Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Marine deputy gets down and dirty to find resource violators

guerra2Willy Guerra keeps a dry uniform ready at home because his clothes are often wet from jumping into Florida Keys waters to catch criminals. Guerra, the chief Monroe County Sheriff’s Office marine deputy who is based in Marathon, is no stranger to hiding out and waiting to catch those who would deplete the Keys’ natural resources — fish and lobster in particular. Since he became a marine deputy in 2005, Guerra’s hidden in a garbage can, on top of a sewer treatment plant and in mangroves, staking out criminal activity at all hours of the day and night. Tuesday, the Marathon City Council commended Guerra with a plaque for his efforts. One particular case from 2015 involving a man from Miami who was prosecuted for stealing lobster in Marathon was highlighted. Bill Kelly, executive director the Florida Keys Commercial Fishermen’s Association, said George Vargas worked for at least three years in Marathon poaching lobster. In one night, Guerra caught Vargas with 267 wrung lobster tails of all sizes. They weighed out at 225 pounds with a commercial value of $4,205. “He made $723,000 in a year if he worked all year and we know he did that for at least three years, so we’re talking $2.16 million he absconded with from the men and women in the commercial fishing industry,” Kelly said. Read the story here 09:51