Deputy chase and illegal harvesting of saw palmetto berries leads to arrest in Collier

Delmar Vasquez-Ramirez, 29 (CREDIT: Collier County Sheriff’s Office)

A 29-year-old Immokalee man was arrested after he attempted to flee from a traffic stop before he was found with illegally harvested saw palmetto berries.

Delmar Vasquez-Ramirez faces a charge of fleeing and eluding deputies while their sirens are activated. He also faces charges of harvesting the endangered plant without a permit and driving while his license was suspended.

Vasquez-Ramirez was also wanted for violating probation in Hillsborough County. Details of the crime were not released.

The traffic stop happened after a deputy spotted a vehicle going over the speed limit on CR-846.

The deputy attempted to stop the vehicle, but it sped up instead.

The vehicle finally stopped in the parking lot of 808 East Main Street, a farm-packing house where palmetto berries are bought and sold.

Deputies found several large rice bags filled with berries.

Vasquez-Ramirez told the deputy he did not have a permit to harvest the berries, but he was harvesting them on behalf of someone who did.

However, the license was for harvesting berries in Myakka City and Vasquez-Ramirez told authorities he and his crew had been harvesting near LaBelle, about a one-and-a-half-hour drive from Myakka City.

The owners of the berries could not be identified. They were taken to the Collier County landfill for disposal.

Vasquez-Ramirez will be extradited to Hillsborough County. He remains at the Immokalee Jail Center.

Copyright ©2023 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.