Saturday, April 4, 2009

OC Sheriff Arrested, In Custody in Riverside

An Orange County Sheriff's deputy is locked up today on suspicion of raping a child under age 14, Riverside County Sheriff's and jail officials said.

Deputy Wilbert Dale Garcia, 49, was arrested about 4 p.m. Friday during a traffic stop in Murrieta, and remains locked up today.

"He was arrested following an investigation," said Riverside County Sheriff's Deputy Matt Diaz in a phone interview. "He was a 19-year veteran of law enforcement."

Garcia was held today on three offenses — one count of continual sexual abuse of a child and two counts of aggravated child sexual assault, a jailer said in a phone interview.

“The Wildomar Police Department is not releasing the protected identity of the victim in this investigation,” Diaz said in a statement. He said deputies “are reviewing evidence in this continuing investigation to determine if other victims exist.”

Orange County Sheriff's personnel were on hand to take Garcia into custody as his car was stopped at the corner of Washington Avenue at Nutmeg Street in Murrieta.

Garcia remained locked up today on $250,000 bail, sheriff's and jail officials said. Garcia has been placed on administrative leave and the OC Sherriff's is beginning its own personnel investigation.

"It's disturbing when anyone gets arrested for the crimes alleged," said Orange County Sheriff's spokesman Jim Amormino. "It's especially disturbing when it's a law enforcement officer."
Amormino said Garcia had been stationed as a patrol deputy in South County and has spent his 19 years in law enforcement as an Orange County deputy.

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