Monroe County, FL — In the land of the free, if you try to raise some extra money by selling a willing customer a product—you can and will be charged and arrested—if you don't pay the state for permission beforehand. A married couple in Key West just learned the hard way that entrepreneurial spirit—the very fabric of America—will not only be crushed by armed agents of the state, but they will also brag about it on social media.
Last week, the Monroe County Sherrif's office was so proud that they protected the citizens..ahem..their paychecks, that they took to Facebook to gloat in the fact that they detained and extorted a couple for selling shrimp.
"Couple charged with illegal shrimp sale," read the start of the post dedicated to publicly shaming a couple for trying to make an honest buck.
According to City-Data.com, when compared to the rest of the country Key West, Fl has 78.6 percent more crime. This higher crime rate makes perfect sense given the fact that the sheriff's department brags about arresting innocent people who merely forgot or felt it not necessary to pay the state for the privilege to sell another person a 5lb bag of shrimp.
Instead of applying resources to investigating rapes, murders, thefts, burglaries, or assaults—which just so happen to occur hundreds of times a year in the county—police were scouring Facebook to catch a married couple who'd dare sell shrimp without a license.
When reading the department's post, you'd think the sheriff's office nabbed themselves a criminal mastermind, hell-bent on fleecing the citizens of Key West. Sadly, however, the only ones hell-bent on fleecing the citizens of Key West are the ones who claim to protect them.
Deputy Seth Hopp saw the Facebook posts offering five pound bags of shrimp for $40. The Facebook accounts belonged to 41 year old Iliecer Noa and his wife, 37 year old Carolina Aviles, both of Key West. Deputy Hopp checked with the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to see if either person had the proper license to sell saltwater products. Neither one had any commercial fishing licenses.
Deputy Hopp went to their residence on North Roosevelt Boulevard in Key West and confronted them. The couple said they bought a 70 pound bag of shrimp for $80 from a guy riding a bicycle on Stock Island. They made a total of $300 selling the shrimp. They said they had planned to return to Stock Island and buy more so they could keep selling shrimp.
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Not surprisingly, the department has since removed their post and, it appears they have deleted their Facebook page all together.
The good news is that the overwhelming majority of the comments on this post called out the sheriff's office actions for what they were—tyranny.
To be clear, this couple was NOT illegally poaching or otherwise stealing shrimp. They were simply trying to make an extra buck reselling shrimp they had purchased.
"You should be ashamed of yourselves. Without government who would harass otherwise nice hard working people. Pirates, that's all you are. Modern day pirates," wrote Carey Appling.
"How dare they not pay tribute to the king! Our country runs on extortion, and we wonder why more people don’t start small businesses these days... you can’t even trade natural resources without being hassled by the kings guards. Next we need to go after people selling their goods in that unregulated market they call “garage sales.” Everyone knows those are a front for drugs. Same goes for lemonade stands. Those kids are clearly selling meth," wrote Josiah Loven.
Summing up the reason for so much animosity toward police, Wesley Thomas wrote in a poignant comment,
"Oh good, the fish police are here! Please, save us from unlicensed fish sales which threaten our very way of life with their cheap pricing and convenience.
Tell me, how do you people in the MCSO sleep at night knowing that everyone is laughing at you for being a complete joke?
You are exactly the sort of people who would have arrested those who were illegally freeing slaves.
Shame on you."
There you have it. Clearly, the sheriff's department does not represent the will of the people—at least those willing to call them out on Facebook—yet the extortion continues. In America, everyone deserves the pursuit of life, liberty, and hapiness—as long as you can afford to pay the state for said pursuit—otherwise, you'll be publicly shamed on social media and arrested. Go USA!