Monroe County

2 Miami Men Arrested for Illegally Taking Deer From Florida Keys

During a traffic stop, the men were found with an injured Key deer laying inside of their vehicle on top of miscellaneous objects.

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Two Miami men were arrested Sunday after a Key deer was found in their truck following a traffic stop in Marathon.

At approximately 1:56 a.m., the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office stopped a blue Chevrolet hatchback-style vehicle near Mile Marker 56 that was failing to stay in its lane.

According to the report released by the Monroe County Sheriff's Office, deputies quickly realized the vehicle was not staying in its lane because there was an injured Key deer inside of the vehicle on top of a cooler, lawn chairs, and other miscellaneous objects.

The two men in the vehicle said they struck the Key deer on U.S. 1 north of the Seven Mile Bridge and initially thought it was dead, the report stated.

According to the police report, that area is not consistent with the known Key deer habitat, specifically Big Pine Key, No Name Key and patches of other areas in the Lower Keys.

Yoankis Hernandez Pena, 38, and Andres Leon Valdes, 45, stated they initially thought the deer was dead but realized the deer was still alive, so they decided to take it to a veterinarian in Miami for treatment. Both men stated they never called 911, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, according to the report.

Pena and Valdes admitted to putting the deer in the vehicle and were arrested and taken to jail, according to the report.

The Florida Wildlife Commission charged the men with cruelty to animals and taking, possessing, or selling a federally designated endangered or threatened species. 

The deer was taken alive to U.S. Fish and Wildlife officials on Big Pine Key where it is being treated by a veterinarian.

The deer will be released back into the wild if it survives. 

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