Big Pine man faces drug charges
A Big Pine Key man was arrested on outstanding drug related warrants Monday night.
33 year old Daniel Stokes is accused of selling illegal narcotics to an undercover operative three times, once in February and twice in May. In February, he sold cocaine; in May, he sold Oxycodone and Xanax. All the sales took place on Big Pine Key.
Stokes was picked up just after 10 p.m. on Avenue G, Big Pine Key. He faces multiple counts of sale of illegal drugs and use of a two way communications device to facilitate a felony. Total bond is $10,500.00.
Office manager steals large amount of money from Marathon business
A Marathon woman was arrested Monday, charged with stealing over $80,000 from her employer, Marathon Garbage Service, over the past five months.
One of the duties of front office manager 34 year old Michelle Ludwig was to do payroll for the company. She is accused of writing checks to herself over and above her normal paychecks and using the scanned electronic signature of the owner to sign the checks. She cashed the 69 checks, totaling $83,443.65, on a weekly basis since February.
The company’s accountant told Detective Rosary Ponce she had been asking Ludwig for company records for two months and finally received the records on July 17th. She said after reviewing the records, she noticed discrepancies. When she confronted Ludwig with the issues, Ludwig reportedly admitted to stealing the money. She told the accountant she had a drug addiction and was using the stolen money to finance it. After admitting the theft to the accountant, she went to the company’s president, Ronald Konrath, and told him what she had been doing. She told Konrath she had been forging his father’s signature on the checks and said she wanted to repay the money. At that point, the Konrath family that owns the company notified the Sheriff’s Office and said they wished to press charges.
On July 21st, Detective Rosary Ponce began investigating the theft. She obtained a warrant for Ludwig, who turned herself in on Monday. Ludwig is charged with 69 counts each of grand theft, forgery and fraud. Her bond was set at $207,000.
Marathon man caught with over the limit lobster
A Marathon man was arrested on Wedndsday after he was caught making multiple trips out on the water to bully net for lobster.
Deputies Matthew Cory and Orey Swilley were on patrol in the early morning hours in Marathon, keeping an eye out for violators during the beginning hours of the sport lobster season. They were conducting resource violation checks at the 33rd Street boat ramp at 2:30 a.m. when they received information about a man making multiple trips to land with lobster from his boat, which was located off the gulf side at the north end of Marathon.
The deputies could see the boat from shore and watched him as he made several trips to shore with lobster, putting them in black wire trap in shallow water just offshore near a trap yard. After an observation period, the deputies, assisted by an officer from the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, stopped the man, identifying him as 78 year old Nicolas Moreira. When they asked him how many lobster he had, he said one. He indeed had one undersized lobster in his boat at the time. They then checked the trap they had seen him placing lobster in, finding 32 more live lobster which were measured and returned to the water.
Moreira was charged with possession of one undersized lobster and with possession of over the limit lobster. He was taken to jail.