Officers arrest 2 men accused of kidnapping Key deer

Yoankis Hernandez Pena, 38, and Andres Leon Valdes, 45 (Monroe County Sheriff's Office)

MONROE COUNTY, Fla. – Police arrested two South Florida men Sunday after a live Key deer was found in their truck.

The deer was discovered following a traffic stop in Marathon.

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

Deputies found an injured deer inside the vehicle, on top of a cooler, lawn chairs and other various objects.

There were two men in the vehicle, and they admitted to striking the deer on U.S. 1 north of the Seven Mile Bridge and initially believed to have killed it, authorities said.

MCSO said in a release “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.”

Officers from Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission responded to further investigate.

The FWC eventually charged Yoankis Hernandez Pena, 38, and Andres Leon Valdes, 45, with cruelty to animals and taking, possessing or selling a federally designated endangered or threatened species.

Authorities said the injured deer was taken to U.S. Fish and Wildlife officials on Big Pine Key to be treated.

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

About the Author:

David Dwork joined the WPLG Local 10 News team in August 2019. Born and raised in Miami-Dade County, David has covered South Florida sports since 2007.