Doral doctor advertised on Instagram, even though he wasn’t licensed, police say

A South Florida man who passed himself off as a doctor on his Instagram page was arrested Wednesday, police said.

Samir El Charif, 29, faces a felony charge of practicing medicine without a license and a misdemeanor charge of posing as a physician.

The Florida Department of Health received a complaint about an unlicensed doctor practicing medicine in Doral in early February and notified police.

Doral police said El Charif was advertising his services via Instagram and identified himself as a doctor on the social media site. Police said he was performing Botox injections on patients who visited him at a Doral clinic.

A photo on his Instagram page shows him sitting at a desk wearing a white doctor’s robe. Others show him performing Ultherapy treatment to patients.

Police said undercover detectives called El Charif to arrange an appointment and met with him at his clinic, where they agreed on a medical procedure.

“The city of Doral takes a zero-tolerance stance on the issue of unlicensed doctors operating in Doral,” police said in a news release. “Simply put: Unlicensed healthcare providers will be arrested and prosecuted.”

Police are asking anyone who may have received medical treatment from El Charif to call them at 305-593-6699.


A post shared by Dr.Samir El Charif (@samirecharif) on Jan 5, 2018 at 6:33pm PST


A post shared by Dr.Samir El Charif (@samirecharif) on Nov 18, 2017 at 1:45pm PST


some brow lifting with Ultherapy @ultherapy 🙌

A post shared by Dr.Samir El Charif (@samirecharif) on Nov 18, 2017 at 8:44am PST


Sculptra + botox ❤️🙌

A post shared by Dr.Samir El Charif (@samirecharif) on Nov 13, 2017 at 4:20pm PST


Holiday preps 🙌 botox for those wrinkles

A post shared by Dr.Samir El Charif (@samirecharif) on Nov 8, 2017 at 9:06am PST


A post shared by Dr.Samir El Charif (@samirecharif) on Nov 30, 2017 at 2:35pm PST

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Burmese python devours white-tailed deer in southwest Florida

Wildlife biologists believe they have discovered the largest predator-to-prey ratio ever recorded after a Burmese python ate a white-tailed deer at a Florida state park.

The Conservancy of Southwest Florida shared its observation of the invasive predator during a news conference Thursday.

“This animal’s not supposed to be here,” biologist Ian Bartoszek said of the snake native to Southeast Asia. “

The discovery was made while biologists were conducting research at Collier-Seminole State Park in April 2015.

Although they’re not native to South Florida, Burmese pythons have found a natural home away from home because of the climate, Bartoszek said.

“Whether they were intentionally released or they escaped, they are here and they have a wild population and they’re wreaking havoc on our native wildlife,” he said.

Biologists documented the discovery in pictures, one of which shows the python regurgitating the fawn.

“That is not cut open,” Bartoszek said. “That’s the actual skin and the mouth (of the snake).”

WARNING: Graphic image below.

Bartoszek said it is believed to be “the largest python-to-prey ratio yet documented.”

The python was 11 feet long and weighed 31.5 pounds, while the deer weighed slightly more at 35 pounds.

“That’s 111 percent of the python’s mass,” Bartoszek said.

Biologists are concerned for the federally protected Florida panther, which relies on white-tailed deer as its primary prey.

Bartoszek said the record-breaking discovery is proof that the Burmese python is a threat to native wildlife.

“I’m sure that will be challenged over the years here in South Florida,” Bartoszek said.

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Lantana chainsaw attack suspect says ‘chemicals inside his brain went off’

A man accused of partially severing a woman’s hand with a chainsaw outside a South Florida motel told authorities “the chemicals inside his brain went off,” prompting him to attack her at random, police said.

Juan Carlos Cabrera Jr., 20, faces a charge of attempted first-degree murder in connection with Tuesday’s attack near the Super 8 motel on Hypoluxo Road in Lantana.

Several witnesses called 911 to report the attack.

According to a Lantana police report, Marie Geffrard, 64, was out for her morning walk when she saw a man carrying a chainsaw. She assumed he was trimming trees and walked past the entrance to the motel when the man, later identified as Cabrera, “started hitting her and cutting her with the chainsaw.”

Cabrera remained at the scene when police arrived.

After his arrest, Cabrera was questioned by Officer Thomas Dipolito, who asked him why he attacked Geffrard.

Cabrera, who told police he “cuts trees” for a living, said he had “a mental breakdown” and has a history of mental illness, Dipolito wrote in the police report.

Cabrera said he lives with his mother in Lake Worth but decided to get away and spend the night. Cabrera told Dipolito he was lying in bed and the chemicals inside his brain went off.

“He couldn’t explain if anything triggered it,” Dipolito wrote.

Cabrera said he got the chainsaw from his father and had it in the trunk of his car, so he got it out, cranked it up and walked toward the sidewalk, where he spotted Geffrard.

He said Geffrard was “the target most attractive to his eyes,” Dipolito wrote.

Cabrera explained that “it was just an attack” and that he wanted to end her life, but the chainsaw “got jammed up,” Dipolito wrote.

When asked if he wanted to apologize to Geffrard, Cabrera showed no remorse.

“I have nothing to say to her,” Cabera said, according to the report.

Dipolito said surveillance video from the motel showed Cabrera randomly attacking Geffrard.

Geffrard’s left hand was partially severed in the attack. She was taken to Delray Medical Center in Delray Beach, where she underwent emergency surgery to try to save her hand.

While Cabrera was in his holding cell, he also attacked an officer who tried to give him some crackers to eat, police said. Cabrera grabbed the cell door key from the officer’s hand and hit the officer in the face with the key’s wooden handle, according to the report.

Another officer used a Taser gun on Cabrera to subdue him, and Cabrera was placed in a restraint chair until he was moved to the county jail, Dipolito wrote.

Police searched Cabrera’s motel room and found cocaine and marijuana inside. Cabrera also faces charges of drug possession and aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer.

A Palm Beach County judge ordered that Cabrera be held without bond.

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Woman injured in Lantana chainsaw attack

A woman was injured in a chainsaw attack Tuesday morning in Lantana.

Lantana Police Chief Sean Scheller said a woman in her 60s was walking along the 1200 block of Hypoluxo Road about 7:15 a.m. when a man with a chainsaw jumped out of some bushes near the Super 8 motel and attacked her.

The woman, who was staying at the motel, “suffered slash injuries to her chest and hands,” Scheller said.

She was taken to a hospital and was undergoing surgery, but her injuries are not considered life-threatening.

The woman’s attacker was identified as Juan Carlos Cabrera Jr.

Scheller said the 20-year-old man “saw the woman and decided that he was going to end her life.”

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Fort Lauderdale man forced women living in his garage to have sex, take drugs

A Fort Lauderdale man was pedaling sex and drugs from his home, forcing women who were living in his garage to have sex acts with his customers at his bidding, giving them drugs as their reward and beating them if they didn’t do what he said, according to the DEA.

Lenden Pendergrass was arrested Friday on federal drug charges.

According to a federal criminal complaint, Pendergrass had been “selling large quantities of fentanyl and crack cocaine and sex trafficking females” at his Northwest 16th Street home since at least last summer.

A confidential source told Fort Lauderdale police in July that she lived at the home until recently and was “required” to sell fentanyl and crack cocaine, as well as perform sex acts on customers, for Pendergrass. She also told police she was forced to have sex with Pendergrass “whenever he wanted her to” and “beat her regularly when she did not do what he told her to do,” according to the complaint.

The source, who would eventually die of a fentanyl overdose at her Pompano Beach home in October, told detectives that Pendergrass was also acting as a pimp for women who lived in his garage. 

She said if the women didn’t return home with the money, they would be beaten by Pendergrass in front of the other women. She also said all the women living at the home were required to have sex with Pendergrass “and that he gave the females both crack cocaine and fentanyl as payment” for the prostitution and drug sales.

The source made four drug purchases from Pendergrass between July 26 and Aug. 17 that were under police surveillance, according to the complaint.

Heather Loiola was among the people at the home when Pendergrass sold $100 worth of purported heroin during a recorded sale on Aug. 1, DEA task force Officer John Loges wrote in the complaint.

A second and third confidential source were used to make several other drug buys between August and February, Loges wrote.

The third source told police that Loiola sells crack cocaine and fentanyl for Pendergrass. She was recorded selling $120 and $150 worth of heroin to the source during a pair of drug transactions in February, the complaint said.

Federal agents executed a search warrant at the home Friday, arresting Pendergrass and Loiola and seizing about 4 ounces of fentanyl.

Pendergrass confessed to selling crack and heroin, but he denied selling fentanyl, Loges wrote. He told authorities that he bought the heroin from his supplier the night before and that his sister had sold 3 grams of it to a regular customer on the day of the raid, the complaint said.

“Pendergrass explained that the ‘heroin’ he purchased last night was going to be sold by him and his associates within the next week,” Loges wrote. He also admitted to selling heroin to the women living in his garage, the complaint said.

Authorities found a .9 mm handgun at the home, but Pendergrass said it belonged to his son, Loges wrote.

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Coral Springs first responders share their stories from Parkland school shooting

Coral Springs first responders shared their stories about the Parkland school shooting during a news conference Friday.

Here are the stories of the heroic police officers, paramedics and dispatchers whose lives were impacted by the Valentine’s Day mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that left 17 people dead and more than a dozen others injured.

Officer Tim Burton

Burton was leaving Eagle Ridge Elementary School, where he is assigned as a school resource officer, when he got the call of an active shooter at the school.

The 12-year veteran headed toward the school but encountered some traffic, so he grabbed his rifle and started running. He soon caught up with a Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School security guard in a golf cart. 

Along the way, the security guard picked him up and gave him a description of the shooter and the shooter’s location at the school.

“This security guard in the golf cart was just a Godsend,” Burton said.

Burton got out of the golf cart and started heading toward the freshman building, unsure of what was ahead.

“I thought I was going to encounter the shooter as soon as I made that left-hand turn into the parking lot,” Burton said.

He didn’t.

Hiding behind a tree trunk and an SUV, Burton provided cover for four of his fellow officers who went inside while he covered the parking lot in case the shooter tried to escape.

“I went into rescue mode when things started to settle down,” Burton said.

Burton and other officers helped rescue a few victims who were shot and couldn’t walk.

Shortly thereafter, he was asked to join a search team. They went into the band room and found 50 to 100 students huddled inside.

“This one’s pretty tough,” Burton said. “You can’t get rid of this one. This will be with me forever.”

Sgt. Jeff Heinrich

Heinrich, whose son is a football and baseball player at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, was watering the infield when the fire alarm sounded.

“I hear what I now know to be five or six gunshots,” the former school resource officer said. “At first, I honestly thought they were fireworks. I thought the kids were screwing around.”

He said the students didn’t seem to be acting any different than they normally would during a fire drill.

“And then, all of a sudden, the situation changed, obviously,” Heinrich said.

Students started running and screaming. Heinrich then heard another round of gunshots, so he dropped the hose he was using to water the field and ran to the parking lot.

Heinrich helped a boy who had a gunshot wound to his leg. He would only identify the boy as Kyle.

He took Kyle to the baseball field clubhouse and used the first aid kit to try to help him until paramedics could get to him.

Before paramedics tended to Kyle, he told Heinrich where the shooter was and what he was wearing. It was information that Heinrich was able to relay to dispatchers.

The next call was to his wife, who works at the school. His wife happened to be in the women’s locker room at the time of the shooting, while his son was out of his classroom with a bathroom pass.

“By the grace of God, when they walked down the hallway, they found each other,” Heinrich said.

Dressed in a T-shirt and shorts, Heinrich put on a SWAT vest and acted as backup for the other officers who were already inside the school.

Relieved that his family was safe, Heinrich went inside and spent the next few hours clearing buildings. He didn’t see his wife and son until about 10 p.m. that evening.

Officer Chris Crawford

Crawford was on patrol when he got the call about the school shooting.

By the time he arrived, police were already there. His captain directed him to clear the parking lot and look for anybody who may be injured.

Soon, Crawford went to the 1200 building and met with a sergeant who came out with a boy who had been shot multiple times.

Using his police-issued combat gauze, Crawford tended to the boy.

He also helped a wounded girl whose injuries were less severe.

Crawford said another officer was putting pressure on the boy’s back while he continued to apply gauze to the boy’s many wounds. He asked another officer to find a paramedic, who arrived and took over.

He then ran back to the building and joined a team of officers who were looking for the shooter.

Crawford went inside the 500 building and found a group of students hiding in a storage area. He got the teachers and students from three different classrooms together and then told all the students to call their parents and let them know they’re OK.

He then stood guard at the door until the SWAT team came and got them.

“And that’s what I did,” Crawford said.

Crawford said he wished he could have gotten there sooner to stop it.

“I helped one kid or two kids,” Crawford said. “I wish I could have helped them all.”

Lt. Rohan Neita

“It was a normal day at the fire station,” Neita recalled about the day of the school shooting.

The veteran firefighter of 18 years said he heard the call go out and remembers one of his shift supervisors asking the dispatcher if what they heard was correct. The dispatcher said it was.

That’s when the “hair starts standing on the back of your neck,” Neita said.

Neita said students were getting out of school at the time and running toward a makeshift triage area. He and other paramedics prioritized the extent of everyone’s injuries and took “the more severely injured” to hospitals first. He called it a “snatch-and-go” situation.

Neita took several students to hospitals that day.

Lt. Frank Pekora

Pekora was training at the fire station when he heard the call of a school shooting.

He immediately broke from training and headed to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Along the way, Pekora’s fire truck was caught in traffic, so he got out and encountered Heinrich, who was tending to Kyle near the baseball field.

“That’s when it kind of hit me that we’re not playing around today,” Pekora said.

Pekora got his truck, helped Kyle inside and tried to keep the boy calm.

“His right sock was soaked with blood,” Pekora said.

When Pekora removed the bandage, Kyle “had a major tissue loss.”

“He knew it,” Pekora said. “He saw it.”

Pekora said talking to him and keeping him calm helped Kyle “get through that part of the day.”

After he got Kyle to a hospital and got back in the truck, Pekora was overcome by the events that had just unfolded.

Pekora told himself that he needed to stay alive to get back to his wife and family.

“From that point, I haven’t been able to watch the news, no offense to anyone here,” Pekora said.

Kathy Liriano

“It was just another normal day” when Liriano saw all the phone lines light up.

The Coral Springs communications administrator picked up one of the phones and heard the echo of gunshots coming from the phones of the other other dispatchers.

“She had told me, ‘We have an active shooter at the school, and I have students who have been hit,'” Liriano said.

The teacher told Liriano that one of her students had been shot through the window of the classroom door.

“I asked her, ‘Is there any way that you can go help?’ And she said, ‘I can’t. I can’t help him right now,'” Liriano recalled.

The teacher was hiding with some other students behind her desk.

Liriano said she tried to remain calm and make sure that police and paramedics had the most accurate information.

“I took a deep breath because, in my mind, I always try to put myself in the other person’s shoes,” Liriano said.

Liriano said she made sure to keep her composure because she didn’t want the teacher to panic.

“We always say in dispatch we’re the calm voice during the storm, and we really are,” Liriano said.

Liriano said she told the teacher to keep her students safe and to stay quiet.

“I can hear you breathing, and that’s all I need to hear,” Liriano told her.

Liriano breathed a sigh of relief once she could hear the police in the room.

“I’m like, ‘OK, she’s OK,'” Liriano said.

Julie Vidaud

Vidaud was training a new dispatcher when the 911 calls starting coming in.

“I took one of the calls before we even knew it was happening,” Vidaud said.

She heard someone whispering and then heard loud noises. Then she heard the faint voice again.

“I heard her say, ‘Classroom has been shot up,'” Vidaud said.

She told Vidaud that two of her classmates were shot and laying beside her. Vidaud asked her if she thought they were breathing.

“She didn’t think they were,” Vidaud recalled.


In an ordinary situation, Vidaud would walk her through how to perform CPR.

“Well, I can’t risk her life to do that though, so you’re kind of torn for a second,” Vidaud said.

The caller eventually stopped hearing the gunshots.

“So I’m thinking OK, well, I need to see where this guy is now, you know, so these other calls coming in may give us that,” Vidaud said.

Vidaud told her that she was going to answer some of the other 911 calls.

“She didn’t want me to get off the phone, so I didn’t, but I would put her on hold to answer a call,” Vidaud said.

Vidaud’s 15-year-old son, who attends a nearby charter school, lost seven friends in the shooting. She said she’s still dealing with the emotional toll.

“This one, it definitely sticks with you,” Vidaud said.

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