INDIO, Calif. - A former U.S. Border Patrol officer today admitted to sexually assaulting a Mexican citizen in front of her two young children, and was immediately sentenced to eight years in prison.
Luis Edward Hermosillo, 45, pleaded guilty to sexual penetration by
threatening to use the authority of a public official and kidnapping.
In exchange for his plea, Riverside County Superior Court Judge William S. Lebov dismissed counts of kidnapping to commit a sexual assault and sexual
penetration, according to court records.
The woman was traveling on a tourist visa with her 2- and 5-year-old
children in her car on June 13, 2009, when she was targeted by Hermosillo, who worked out of the Border Patrol office in the Indio area.
He followed the then-24-year-old victim from a checkpoint near the
Salton Sea, then pulled her over on the Highway 86 Expressway near Mecca.
He directed her to pull off the highway into a secluded area on Avenue
72, saying he needed to inspect a briefcase in her vehicle that he forgot to
examine at the checkpoint, according to sheriff's Investigator Bradley Farwell,
who prepared a declaration in support of an arrest warrant.
The woman recognized the officer from the checkpoint and followed his
orders, according to Farwell.
"The victim felt it was strange the Border Patrol Officer wanted her to
drive to the end of the road ... to stop, but she did what she was told,"
Once off the highway, Hermosillo, a married Indio resident, used a dog
to inspect the woman's trunk. When she got out of her car, the officer groped
the woman and penetrated her with his finger. The woman's 5-year-old daughter got out of the car, said she wanted to leave and pulled her mother back toward the vehicle, according to Farwell.
Hermosillo was tracked down through a telephone number he gave the woman.
"(He) told the victim he wanted to take her out to dinner and dancing," Farwell wrote.
Results of a medical exam of the woman were consistent with her
statements, according to Farwell's declaration.
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