Florida Keys

Man ordered out of car at gunpoint after fleeing traffic stop, police say

John Manuel Moraza-Melendez
John Manuel Moraza-Melendez

A Beverly Hills, Florida, man was ordered out of his car at gunpoint Wednesday by a Monroe County Sheriff's Office deputy after he sped off down a one-way street during a traffic stop, police say.

John Manuel Moraza-Melendez, 22, was arrested on charges of fleeing and eluding police, operating an unregistered vehicle, having illegal tags, driving with a suspended license, marijuana possession and drug-equipment possession. He was taken to county jail on Plantation Key, with no bond information immediately available.

According to Deputy Edward Swogger's report, Moraza-Melendez drove his 1995 Jeep past him on U.S. 1 at mile marker 66 going 20 mph over the speed limit. He pulled over on Long Key Lake Drive in the city of Layton, which falls between Islamorada and Marathon. As Swogger approached Moraza-Melendez's car, he sped off heading east but skidded to a halt when he realized there was no exit, Sheriff's Office spokesman Adam Linhardt said.

Swogger drew his gun and ordered Moraza-Melendez out of the Jeep. When Swogger asked Moraza-Melendez why he tried to get away, he responded because he knew his license was suspended, Linhardt said.

The deputy found a small amount of marijuana in the console of the Jeep, Linhardt said.