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TownOfPalmBeach

 PRESS RELEASE

HURRICANE PREPAREDNESS - RESIDENT IDENTIFICATION CARDS

July 19, 2013

PALM BEACH, FL - The Town of Palm Beach Police Department is reminding residents that it is now offering resident identification cards for those residents who do not have another form of identification showing their Palm Beach address.

In the immediate aftermath of a hurricane, barricades will be placed at all entrances to the town. Police will permit entry into town in three phases:

* Phase I: No one except Town of Palm Beach Police, Fire-Rescue, and Public Works employees, as well as employees of Florida Power & Light, Florida Public Utilities, and telephone repair personnel will be admitted to the town. Town staff will conduct damage assessment to determine if and when it will be safe for others to return to town.

* Phase II: Access will be permitted only to residents and employees who have a valid, government-issued photo ID card showing a Town of Palm Beach street address. Residents and businesspersons can check their property to assess damages, and plan for such repairs as may be necessary. In order to prevent the entry into town of criminals and sightseers, tourists, beachgoers, etc., no one will be granted access without a government-issued photo ID card such as a Florida driver's license or Town of Palm Beach Voluntary ID Card showing a Town of Palm Beach street address.

* Phase III: Barricades will be removed, and there will be unrestricted access to the town.

Residents who do not already have a valid Florida driver's license or ID card showing a Town of Palm Beach street address can obtain a Town ID card at the police department. Applications can be obtained from the Police Department's Crime Scene & Evidence Unit located in the lobby of police headquarters or downloaded from our website at www.palmbeachpolice.com (under the "How Do I?" section). The individual applying for the I.D. card must bring the application, proof of residency, and $15.00 in cash or check only to the Crime Scene & Evidence Unit of the Palm Beach Police Department, 345 South County Road. Days and hours of operation are Monday through Friday (except holidays) from 10:00am to 2:00pm. If the storm is projected as a direct hit to the Town of Palm Beach, the ID card program will cease operations two days before landfall. Plan early. The ID card operation will resume after the storm once Town staff determines it is safe to return to the Island.


 PRESS RELEASE

 DRUG IMPORTER SENTENCED

July 19, 2013

 PALM BEACH, FL - The Palm Beach Police Department received notification that an investigation by one of the Marine Patrol officers resulted in the arrest and conviction of Jaime Omar Sotomayor, a Broward County resident. Sotomayor was sentenced on Friday, July 12, 2013 to 84 months imprisonment and four years of supervised release by United States District Judge William J. Zloch on charges of importing marijuana from the Bahamas.

 The case stemmed from an interdiction of marijuana by Palm Beach Police Officer Paul Alber and the Department of Homeland Security from a boat that traveled from Bimini, Bahamas to West Palm Beach loaded with 667 pounds of marijuana in the center console and coolers located on the vessel. On February 7, 2013, Officer Alber observed a suspicious boat tied to the docks of Curry Park in West Palm Beach with no one aboard. He noted that no one was preparing the boat for departure, nor was anyone retrieving a trailer to pull the boat out of the water. He made contact with a male who informed him that he had been fishing earlier, but returned due to engine trouble. Officer Alber noticed that neither of the fishing rods on the boat were rigged, and one of the rods did not even have a reel attached. The entire boat was dirty and did not appear to be consistent with having been used for a fishing excursion. He felt strongly that the boat had been used in maritime smuggling or other criminal activity.  A records check indicated the boat had been reported stolen a week prior.

 Officer Alber requested assistance, and agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, West Palm Beach Police Department, and Palm Beach Sheriffs' Office K-9 unit responded to the scene.  The K-9 boarded the boat, and immediately alerted on the center console where agents discovered wrapped bales of marijuana filling the entire compartment.  A further search uncovered 97 packages, weighing 667.85 pounds, concealed throughout the entire vessel.  The male, Sotomayor, along with two other individuals who had arrived to remove the boat, were taken into custody by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents for federal prosecution.

 Palm Beach Director of Public Safety Kirk Blouin presented Officer Alber with a commendation for his excellent work and investigative efforts.

 -ends-

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