Deputies and detectives with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office have had a busy week, with violent crimes, gun and drug arrests. Here’s a rundown of recent cases:
K9 Coral helps find cocaine and heroin
The sheriff’s office’s new K9, Coral, helped find trafficking amounts of cocaine and heroin in separate traffic stops on Oct. 19.
In the first case, a 32-year-old Big Pine Key motorist was stopped for a window tint violation. The driver, identified as Jerome Durham, did not have vehicle registration. K9 Coral alerted to 4.1 ounces of cocaine in the vehicle. Durham was charged with cocaine trafficking. He was also cited for illegal window tint.
In the second case, a 54-year-old Big Pine Key man was stopped in Marathon. The front passenger, James Leroy White, tried to throw a bag into a nearby storm drain. The bag contained slightly more than one ounce of heroin. A small amount of marijuana, about 0.7 grams, also was found inside the truck. White was charged with heroin trafficking, tampering with evidence, possession of marijuana and resisting arrest. White was out of jail on a $45,000 bail stemming from his Oct. 15 arrest in which he fled from a traffic stop and jumped into a canal on Little Torch Key. White was released from Florida prison in September 2019 after serving two years for drug-related charges.
Man arrested in Marathon for gun and drugs
A 20-year-old Wellington, Florida man was arrested Oct. 16 in Marathon after a traffic stop revealed an AR-15-style gun and marijuana.
Chandler Jamar Loiseau was charged with possessing a firearm during the commission of a felony, carrying an unlicensed concealed firearm, possession of marijuana with intent to sell, possession of more than 20 grams of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and driving with a suspended license. The following items were found in the truck:
• A Mossberg 715P AR-15-style pistol and a magazine containing .22-caliber ammunition; one box of .22-caliber ammunition; 25.1 grams of marijuana in various bags; a glass water pipe and a regular glass pipe; a digital scale; a box of sandwich bags and rolling papers
Loiseau was taken to jail.
Man arrested for illegal firearm
A 69-year-old Key Largo man was arrested Oct 15 for possessing an AR-15 rifle with a “bump stock” attached, which the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) classified as illegal in 2019.
Jorge Poo was charged with possessing a bump stock firearm.
The case began May 1 when Poo was arrested and charged with aggravated assault after pointing a gun at a group of people at a Key Largo condominium. There had been an argument over people driving golf carts on condo grass. Shortly after Poo’s arrest, a county judge granted the sheriff’s office the authority to remove all the firearms from Poo’s residence until his criminal matter was resolved.
Detectives arrived at Poo’s residence on May 12 with that order and Poo obliged. Detectives recovered an Ruger AR-15 rifle with a bump stock on that day.
Bump stocks or bump fire stocks are gun stocks that can be used to assist in “bump” firing, the act of using the recoil of a semi-automatic gun to fire ammunition in rapid succession.
In March 2019, the ATF made bump stocks illegal to own or sell.
A warrant was issued for Poo’s arrest and he was booked into jail on Oct. 16.
Man arrested after stabbing/gun incident
A 57-year-old Big Pine Key man was arrested Oct. 15 night after stabbing and pointing a rifle at another man.
Rodney Steven Heath was charged with aggravated battery and aggravated assault with a weapon.
No life-threatening injuries were reported.
Deputies responded to a Big Pine residence regarding a domestic incident in which a stabbing occurred. There they found Heath and a man who is dating a family member of Heath’s. Heath and the 36-year-old male victim were arguing over a family matter. Heath went to the backyard and untied the victim’s boat from a dock. The men began physically fighting when Heath brandished a pocket knife. The victim was cut on his head, chest and stomach. He also had a puncture wound to his abdomen.
The victim said Heath then went back inside and he followed. At some point inside, Heath brandished an AR-15 rifle. Heath pushed the victim with the barrel of the rifle. Cell phone video taken by the victim corroborated his account. Heath was taken to jail.