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2 Miami men arrested in Florida Keys for kidnapping Key deer

Two Miami men were arrested early Sunday in the Florida Keys after deputies found an injured Key deer in their vehicle.
Posted at 11:22 AM, Jul 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-24 11:22:00-04

MARATHON, Fla. — Two Miami men were arrested early Sunday in the Florida Keys after deputies found an injured Key deer in their vehicle.

At 1:56 a.m. deputies stopped the vehicle for failing to maintain its lane.

Deputies quickly learned the reason why the vehicle wasn't staying in its lane: an injured Key deer was inside the vehicle on top of a cooler, lawn chairs and other objects.

The two men in the vehicle said they struck the deer on U.S. 1 north of the Seven Mile Bridge and initially thought it was dead.

They told deputies that when they realized the deer was alive, they decided to take it to a veterinarian in Miami for treatment.

According to the Monroe County Sheriff's Office, neither of the men called 911, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

FWC responded to the scene and both men were arrested.

The FWC 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.

The deer was taken to U.S. Fish and Wildlife officials on Big Pine Key for treatment by a veterinarian.

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