A San Jose firefighter was arrested Thursday and is facing drug and sex crime charges involving high schoolers following a two-month state Department of Justice investigation. George Kiriyama reports.
A San Jose firefighter was arrested Thursday and is facing drug and sex crime charges involving high schoolers following a two-month state Department of Justice investigation.
UPDATE: In court Tuesday, Feb, 18, 2014, Cuestas was charged with drug crimes, but so far, prosecutors have not charged Cuestas with any sex crimes.
Mario Enrique Cuestas, 53, is being charged with the sale and possession of methamphetamine as well as sex assault and oral copulation charges with minors, DOJ spokeswoman Michelle Gregory told NBC Bay Area on Friday morning. He allegedly solicited the minors online, she said. It appears at this point, Gregory said, that the minors were male.
"I can say everyone in the department is shocked," Robert Fabian, firefighters' union president said Friday. "It's not in his character that we knew. This is very difficult for everyone."
Capt. Cleo Doss, a spokesman for the fire department, added that "We do not tolerate any type of behavior that is outside the way. This is unacceptable."
Cuestas, 53, was booked into Santa Clara County Jail after being arrested Station No. 1 in downtown.
Gregory said investigators seized computers and records at the fire station where Cuestas works and at his home, which is listed as being in San Lorenzo.
According to his Facebook page, Cuestas - a native of Guatemala City - has been with the San Jose Fire Department since 1994 and also worked for the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Jose since 2012 as a church singer.
The Diocese of San Jose said Cuestas worked three hours per week in the ministry of music at Saint Leo the Great Parish in San Jose.
"Prior to beginning this work in 2012, and as part of the regular procedure for our employees, Mr. Cuestas submitted fingerprints, which cleared the FBI and California Department of Justice," the Diocese of San Jose said in a statement. "We have not received any reports of illegal activity on the part of Mr. Cuestas, but encourage (anyone who) would be aware of such activities to contact the local police at once."
SJFD has put Cuestas on unpaid administrative leave. The fire department and a Santa Clara County regional task force is also investigating.