East Naples mother, son charged with insurance fraud
An East Naples mother and son were arrested Friday on insurance fraud charges after the son admitted pretending his sick mother was the driver in a crash so she could get medical care.
Amalia Soto Escalante, 43, and Kelvin Enrique Escalante, 23, of the 2700 block of Linwood Avenue, East Naples, were booked into the Collier County jail and charged with insurance fraud, a third-degree felony, involving a crash last year.
A sworn statement by Detective Glen Clasen of the Florida Department of Financial Services Fraud Division gives this account:
Kelvin Escalante crashed into a woman driving on U.S. 41 East and Bayshore Drive in January 2011. His mother drove to there and got into the passenger side of the truck. The son told the driver he had problems from past crashes, his mother owned the truck and had insurance and tried to confuse the woman that his mother was driving.
The son and woman driver both told Collier sheriff's deputies they weren't injured and the son recommended the woman go to a certain body shop because it was good and inexpensive.
The mother later signed an affidavit that she was the driver and began getting treatment from a chiropractor and massage therapist, racking up $8,781 for that and X-rays.
The Escalantes hired an attorney, who sent a letter to the woman driver's insurance company.
But the woman told her insurance company she had no doubt the son was the only one in the truck. Her husband, a retired New York cop, called the Escalantes' attorney and went to the body shop, where the son did part-time work, and threatened to have the employee arrested on fraud charges.
K9 sniffs out 90 pounds of marijuana in Lee
A Lee County sheriff's detective who spotted a passenger without a seat belt in a sport utility vehicle on Interstate 75 made a marijuana bust Friday night after his K9 dog sniffed out 90 pounds of pot in the trunk.
A sheriff's detective stopped the 2010 Chevrolet Suburban at 4:30 p.m. and became suspicious when the two people inside the SUV didn't know each other's first or last names, a report said.
The detective conducted a computer check, which showed the passenger had a prior criminal history for distributing marijuana. The detective also spotted six large boxes in the SUV's cargo area, the report said, so his K9 partner, "Cole," sniffed and confirmed there were drugs inside.
Each box contained orange plastic canisters filled with Styrofoam peanuts that surrounded marijuana worth about $360,000 on the streets, the report said, adding that an investigation later revealed the suspect was traveling from the Miami area to Bradenton to deliver the marijuana.
Khalfani Robb, 31, of Miramar, was charged with trafficking more than 25 pounds of marijuana, possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute, and keeping a vehicle for a controlled substance.
He was booked into the Lee County jail and faces up to 30 years in state prison without release for three years and a $50,000 fine.
Robb was the passenger; a sheriff's press release doesn't address why the driver of the vehicle wasn't arrested.
Speeding car ends in cocaine bust
A white Nissan doing 99 mph on Alligator Alley on Friday night attracted the notice of a state trooper, who found more than 2½ pounds of cocaine in the trunk and marijuana in the driver's sock, a report said.
Eric Renaldo Williams, 27, of Tampa, faces up to 30 years in a state prison without release for 15 years if convicted of the cocaine possession charge, a first-degree felony, and 15 years for felony possession with intent to sell, if convicted. He is being held in the Collier County jail on $21,750 bond.
Shortly before 6 p.m., Trooper J.R. Moore was on patrol near mile marker 95, when he spotted the car eastbound and estimated it was doing 100 mph, a report said. He turned on his radar, which showed 99 mph, and stopped the car on the shoulder.
The driver said he'd left his license at home, and was using the name Titus Williams. But the trooper checked his fingerprints and discovered that was a bogus name and birth date, his license was suspended and he was wanted in Hillsborough County.
Due to a strong marijuana odor, the report said, the trooper searched the car and found the roughly 2½-pound brick of cocaine, tightly wrapped in a backpack in the trunk. As he continued searching, Williams yelled to him and let him take off his shoe, where there was about a quarter-ounce of marijuana stashed in a plastic bag in his sock.
Williams also was charged with driving with a suspended license, a third-degree felony, and misdemeanor counts of providing a false name and marijuana possession.
Cleaning woman charged with theft of client's ring
An East Naples cleaning lady was arrested on a grand theft charge involving a jewelry heist Friday after showing up to the client's home with a diamond engagement ring still on her hand.
A Collier deputy had to use soap to remove the ring, which was stuck on April Louise Reiss' finger.
Reiss, 24, of the 100 block of Lakeside Drive, who told deputies her name was Aprill, was booked into the county jail Friday on a third-degree felony charge. Court records show her rap sheet includes two convictions for petty theft and arrests accusing her of attempted robbery and two batteries.
An arrest report gives this account:
A deputy drove to the Royal Wood neighborhood in East Naples, where he found the woman and her employer. The employer told deputies he'd hired Reiss three weeks ago and had received a call from the client who complained she was missing jewelry that she keeps in a box in her dresser's top drawer.
Knowing Reiss had just cleaned the home that day, the employer contacted Reiss and asked her to meet him at the client's home. When she arrived, the employer noticed she was wearing one of the rings the client had described and the client then verified it was hers.
■ Jakhari Durden, 22, of the 3100 block of U.S. 41 East, East Naples, was arrested Thursday on felony charges of opium trafficking involving oxycodone, two cocaine sales, cocaine possession, marijuana possession and possession of narcotics paraphernalia. He was arrested by Collier deputies after three undercover drug buys at a local hotel, where deputies say they found drugs in his room.
■ Christopher Gaines Wright, 44, of the 3100 block of U.S. 41 East, East Naples, was arrested Thursday on felony charges of opium trafficking involving oxycodone, two cocaine sales, cocaine possession, marijuana possession and possession of narcotics paraphernalia. He was arrested by Collier deputies after three undercover drug buys at a local hotel, where deputies say they found drugs in his room.
■ Danial Lee Ashley, 31, of the 4600 block of 19th Place Southwest, Golden Gate, was arrested Friday by Collier deputies on felony opium possession charges after an undercover bust involving oxycodone pills.
■ Aaron Artenga Lopez, 43, of the 400 block of 15th Street Southeast, Immokalee, was arrested Friday on a charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon after a man told deputies Artenga attacked him with a machete because he didn't have the money he owes Artenga. He also is charged with violating probation on a criminal mischief charge.
Domestic violence arrests
■ Anthony Lim, 68, of the 200 block of River Drive, East Naples, was arrested by Collier deputies Friday on a warrant for his arrest on a misdemeanor domestic violence battery charge involving an incident the day before.
■ Matthew William Kennedy, 26, of the 700 block of Apple Court, Marco Island, was arrested by Collier deputies Friday on a warrant for his arrest on a misdemeanor domestic violence battery charge involving a Jan. 26 incident.
■ James Tanner Clark, 31, of the 2000 block of Monroe Avenue, East Naples, was arrested Thursday by Collier deputies on a misdemeanor domestic violence battery charge after his wife said she took his keys away to prevent him from driving drunk, he put her in a choke hold, twisted her fingers, pulled her hair, threw her on the bed and tried to smother her while their children were home.
■ Agustin Loyola Patino, 64, of the 3100 block of U.S. 41 East, East Naples, was arrested by Collier deputies Friday on a warrant involving a DUI crash with property damage a day earlier.