A couple was arrested following a traffic stop Tuesday, for keeping a toddler in their care in what deputies call “squalid” conditions.
Zachary Sousa Engren, 22, and Jillian Larae Meyers, 20, both of Fort Myers, were charged with child abuse, possession of marijuana, possession of synthetic marijuana, and possession of marijuana paraphernalia.
Engren was also charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Meyers faces an additional charge of possession of a concealed firearm without a permit, according to investigators.
The Sheriff’s Office stopped the Chevrolet sedan the couple was traveling in at approximately 11:30 p.m. near Mile Marker 55 on Tuesday, following reports of a reckless driver.
Engren was the driver. Meyers was a passenger, as well as a 24-year-old male and a 2-year-old child, who was in a car seat.
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“A strong odor of marijuana was emitting from the vehicle,” said Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.
Deputies found a .40-caliber Glock handgun under the passenger seat as well as multiple marijuana cigarettes and loose marijuana in the vehicle.
“The car was filthy, laden with used food containers, clothes, and trash. There were assorted reptiles and insects in boxes in the trunk. Cockroaches were crawling on the child, who smelled of human waste,” said deputies.
Both suspects said the child was in their care and stated they had diapers, but Deputies found no diapers in the car. Both gave conflicting stories as to when the child last ate.
All three adults said they were living in the vehicle.
Deputies removed the child from the vehicle and notified the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF).
Engren and Meyers were arrested and booked into Monroe County Jail.
“The male passenger stated they were in the Keys to collect reptiles and insects. He claimed no knowledge of the drugs or the gun and was not arrested,” said MCSO.
The child was placed in the care of DCF, according to MCSO.