Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Suspect Sought In Drug Trafficking Investigation

WANTED; Rafael Lesende


The Collier County Sheriff’s Office is asking for the public’s help in finding a man wanted in connection with a long-term narcotics investigation that has netted 14 people so far and spanned decades in South Florida.

Rafael Lesende, 43, is wanted on an active Collier County Sheriff’s Office warrant for conspiracy to traffic cocaine 400 grams or more. His bond has been set at $500,000.

Lesende is described as Hispanic, 5 feet 8 inches tall and 190 pounds with black hair and brown eyes. His last known address is 311 3rd St. S.W. in Golden Gate.

Detectives say he is known to frequent the Naples Manor area in East Naples, where he has family living on Gilchrist Street and Floridian Avenue. He is also known to frequent Everglades City and Isles of Capri, where his vessel, “Sea Note,” is docked at Capri Fisheries, 218 Kon Tiki Drive.

Lesende is known to drive a black GMC Denali with Florida license plate number S531TM.

Anyone with information on Lesende’s whereabouts is asked to call the Collier County Sheriff’s Office at 239.252.9300, or to remain anonymous and be eligible for a reward, contact Crime Stoppers at 1.800.780.8477.

On Nov. 13, CCSO, in cooperation with Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Office of Statewide Prosecution and the Drug Enforcement Administration, rounded up 13 suspects whom detectives say conspired to traffic more than $1 million worth of cocaine. A 14th suspect turned himself in later. 

Original news release:
Long-Term Narcotics Investigation Nets 13 Arrests
Collier County Sheriff's Office
Posted Date:  11/13/2014 2:15 PM
On Nov. 13, 2014, the Collier County Sheriff’s Office, along with its partners at Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Office of Statewide Prosecution and the Drug Enforcement Administration, conducted an operation to arrest those involved in a drug trafficking conspiracy that has spanned decades in South Florida.

This investigation, initiated by the Collier County Sheriff’s Office, has been ongoing for approximately two years.

“The individuals who have been arrested in connection with this investigation are part of a drug trafficking organization that has plagued the citizens of South Florida for decades,” Collier County Sheriff Kevin Rambosk said. “Some have previous arrests and others have evaded arrest until now.”

The conspiracy was not confined to any single jurisdiction and arrests have been made in Dade, Collier and Lee counties Thursday.  Residences and vehicles were searched based on K-9 alerts, consent and search warrants. During the searches U.S. currency, vehicles, firearms and narcotics were seized at various locations.

"We, along with the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Collier County Sheriff's Office, have brought down this large-scale drug trafficking ring that has funneled drugs onto South Florida streets for years. My Office of Statewide Prosecution will aggressively prosecute these defendants," stated Attorney General Pam Bondi.

During the investigation detectives seized or purchased more than 13 kilograms of cocaine, with a street value of $442,000. Those involved in the conspiracy conspired to traffic approximately 30 kilograms of cocaine with a street value of approximately $1.02 million.

On Nov. 14, detectives seized approximately 10 ounces/283 grams of cocaine with a street value of $13,000, approximately 6 pounds of high-grade marijuana with a street value of $18,000, approximately 14.46 ounces/405 grams of methamphetamine with a street value $15,000, 6.5 grams of Xanax, four vehicles, two handguns and more than $40,000 in U.S. currency.
     
Some people connected to the organization have yet to be located. Their warrants will remain active until they are apprehended.

Summary of the allegations and charges:
Erlin Y. Carrasco
Conspired in total to traffic approximately 2,710 ounces (75,904) grams of cocaine.
•Conspiracy to traffic in cocaine 400 grams or more, but less than 150 kilograms, in violation of F.S.S. 893.135(5) (first-degree felony).
•Trafficking in cocaine 400 grams or more, but less than 150 kilograms, in violation of F.S.S. 893.135(1)(b)(1)(c).

Jonny Gonzalez-Tia
Conspired in total to traffic approximately 51 ounces (1,428 grams) of cocaine.
•Conspiracy to traffic in cocaine 400 grams or more, but less than 150 kilograms, in violation of F.S.S. 893.135(5).

Tomas E. Ruiz-Serrano
Conspired in total to traffic approximately 402 ounces (11,259 grams) of cocaine.
•Conspiracy to traffic in cocaine 400 grams or more, but less than 150 kilograms, in violation of F.S.S. 893.135(5).

Francisco Gato Jr.
Conspired in total to traffic approximately 972 ounces (27,216 grams) of cocaine.
•Conspiracy to traffic in cocaine 400 grams or more, but less than 150 kilograms, in violation of F.S.S. 893.135(5).•Trafficking in cocaine 400 grams or more, but less than 150 kilograms, in violation of F.S.S. 893.135(1) (b) (1) (c). 
     
Enrique Henry Lesende
Conspired in total to traffic approximately 289 ounces (8,092 grams) of cocaine.
•Conspiracy to traffic in cocaine 400 grams or more, but less than 150 kilograms, in violation of F.S.S. 893.135(5).

Fredrico Solis-Contreras
Conspired in total to traffic approximately 979 ounces (27,422 grams) of cocaine.
•Conspiracy to traffic in cocaine 400 grams or more, but less than 150 kilograms, in violation of F.S.S. 893.135(5).
•Trafficking in cocaine 28 grams or more, but less than 200 grams, in violation of F.S.S. 893.135(1) (b) (1) (a).

Jose Miguel Diaz
Conspired in total to traffic approximately 385 ounces (10,780 grams) of cocaine.
•Conspiracy to traffic in cocaine 400 grams or more, but less than 150 kilograms, in violation of F.S.S. 893.135(5).

Juan Rafael Ramos
Conspired in total to traffic approximately 4 ounces (112 grams) of cocaine
•Conspiracy to traffic in cocaine 400 grams or more, but less than 150 kilograms, in violation of F.S.S. 893.135(5).

Cristopher Thomas Ocampo
Conspired in total to traffic approximately 2.5 ounces (70 grams) of cocaine.
•Conspiracy to traffic in cocaine 400 grams or more, but less than 150 kilograms, in violation of F.S.S. 893.135(5).

Joel Melqui Vanegas
Conspired in total to traffic approximately 3 ounces (84 grams) of cocaine.
•Conspiracy to traffic in cocaine 400 grams or more, but less than 150 kilograms, in violation of F.S.S. 893.135(5).

Jeronimo Mendez-Cruz
Conspired in total to traffic approximately 3 ounces (84 grams) of cocaine.
•Conspiracy to traffic in cocaine 400 grams or more, but less than 150 kilograms, in violation of F.S.S. 893.135(5).

Orlando Daniel Avalos
Conspired in total to traffic approximately 258 ounces (7,224 grams) of cocaine.
•Charging him with conspiracy to traffic in cocaine 400 grams or more, but less than 150 kilograms, in violation of F.S.S. 893.135(5).

Nicolo Busi
Trafficked approximately (9) ounces (255 grams) of cocaine
•Trafficking cocaine over 200 grams in violation of F.S.S. 893.135.
•Possession of marijuana with intent to sell, manufacture or distribute in violation of F.S.S. 893.13-1a2
•Possession of marijuana over 20 grams in violation of F.S.S. 893.13-6a
•Possession of controlled substance Xanax in violation of F.S.S. 893.13-6a      

CCSO Offers Holiday Shopping Safety Tips

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, the Collier County Sheriff’s Office is busy planning ways to keep our community safe this holiday shopping season.

Deputies will be patrolling retail parking lots when shoppers hit the stores for Black Friday specials on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 27, and the day after, Nov. 28.

Throughout the holiday season, deputies will patrol on foot, in cars and on horseback. They’ll also use the agency’s Skywatch Sentinel to help keep a close eye on shopping center parking lots.

Deputies have been out reminding store managers to adjust parking lot lighting if they’re planning to offer extended hours of nighttime shopping.

CCSO also reminds the community to follow these holiday shopping tips:

* Shop during daylight hours when possible. If shopping at night, take a friend or family member and park in a well-lit area.

*Avoid wearing expensive jewelry.

* Do not carry a purse or wallet, if possible. They are prime targets in crowded areas. Keep cash in your front pocket.

* Avoid carrying large amounts of money.

* Be alert to your surroundings.

* Locate your keys and have them in your hand before you arrive at your car.

* Don’t leave new merchandise, wallets and purses in unattended vehicles.

CCSO also wants you to stay safe while shopping in cyberspace this holiday season. Thanks to the World Wide Web, the bulk of your shopping can be done online. You can even have your orders gift-wrapped. With the added convenience of shopping online, you need to know how to protect your bank account and identity.

Here are some tips to help keep your personal information safe:

* Use companies you know.

* When making purchases online, make sure the Web site you are using is secured with “https://www...” in the URL and make certain the padlock symbol is on the bottom of your browser.

* Read the company’s privacy statement carefully. Will they sell your personal information to other companies?

* Trust your instincts. If something doesn’t seem right, then it probably isn’t.

* Limit the amount of personal information you give out and print all online receipts.

* Consider obtaining a credit card that you use only when shopping online to easily keep track of all your purchases.

* If possible, call in your order.

* Notify the issuer if your credit card is lost or stolen.

Monday, November 24, 2014

CCSO Chief Hedberg Graduates From Chief Executive Seminar



A Collier County Sheriff’s Office chief is among 17 recent graduates of the Florida Criminal Justice Executive Institute’s Chief Executive Seminar.

Legal & Court Services Department Chief Michael Hedberg and his fellow graduates, representing criminal justice agencies from around Florida, were recognized at a ceremony in Tallahassee on Nov. 19.

Each graduate serves in a leadership role within his or her agency. Over a three-month period, the participants met for one week a month to take classes on topics such as managing generations, Florida economics, risk management, succession planning, and implementing strategic change.

The goal of the Chief Executive Seminar is to prepare Florida’s criminal justice leadership for the challenging demands of the future. Participants study trends and events that may affect criminal justice professionals and Florida, while developing new leadership skills to address the changes that lie ahead.

The Florida Criminal Justice Executive Institute, established within the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and affiliated with the state university system, was established in 1990 by the Florida Legislature in recognition of the need for an innovative and multifaceted approach to the education and training of criminal justice professionals.


Chief Hedberg is a graduate of the 48th Chief Executive Seminar.  

CCSO Earns National Reaccreditation

The Collier County Sheriff’s Office has earned reaccreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies Inc. (CALEA).  The reaccreditation was awarded Saturday, Nov. 22, during a CALEA conference in Albuquerque, N.M.

In July, a team of CALEA assessors examined all aspects of the Collier County Sheriff’s Office policy and procedures, management, operations, and support services. The team verified that the Sheriff’s Office meets the organization’s state-of-the-art standards. The assessment is part of a voluntary process to retain accreditation – a highly prized recognition of law enforcement professional excellence.  The Collier County Sheriff’s Office was originally accredited by CALEA in November, 1994, and reaccredited in 1999, 2002, 2005, 2008, and again in 2011.

The CCSO complied with more than 400 standards in order to earn reaccreditation.

“Maintaining law enforcement accreditation ensures that the citizens of Collier County are receiving the highest quality of public safety services possible,” Sheriff Kevin Rambosk said.

Assessors were particularly impressed with the agency’s ability to increase services while lowering the budget during the economic downturn. During the downturn, Sheriff Rambosk cut $20.6 million from the agency’s budget, for a cumulative $48 million reduction. Also during the downturn, the Sheriff introduced multiple programs including Summerfest, the Collier County Organized Retail Theft Association and the Call Before You “Pay” Fraud Hotline.

Accreditation is for three years, during which the Sheriff’s Office must submit annual reports attesting to continued compliance with those standards under which it was re-accredited.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

CCSO Names November “Do The Right Thing” Winners

Eight Collier County students were recently recognized for good deeds ranging from calling 911 to save their parent’s life and helping a lost child find their home.

The students were recognized at the second “Do The Right Thing” award ceremony for the 2014-15 school year at Lorenzo Walker Institute of Technology on Monday, Nov. 17.

The Collier County Sheriff's Office adopted the "Do the Right Thing" program in January 1988, and has honored hundreds of children for acts that reinforce good behavior, positive acts and outstanding accomplishments in the community.

The following students have been recognized for November:

Jeremiah Senecharles, kindergarten, Naples Christian Academy

Jeremiah was home with his father and two younger siblings when his father fell to the floor during a medical emergency. At 6-years-old, Jeremiah knew to call 911 immediately and was able to provide the dispatcher much-needed information for the emergency responders. Even though he was scared, Jeremiah’s quick actions helped save his father’s life.

Benjamin Quintana, fourth grade, Mike Davis Elementary School

During a class presentation on bullying by his Youth Relations deputy, Benjamin shared that he knew of another student who brought a BB gun on his bus the previous day. The deputy was able to take Benjamin’s information and locate two students, who were both found to have BB guns, and discipline them for their actions.

Jonica Louis, fifth grade, Pinecrest Elementary School

Jonica recently shared with her teacher how she had spotted a young man in her neighborhood step on and kill a baby chicken in the nest. Not only did she report this to her teacher, but at the time scolded the young man for his actions and moved the nest containing two more baby chickens to a safer location.

Brandon Martinez and Dukens Senatus, sixth grade, East Naples Middle School

Brandon and Dukens found a small child wandering the neighborhood without any supervision. They reported it to CCSO after first going door-to-door in their apartment complex in an attempt to find the child’s family. Deputies responded and were eventually able to locate the child’s home.

Alejandro Hernandez, eighth grade, Immokalee Middle School

During lunch at school Alejando noticed another student was in possession of two sharp objects. He was able to get the sharp objects away from the student and threw them in the trash so one would get hurt.

Jesus Marquez, eighth grade, Immokalee Middle School

While riding the bus home from school Jesus spotted another student scratching herself with a razor blade. Jesus reported the incident and the girl was able to receive the help she needed.

Cal Jordan, 12th grade, Golden Gate High School

Cal and his teacher grabbed a student who was preparing to hurt himself by jumping off the second floor of the school building. Cal and the teacher were able to quickly pull the student from over the railing, preventing him from jumping.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

7 CCSO Deputies Honored As Lifesavers


Dan Collins, a retired captain from DeSoto County Fire Rescue, hugs Cpl. Dan Kowal after presenting him and Sgt. Charles Frost (right) with Phoenix Awards at a ceremony honoring emergency responders Wednesday. Sgt. Frost and Cpl. Kowal helped save the life of Collins’ 40-year-old son Shawn Collins who accidentally came into contact with a power line. Photos by Cpl. Efrain Hernandez (3)

Bystanders were administering CPR to a 40-year-old linesman whose boom accidentally touched a power line in East Naples when Collier County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrived.

Sgt. Charles Frost and Cpl. Daniel Kowal determined that the man had no pulse. Cpl. Kowal quickly used his CCSO-issued automated external defibrillator (AED) and delivered one shock. He and Sgt. Frost then took turns continuing CPR on the man to bring back his heartbeat and breathing so he could go to the hospital for further treatment.

The man walked out of the hospital two weeks later.

On Wednesday, the man’s father gratefully presented certificates to Sgt. Frost and Cpl. Kowal, along with three East Naples firefighters and a Collier County Emergency Medical Services paramedic for their lifesaving efforts on July 3.

“That 40-year-old man was my little boy,” Dan Collins said choking back tears as he thanked them for saving his son Shawn Collins.

Dozens of emergency responders, including seven CCSO deputies, were honored with the prestigious Phoenix Award at a ceremony at Collier County Emergency Medical Services, 8075 Lely Cultural Parkway in East Naples.

The award recognizes local emergency responders who were involved in the rescue and treatment of a patient who has suffered cardiac arrest and was brought back to life after being found without a pulse.

Collins, who recently retired as a captain from DeSoto County Fire Rescue after 26 years, said his son was unable to attend the ceremony to personally thank his rescuers because he started a new job Wednesday.

He said that while his son’s rescuers may think they were just doing their job that day, he wanted them to know what they did was so much more.

“You just think that’s what you do but to me it’s not just what you do, it’s what you did,” Collins said.

The other CCSO Phoenix Award recipients are:
Cpl. Shannon Patton and Cpl. Jack Hazel: On Oct. 5, 2013, Cpl. Patton and Cpl. Hazel responded to a call of a man who was unconscious and not breathing. The deputies partnered to provide lifesaving assistance with CPR and an AED. Paramedics evaluated the patient and found pulses and respirations. The man was later discharged from the hospital alive.

Cpl. Scott Pepin: On Oct. 27, 2013, Cpl. Pepin was on patrol in East Naples when he was dispatched to a call of an 81-year-old man who was not breathing. When he arrived at the man’s residence he found the man unconscious on the floor.  He used his AED and CPR to resuscitate him. The man regained his pulse and was transported to the hospital, where he was later discharged alive.

Cpl. Ralph Scala: On Sept. 7, 2013, Cpl. Scala found a 62-year-old man on the floor with CPR in progress. He applied his AED and delivered one shock. The patient became awake and alert. He was transported to the hospital and discharged alive.    

Cpl. Daniel Kennedy: On Oct. 26, 2013, Cpl. Kennedy found an 83-year-old woman on her bedroom floor with CPR already in progress by another person in the home. He applied his AED but no shock was administered. He continued CPR. The woman’s pulse and breathing returned. She was discharged from the hospital alive. 
Cpl. Daniel Kennedy receives his Phoenix Award for lifesaving from Dr. Robert Tober, Collier County medical director, Wednesday.  



Seven Collier County Sheriff’s Office deputies received prestigious Phoenix Awards for lifesaving at a ceremony at Collier County Emergency Medical Services on Wednesday. From left, the deputies are Sgt. Charles Frost, Cpl. Daniel Kowal, Cpl. Shannon Patton, Cpl. Ralph Scala, Cpl. Jack Hazel, and Cpl. Scott Pepin. Not shown: Cpl. Daniel Kennedy.









CCSO Launches 9th Annual 'Celebrate With A Star' Toy/Clothing Drive

The community is invited to join the Collier County Sheriff’s Office as we make the holidays merry and bright for some deserving Collier kids currently dealing with traumatic, life-changing events.

This year’s CCSO “Celebrate With A Star” program will benefit Youth Haven.

Youth Haven is Southwest Florida’s residential emergency shelter for children ages 6-16 who have been removed from their homes due to abuse, neglect or abandonment. Youth Haven serves as an immediate lifeline of safety, love and compassion to these children. More than 2,400 children and families receive their services on an annual basis.

Click here to learn more about Youth Haven. 

Participating in “Celebrate With A Star” is easy. If you’d like to provide a gift for a child, just send an e-mail to media@colliersheriff.org and we will reply with a child’s age and his or her holiday wish.

Or, if you prefer, you may stop by and select an ornament from the tree in the Human Resources lobby of the Sheriff’s Office headquarters, 3319 U.S. 41 E., in the Collier County Government Center. Each ornament has a child’s holiday gift wish.

Youth Haven has requested gifts to be left unwrapped, but please make sure to securely attach the star provided to your donated gifts.

“Celebrate With A Star” gifts must be dropped off by Monday, Dec. 8. If you have any questions, call CCSO’s Media Relations Bureau at 252-0604 or e-mail media@colliesheriff.org.

Gifts may be dropped off in the Human Resources lobby of the Sheriff’s Office headquarters or at any of the following CCSO substation locations:

North Naples 

776 Vanderbilt Beach Road
Naples, FL 34108

Golden Gate 

4707 Golden Gate Parkway
Naples, FL 34116

East Naples 

8075 Lely Cultural Parkway
Naples, FL 34113

Golden Gate Estates 

1195 CR 858
Naples, FL 34120

Everglades 

32020 U.S. 41 East
Ochopee, FL 34141

Immokalee 

112 South First Street
Immokalee, FL 34142