Tag Archives: michael ronga

Former Deputy Sentenced to Six Years in Prison for Robbery

michael ronga 1st app

Michael Ronga

Former Lee County Deputy Michael Ronga was sentenced this week to six years in Federal prison (he also worked for Fort Myers PD, at an earlier time). He was convicted at trial a few weeks ago for beating an robbing man he had given a ride while he was on duty in his patrol vehicle. Prosecutors pushed for 10 years, which was in line with sentencing guidelines, though the court opted to go below the guideline sentence and he was only given the six years. His attorneys argued for home confinement. The sentence was surprisingly forgiving, in light of the breach of trust to the community for it to happen by an on-duty officer.

Fired CCSO Deputy may have Planted Drugs on his Lover’s Husband

Former CCSO Deputy Eric Ireland

Former CCSO Deputy Eric Ireland

The Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office arrested, and quickly terminated, former deputy Eric Ireland and charged him with Official Misconduct and Perjury. The police reports have been released, and the allegations are even crazier than the charges indicated.

According to reports, a man who turned out to be the husband of the woman Eric Ireland was having an affair with was arrested for drug possession in Fort Myers on August 13. On August 20, the woman, Sara*, contacted the Charlotte County Sheriff’s office to say that she¬†believed that then-deputy Ireland had planted drugs on her husband, leading to the arrest, and CCSO quickly began an investigation. When they contacted detectives in Fort Myers, red flags went up pretty quickly.

Fort Myers detectives stopped and searched the husband based on information they received from Deputy Ireland, which he had claimed came from a confidential informant. But Detectives thought it was weird when he called them back asking that his name be kept out of the paperwork.

CCSO investigators kept digging, and more and more holes appeared in the story. First, Ireland denied being present for the investigation; claiming to be in Charlotte County. But FMPD Detectives saw a black Mercedes circling the area of the stop, and saw the driver of the car laughing in a child-like manner (that’s what the report says… I picture peals of maniacal laughter). Ireland initially denied that he knew anything about the car, but a couple of Fort Myers detectives were able to identify him as the driver.

Ireland also denied knowing who was involved with the stop, and later denied that he know Sara. She told investigators that they started dating a while back, and had had a sexual relationship, and that he exhibited disturbing behavior: showing up where she worked, where her kid went to school, and even making traffic stops on people she knew. She ultimately broke off the relationship because her husband was getting out of prison, and she wanted to try to reestablish her marriage. But Ireland kept up the contact, and even asked to borrow the husband’s truck a few weeks earlier.

Investigators talked to Ireland, and he kept lying about his involvement with teh case. Investigators also made controlled phone calls with the assistance of Sara, wherein he admitted to lying to investigators, and told Sara another set of lies to try to make it look like he had nothing to do with the arrest. The husband vehemently and consistently denied any knowledge of the drugs when he was arrested. Ireland apparently had the motive, the access to the truck where the drugs were found, and specific knowledge of the location of the drugs, based on the information he gave FMPD.

There is substantial evidence suggesting that he planted the drugs, but probably not enough to prove it in court. However, once the information became known, prosecutors dropped the charges against the husband, though he had already spent 10 days in jail at that point. It will be tough for Ireland to be charged with anything else related to the drugs will make it tough for drug charges to be filed, though he could potentially face a civil rights charge like former LCSO deputy Michael Ronga. Also disturbing is a report that another woman has complained that Ireland was stalking her while he was on duty.

I do commend the CCSO office for taking quick, decisive action to try to make right the fact that one of their own was breaking the law, and to get the wrongly arrested man out of jail as quickly as possible. Public trust in law enforcement is at an historical low, and high-profile local cases, such as the FMPD police chief’s dishonesty and the Ronga case further decay our trust in law enforcement. That’s why accountability and transparency are paramount to rebuild the trust.

*We decided not to publish her, or her husband’s, last name

Former Deputy/Police Officer Michael Ronga Convicted

Michael Ronga

Michael Ronga

Michael Ronga, who was charged with robbing his victim while on duty when he was a Lee County deputy has been found guilty this afternoon in Federal court. Per the SAO, who joined the US Attorney’s office on the prosecution, he was convicted on both counts, and remanded into custody, sentencing will be set at a later date.

Cold Case Murder Trial Begins in Fort Myers, as well as a second Murder Trial

Kultar Goraya

Kultar Goraya

Today the trial of Kultar Goraya begins in Fort Myers. The case was cold for seven years, before the assistance of the TV show “Cold Justice” assisted in his being arrested for the murder of his wife. The case was complicated by the fact that the body was never found. He is representing himself today in trial.

Randy Marquardt

Randy Marquardt

Also, the murder trial of Randy Marquardt begins today. Marquardt is accused of killing his neighbor and kidnapping his own estranged wife at gunpoint. She was able to escape and alert authorities. Wink’s Sam Smink is tweeting from that courtroom if you want to follow live.

Both Defendants face possible life behind bars.

Michael Ronga

Michael Ronga

Also, the closing arguments are today in the Federal trial against former LCSO deputy (and FMPD officer) Michael Ronga. Ronga is charged with robbing a man while he was on duty.

Former Lee Deputy Arrested on Federal Charges

Michael Rong Jail Video

Michael Ronga Jail Video

Former LCSO Deputy Michael Ronga had been Federally indicted, charged with a civil rights violation and obstruction of justice. He allegedly agreed to give someone a ride, but drove them to a secluded area, and robbed them. He is out on a $50,000 bond.

He was previously charged with robbery for this incident in state court. That charge was ultimately dropped, and sources tell me the State had difficulty procuring the victim to testify. The accuser is of Spanish descent, and may have citizenship issues. It will be easier for the Federal government to overcome these hurdles than the State. He now faces 30 years in prison for his current charges.

If recollection serves, Ronga worked at FMPD for a while before joining LCSO, but I don’t know what the circumstances of his departure was.

Lee County Deputy Charged with Robbery

Lee County Deputy Michael Ronga has been arrested and charged with Robbery for a recent incident. I don’t want to jump to conclusions, as Deputy Ronga is innocent until proven guilty, but apparently there was supporting evidence found at the scene. If these allegations are true, it’s especially scary as apparently the deputy was on duty at the time of the offense. I as I have said before, we put a lot of trust in our law enforcement officers, and the few bad eggs can hurt the reputation of an entire department. If he indeed committed these offenses, the state will likely seek harsh punishment, as they were committed while on duty, and with his law enforcement vehicle.

UPDATE: Convicted in federal court