Monday September 21, 2020

COVID-19 cases in Hendry County have reached 2,044. This includes 7 teachers and students that have reported positive results since testing began in March. To date, 42 people have died. As of the last report, 18 students and teachers are currently under quarantine. The Department of Health conducted testing over the weekend at Clewiston Middle School. Contact your local health department or hospital for testing in your area.

In accordance with Chapter 775 the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office is advising the public about a declared Sexual Predator, Joseph Carmona, Date of Birth: 12/25/1954, who is now residing at 104 Pelican Lake Drive, Pahokee, FL  33476-3102.  

On Thursday, September 17, 2020, the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Unit, with the assistance of the SWAT Team, conducted a search warrant on a property, in Montura Ranch Estates, in Hendry County.  37-year-old Deynier Salazar Prieto operated an indoor marijuana grow house within a semi-trailer on a property on Lindero street, which was being powered by $20,000 in stolen electricity.  Several live marijuana plants were seized as evidence in addition to numerous vacuum sealed bags containing marijuana, according to the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office.   Deputies seized 21.72 pounds of marijuana which was prepackaged for sale, two firearms, and over $1707.00 in cash. Prieto was taken into custody and charged with Cultivation of Marijuana, Possession of Marijuana with Intent to Sell, Theft of Utilities to Manufacture a Controlled Substance, Possession and Use of Drug Equipment and Operating a Drug House. He has since been released on $20,000.00 bond.

A 22-year-old Davie man died and three people sustained serious injuries in a three-car crash in western Palm Beach County on Friday morning, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.  Officers were dispatched to East Canal Street, just east of Senter Road and south of State Road 80, at about 7 a.m. According to FHP’s report, two sedans were traveling northeast on County Road 880, when one attempted to make a right turn near Senter Road. The driver from Davie failed to slow down in time and crashed into the rear of the other sedan. His vehicle overturned and veered into the path of a pickup traveling southeast. The pickup collided into a guardrail. A 25-year-old man and a 22-year-old woman in the Davie man’s car sustained serious injuries, FHP said. The driver of the second vehicle, a 30-year-old Belle Glade woman, also had serious injuries. Her passenger, a 32-year-old Belle Glade man, had minor injuries. The pickup driver, a 47-year-old Royal Palm Beach man, was not injured. Investigators said two people were flown by Trauma Hawk to St. Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach. The victims names have been withheld due to Marsy’s Law.

Hendry County Sheriff’s Office reports, a Glades County corrections officer was arrested Friday on evidence tampering charges in relation to the shooting death of Clewiston man Anthony Balkcom. According to a report, 34-year-old Balkcom was found unresponsive by another deputy in the 800 block of Harlem Tenant Circle on September 10. Investigators say body cam footage shows, Jakaybren Hunter, 29, stepping on a gun that was lying near Balkcom. Then Hunter pulled down the sleeves of her shirt, covered her hand, picked up the gun up and left the area. Detectives say she denied it at first, but during a second interview, she admitted to stepping on the gun, but still denied removing it from the scene. Hunter was arrested on charges of tampering with evidence and obstructing a criminal investigation by providing false information to a law enforcement officer, HCSO reported. She is currently being held in the Hendry County Jail without bond.

A local news source reports that Hendry had a dramatic decrease in personal/property calls from 2018 and 2019. This information was shared at the Sept. 16 LaBelle City Commission meeting. The HCSO monthly report also stated that there has been an increase in vehicle thefts, specifically on the west side of the county. The report stated that in May there were two vehicle thefts, June had just one, July had seven, and August had three vehicle thefts. Several cases involved keys being left in the vehicle.