Work never stops for the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department

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 rally to talk about the potential judicial consolidation between Monroe County and Miami-Dade County happened this weekend.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “I think the consolidation is a bad thing for Keys residents in Monroe. We have a really good system here between our law enforcement, our prosecutors and our judges, who really do a good job to protect our citizens, to take criminal actions, very serious, hold them accountable. We find Miami Dade County has a backlog of cases. They’re so busy, they don’t have time to spend the efforts we do on these cases. They have so many more serious crimes. The crimes we have here are not a big deal to them. We’re very worried about cases that we normally have big sentences for, we take serious to send a message to Miami Dade County residents who for most part come down here, a lot of them to commit crimes, this is not the place to come. So if Dade County gets involved, we think we’re going to be lost in the shuffle that they got so many big problems in Miami Dade County, they’re not going to care about little stuff. We’re going to see cases are going to be dismissed, dropped, no process. At the end of the day is it’s going to make it easier for people to want to come down here to commit crimes because there’s going to be less accountability than there was under our rule. We want to control of our destiny here in Monroe, and hold people accountable, not have others in different jurisdictions making decisions for us. We’ll see with consolidation, no state attorney, no public defender. I don’t think a clerk. You’ll see judges elected by Dade County residents that affect here in Monroe. Nothing against Miami Dade County people but they have a right to vote for their own people. So should we and we will see our victims almost being re-victimized because if you have to press charges against somebody, your cases are going to be in Miami Dade County, which means our victims are going to drive to Miami, find parking, go to the judicial system. Witnesses as well will have to be up there and we’ll see witnesses not showing up. We’ll see victims that are going to just sign no prosecution forms because it’s too much of a hassle, which again, are only going to help criminals to continue to victimize citizens. So we think it’s a really, really bad thing at all levels. We hope that it doesn’t occur.”

A Big Pine Key man was found leaving more than 10,000 pounds of trash on the side of the road recently.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “You and our listeners know how I feel about clean neighborhoods. The neighborhoods are really important for our citizens for a lot of reasons. Clean neighborhoods are safer neighborhoods. We did have an area on Big Pine, where we had a big pile of trash debris all sudden show up and it was a lot of different stuff, woods and trailer parts. We had county services come out. We weighed out about 10,500 pounds of debris. We had detectives start investigating this and going through the trash, looking for signs of addresses, names, information, trying to determine where it came from, canvassing the neighborhood looking for witnesses. We tracked it down to a Big Pine man. A 65 year old male from Big Pine when confronted, admitted to starting to pile and he told us later on he was going to have someone pick it up eventually. But you know, that’s always a story that doesn’t pan out. If you’re going to have them pick up the stuff, you’d have them pick it up from your house where it’s at. You wouldn’t call and dump it on a right of way. When people put stuff on the right of way, it encourages others to dump and we start seeing these piles just amass. It took law enforcement and county services to pick up someone else’s mess. Ultimately arrested him for felony dumping. He’s going to be held accountable by the courts, and he’s going to pay restitution for the cost to remove all that trash and garbage. So we’re trying to send a message to others. There’s a proper way to dispose of trash and garbage and debris, whether it be a special pickup, which is not that much money or whether it be to go to a landfill or whether it goes in some type of solid waste. There is a building to get rid of stuff, not just dump your stuff in neighborhoods. It’s terrible.”

A 31 year old Miami Dade Florida man who was wanted for theft was arrested Saturday on multiple drug charges following a traffic stop on US 1.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “When we encountered him, we did see an open container of alcohol. We had the strong odor of marijuana coming out of vehicle. The individual did not have a medical marijuana card, which gave us probable cause to search the car. We did find inside the car fentanyl, methamphetamine, other related drugs and drug paraphernalia. He had two outstanding warrants from Miami Dade County for theft. The person had no driver’s license. So this person was a hazard in every which way. We had an uninsured operator driving a car who’s under the influence of marijuana and alcohol at the same time, driving down our streets. So he’s a hazard for public safety. But also clearly a criminal with warrants in another jurisdiction, as well as a drug dealer, that amount of drugs and that quantity of drugs is not indication of an individual who’s just using for personal recreational use. When you see a mixture of drugs and drug paraphernalia, it generally indicates that the person is selling drugs. I’m really proud of my men and women to enforce our traffic laws and to go further to investigate what they’re doing down here. Get these drugs off the streets, get this unlicensed driver up the street, tow his car, arrest him and hold him accountable.”

The public was notified of a sexual predator living in Monroe County and that is required by Florida law.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “This individual actually homeless living up around the Book Key Bridge area on 20th Street where there’s a lot of homeless encampments out there. They are required to register as a sexual offenders and we do our part to notify citizens of these individuals. A lot of citizens want us to run them out of town and don’t want them here. We get it. But they have a right to exist. But we do have a right to inform our citizens about them, their whereabouts, where they’re living, where they’re residing. While they’re there, we do periodic checks to make sure they’re still there. If they move, they have to tell us where they’re at. If they don’t register or don’t do their stuff, we move to get them arrested. But it’s scary if you’re a parent with kids to have sexual offenders in your community. But every community does have sexual offenders that live in those communities. There’s a lot more sexual offenders than we would like to believe unfortunately.”

There’s also a continuing problem with GPS theft. A 23 year old Key West Florida man was arrested Thursday for his role in the theft of $65,000 worth of marine Garmin GPS units.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “Two guys came out of the Lower Keys, Stock Island area, went up to the 85.5 mile marker to a big marina and one person, the driver dropped off the other partner who went through the fence and was stealing GPSs. He attacked four vessels and stole seven GPSs out of four vessels and then called for his partner to pick him up. His partner picked him up. They headed south back towards the lower Keys. We soon identified the car that was involved in this crime, put a BOLO, be on the lookout for. We identified the car in the Stock Island area. We did stop the car with only one person involved that was a 23 year old male who admitted to involvement in this, admitted to driving up this other individual and dropping him off for the crime and then coming back to pick him up. So we did arrest him for five vessel burglaries and for the Grand Theft of $65,000 worth of equipment. That case is ongoing. We tried to identify the second person who’s involved in us and hopefully we can try to recover those properties. But we take these hardline stance on these people who are stealing our GPSs. Tthe sheriff’s office is very aggressive to combat and investigate and solve crime. We’re going to continue to be vigilant, hold people accountable, to try to stop crime, and what does occur to investigate, solve it and arrest people.”

A man at Key West airport was found in a restricted area recently.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “We do have deputies who work around the clock at the airport, Key West International airport. We know that post 9/11, airports are all secured facilities, under TSA rules and regulations you can’t go on there without having access to what’s called a SIDA badge or being there for legitimate lawful reasons. We did find about 5 a.m. in the morning, and we do know the airports under construction as well, we did find a man who was roaming around the airport about 5 a.m. in the construction zone area. He had no lawful reason to be there, was not up there with any lawful criteria or identification to be there. He was arrested for felony trespassing on the international airport grounds, but also in a construction zone. So very unusual, very odd. We don’t know why he was there. But it does happen. At times we have people jump the gate and come on to the airport grounds. We do perimeter checks of the airport all the time. We’re always worried about Homeland Security and terrorist activities where people try and do something to an aircraft. So again, we don’t know, we may never know why he was there, but it just shows the sheriff’s office is vigilant and we’re doing a little bit of everything and that we’re on top of our game to get these people before something bad can occur.”

Two men from Holmes Beach, Florida, were arrested in Monroe County for fentanyl and ecstasy following a traffic stop.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “This is a good case of a partnership. So I always talk about partnerships for state, local and federal partners. This was a traffic stop by the sheriff’s office about the 5.5 mile marker while with these two individuals, deputies had concerns about potential narcotics in the vehicle. We contacted our friends at Key West Police Department who had a canine on duty. Key West Police sent out a canine who responded to the scene. The canine did alert to the presence of narcotics pretty quickly, which gave us probable cause to search the vehicle. We did have these two men a 31 and 33 year old male inside the vehicle. We did find fentanyl and ecstasy in the passenger compartment of the vehicle. We did arrest both individuals for the felony charges of drugs. So again, continue to say how vigilant the sheriff’s office is to try to combat the war on drugs, as difficult as it is. We try to send a strong message to other people that you’re more likely to get stopped, arrested, prosecuted, and spend more time in jail here in Monroe than other places. This is not the place to be slinging drugs, because you’re more likely to get caught. It also shows a strong partnership that we have with our other law enforcement agencies to work together to solve crime and make good things happen for our citizens.”