The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office looks to send a message — people will be held accountable for crimes

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

Two men were arrested on Sunday for possession of cocaine and marijuana following a traffic stop in Key Largo. One man was from Hollywood, FL, and the other from Plantation, FL.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “Two Broward County men were in the county and they were stopped for unrelated traffic enforcement charges. Like what we say, we do a lot of traffic enforcement because it’s the number one complaint and the number one issue for our roads. But of course as we’re doing traffic, we do come up on other violations at times. In this case we stopped the car for violations of traffic laws. While the driver and passenger the windows were rolled down, we could smell a strong odor of marijuana coming out the car. Nobody in the car had medical marijuana cards, which gives us probable cause to search. We did find in the car, on both individuals, various drugs of cocaine, marijuana, THC cartridges, baggies, digital scales, clearly this car and the persons inside were not just personal used. These were drug dealers that are possessing drugs with the intent to distribute. So we did arrest both these Broward County men for charges drug related and towed the car away. So we continue to fight the battle and the war on drugs which is a difficult challenging battle for sure.”

Grand theft auto also happened recently at a Marathon gas station. A man from Vermont jumped into a running car and took off.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “We talk so many times in your show that we just don’t have stolen cars. If we do it’s only because someone left the keys in the car. In this case, this is 73rd Street gas station convenience center. The person pulls up, leaves the car running, gets out leaving the car unlocked, car running with the keys obviously clearly in the ignition because the cars running to go inside and do his shopping. He’s surprised to come out and the car’s gone. So while he’s inside shopping, this individual from Vermont, walks up and sees the car running and looks around and says okay, well I guess I got a new car, jumps in the car and drives it away. We get contacted really quickly as you imagined by the owner who gives us a good description. We put a BOLO, which stands for being lookout for, the car. A short time later my alert deputies do find the car driving down US 1. We do a felony traffic stop on the car, we get the individual who’s operating the car. We revalidate this is actually the car that was stolen. We arrest him for Grand Theft Auto and he’s also intoxicated, so he goes down for DUI. We arrested him for drunk driving as well as the Grand Theft Auto. So it’s good to get the stolen car back to the person, it gets this crime resolved quickly, get a drunk driver off the road. But it keeps beating the fact that so many crimes are crimes of opportunity. If we don’t leave the car running and the keys in the ignition, no one could have ever stolen the car. If you couldn’t have stolen the car, then you wouldn’t have been driving the car down the road drunk and maybe jeopardize someone’s life and safety. So these acts which are stupid because you just don’t want your car to be getting hot while you’re in the store, you’re risking the theft of your car, the safety of the general public and having police officers have to do more work for your stupidity. It’s kind of sad. I hate to see this type of poor behavior. But at the end of the day, we’re doing our job and this is part of the stuff sometimes in dealing with people who make poor decisions in the beginning which caused the crime and the people who make poor decisions commit the crime.”

The RaceTrac Gas Station in Marathon saw an unruly customer recently.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “This started off as an individual who did go into the gas station, and then while in there, battered the clerk, inappropriately touching her in an inappropriate manner. We got called about his activities, of him being there, about him touching her. Deputies get there to try to deal with the situation. He immediately becomes very combative with the deputies, starts refusing commands and lawful orders. At some point time a struggle ensues. He kicks one officer in the stomach. At that point in time, the officer had to pull out a taser. This suspect was tased. The taser did exactly what it’s supposed to do. It stops the fight immediately. We use tasers not to punish people or hurt them. We use them as an intermediate weapon to stop the fight so no one gets hurt. We always say we don’t want to see who’s the baddest guy on the block. We don’t want deputies and suspects throwing punches and hurting each other. Our goal was to stop the fight right away and it did just that, one deployment of the taser put him on the ground. The fight was over. We were able to immediately handcuff him, secure him, arrest him. We charged him with multiple counts of violation of state laws between the battery on the clerk, the aggravated battery of a police officer. Battering a police officer enhances it from a misdemeanor to a felony. So it becomes felony battery. There are resisting charges with violence. So he gets arrested for felony resisting arrest with violence, battery on a police officer felony, battery on a clerk for misdemeanor and we look at the end game, all for what? At the end of the day, it’s for nothing. Stupid acts result in bad things occurring. So here’s a stupid act and he’s where he needs to be in Rick Ramsay’s a bed and breakfast.”

Marijuana was found washed up off Key Largo recently by a couple of paddleboarders.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “We’ve been finding, our citizens have been finding lately a lot of narcotics floating, either close to the shoreline or just off shore. Two paddleboarders were up around a boat ramp area and they found something floating unusual. They went and inspected it, it wound up being a bale of marijuana. They notified authorities, we came out and determined it was in fact marijuana. We contacted the federal government, border patrol came out and took possession of it. They take possession of the marijuana, the cocaine we find. They try to identify the packaging, any markings try to determine where it may have come from, what cartel, how long it may have been at sea. After they’ve got all the investigative stuff off they can, they dispose of and destroy it. But again, always interesting stuff for our citizens and visitors when they do find this stuff. They have a story that will last their lifetime about finding drugs floating in Florida Keys and it does keep the history of drug smuggling in the Keys alive for sure, because it shows that it’s still occurring.”

Scuba divers recently found 25 individually wrapped kilograms of suspected cocaine.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “This was a bale of about 25 kilos. They were in about 100 feet diving but the bales weren’t submerged at the bottom. They found it while they were out there diving. They did bring it in and reported it and there were 25 individually wrapped kilos and a kilo is 2.2 pounds. So we’re looking at about 55 pounds of pure uncut cocaine. They’re packaged really nice. Most of the packages were dry because they were taped so well. They have these things at sea so they really package these things well, anticipating that they can be dropped in the ocean or may get wet. So generally these bales of cocaine will make it here intact for the most part, but that’s a big haul. We see one or two kilos here and there. But to see a bale of cocaine, 25 kilos is a little bit unusual, an anomaly. That’s a lot of dope and that’s a lot of money. We’re glad someone found it and turned it in versus some people who may find it and then do nefarious stuff with it and try to sell and make money. We’re glad they did the right thing and contacted authorities. We secured it and we later on turned it over to our friends at border patrol for analysis, intelligence, and ultimately destruction.”

A cold case arrest occurred last week in Marathon. A man from Marathon was charged with murder in the 2008 death of a 48 year old from Marathon.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “It just goes to show that we remain vigilant on these cases. We’ve made several cold case arrests the last couple of years. Across the nation, new technology, genealogy, different stuff occurring, another look at it, another run at it, this was a person of interest way back then, that remained the person of interest that has ultimately been arrested. This was a young lady, a 48 year old female, we believe was a prostitute at the time, and was found, her body deceased on 24th Street under a pile of wood chips. I remember being on the scene in that case myself, 15 years ago, we’ve continued to try to keep looking at it to get some justice for the victim and the families in this case. Ultimately, we were working closely with FDLE, the State Attorney’s Office, the Sheriff’s Office. The person was already in custody at the Monroe County Jail on other related charges. So it wasn’t too hard to find him because he was in our jail and we served a warrant on him for the murder of this the female back in 2008. So it just goes to show that we continue to be vigilant, continue to not forget about these victims, and we’re going to continue to do our job to try to solve crimes no matter how old they are.”

Two Miami Florida anglers have prior violations with FWC and have been given order to appear in court for yet another violation of resources.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “Most offenders continue to reoffend. Two Miami Dade County men were fishing and deputies inspected their catch and determined they had a undersized snapper, both of them in their possession. So they’re both given notice to appear. We keep trying to send a message we’re going to protect our resources here the best we can. We’re going to help aid and assist our friends at FWC. We’re going to hold people accountable. This is not the place to commit these types of crimes. We’re going to continue to be vigilant and do what we can to make sure the resources exist for future generations.”