Two men arrested in connection with counterfeit money

Two men were arrested this afternoon in Key Largo, one for passing a counterfeit $100 bill and one for possessing a counterfeit $100 bill.

Sheriff’s dispatchers received a call at 1:30 p.m. from Keys Castaways at the 99 mile marker of Highway U.S. One. They were reporting a man just tried to use a counterfeit $100 bill in the store. The store employee refused to take the bill. The suspect left southbound in a white Nissan Altima with black front and rear bumpers.

Officers who heard the notice to be on the lookout for the car began watching for it. Sgt. Syd Whitehouse found the car parked in Tavernier Towne parking lot with two men inside. They only spoke Spanish so Detective Orlando Alvarez responded to assist with translation. Detectives Lance Hernandez and Ian Barnet also responded to the scene to investigate.

The men said they were cousins and had traveled to the Keys to “see the sights”. They agreed to allow officers to search their wallets and search the car.

In the wallet belonging to driver 48 year old Carlos Fabelo of Miami, detectives found a counterfeit $100 bill. In the vehicle, they found a walking cane Alexander Hernandez-Ramirez said he bought for his elderly grandmother in Cuba. A receipt was found in the car for the cane. He’d purchased it at Medical Care Services Florida Keys for $21.50 using a $100 bill.

Detectives contacted that company by phone. The owner of the store confirmed the $100 bill used to purchase the cane was counterfeit. He later positively identified Ramirez and the man who used the bill to pay for the cane.

Both men were arrested. Fabelo was charged with possession of a counterfeit bill and Ramirez with passing a counterfeit bill. They were booked into the Monroe County Detention Center.