Brass Key area, stopped a Volkswagen for traffic violations. When he got into the car, they ultimately believed that there was narcotics in the car. They eventually did get into the car where there was marijuana smell coming out of the car. They found the male driver. a 40 year old male from Key West who had 66.8 grams of crystal meth. Then it was a female passenger who also had crystal meth on her. So two drug dealers. This clearly is not for personal use. This is a bag of crystal meth. So we arrested both persons. The driver, male was arrested for trafficking in crystal meth amphetamines. So really good case. We’re glad to be part of getting drugs off the street, holding people accountable. We keep talking about how important traffic is to the sheriff’s office and our citizens. Number one complaint we get, but how also, our officers are proactive to continue to go above and beyond during traffic stops to look for other potential violations and we continue to do great to get drugs and other stuff off the streets. As a result of these traffic stops, drugs, guns, warrants, we’ve talked about so many things that occur, that we are able to make this community safer by just doing our simple traffic enforcement.”

A grand jury recently brought back a first degree murder charge for a person who sold drugs to someone who died.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “Myself and the State Attorney keep working really hard to hold these drug dealers accountable. We’ve arrested half a dozen people, the last year and a half, two years, who sold drugs to people who those people died, overdosed. We’ve come back and arrested them for murder charges. We’ve been taking these cases of second degree murder charges before the grand jury and every time the grand jury has come back with an indictment for first degree murder. So they’ve been sending a true bill back. We just had a female who we arrested for secondary murder come before the grand jury who came back with a true bill for first degree murder. So it sends a clear message and our citizens and jurists are not going to let this happen either. We’re seeing record numbers of votes of 20 to 0 bringing back the true bill for first degree murder indictments. So we’re happy to see that. We’re sending the hardest message ever. We’re getting convictions, we’re getting indictments. We’re getting support from the judges, the state attorney. I’m just continuing to send a message of hard on crime. I want to be tough on crime, tough on criminals. We are going to continue to be that level of enforcement as long as I’m the sheriff. I am not going to tolerate whether it be criminal outlaw motorcycle gangs, drug dealers, people committing other crimes. We’re going to hammer these people like they’ve never been hammered before.”

Christmas on the Farm was held this past Sunday.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “The sheriff’s office does the Christmas on the Farm each and every year along with other farm related activities. Always a fan favorite. Yesterday all the kids came out and have a chance to touch, hold animals, have a chance to come out and ask questions, see stuff they never would have seen before. And these are always, always really, really important stuff to us.”

About 1,200 people came out in a two-hour window.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “This is important to our community, our community policing, our partnerships, our friendships to see these things occurring. We had mostly kids, Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus are out there. Every child gets a picture with Santa Claus. We make this a fun day, face painting. You know arts and crafts, live music, you can touch, hold animals. We just tried to make this one the best days for the kids ever. Kids love this. Believe me, it’s a lot of work to put this together. It’s not easy. We have to have so many volunteers, people out there, staff to make sure it’s safe and secure. It’s a lot of work, but again, it’s well worth it. We’re community related, community orientated. That’s what we’re here for, to help aid and assist, protect our citizens, but also focus on quality of life and continue to make this community one of the best places ever to live, work and play.”