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SJ firefighter arrested for drug dealing, crimes against children

A veteran San Jose firefighter is under arrest, accused of a slew of crimes ranging from drug dealing to crimes against children.
February 13, 2014 9:12:01 PM PST
A veteran San Jose firefighter is under arrest and being held without bail. He is accused of a slew of crimes ranging from drug dealing to crimes against children and it's a story you will only see on ABC7 News.

On Thursday afternoon, the San Jose Fire Department's administration building was raided and authorities went in and took Mario Cuestas into custody. The firefighter had been working there for the past few months, most recently as a community outreach officer.

Undercover agents from the Santa Clara County Specialized Enforcement Task Force swooped in to take long time firefighter Cuestas into custody. The 53-year-old is accused of selling meth to high school students. Sources say Cuestas will also be charged with committing sexual acts with children.

"As a father, if there's young people involved, that it's very disturbing and very concerning," said San Jose Firefighter union president Robert Sapien.

Sapien admits he's shocked by the allegations. He's known Cuestas for years. But the task force, which includes the Department Of Justice, has been investigating Cuestas for months. A Department of Justice spokesperson told ABC7 News a tip led them to Cuestas who later allegedly sold drugs to undercover agents.

Thursday they seized and checked his work computer in the administration building's parking lot while Cuestas was taken away to San Jose police headquarters for questioning.

"We are held to a higher standard and any time there's any kind of news that may violate the public trust or anything like that, I think it's a cause for pause and it's really disturbing to all of us," said Sapien.

Investigators don't think any of the illegal activity happened on company time, but they do think cuestas used his position as a firefighter to gain the children's trust.

San Jose Fire Department spokesperson Capt. Cleo Doss released a statement Thursday night saying, "We are surprised that this event has happened. We are not jumping to conclusions and we are not prosecuting him. This is an ongoing investigation."

Until six months ago, Cuestas worked out of Station 1 downtown, but was hurt and shifted to a new administrative position.

ABC7 News also learned Cuestas was supposed to attend a work event Thursday night. As a community outreach officer, he works with neighborhood associations, schools, and church groups.


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