Twenty-year veteran San Jose firefighter arrested

SAN JOSE (BCN)

A 20-year veteran San Jose firefighter and community outreach officer was arrested Thursday on suspicion of possession and sales of drugs and the sexual abuse of a 17-year-old boy, a state Department of Justice spokeswoman said Friday.

Mario Enrique Cuestas, 53, was taken into custody at about 3 p.m. Thursday at the Fire Department’s administration building where he worked in San Jose, according to Department of Justice spokeswoman Michelle Gregory.

Cuestas was arrested in connection with the sale and possession of methamphetamine and oral copulation and molestation of a minor, Gregory said.

He is tentatively set to make an appearance in Santa Clara County Superior Court in Palo Alto on Tuesday, but the district attorney’s office had not filed charges as of this morning, according to a court clerk.

Cuestas was arrested by members of the Santa Clara County Specialized Enforcement Team, made up of members of various police agencies in the county and the Department of Justice, Gregory said.

The team began its investigation a couple of months ago and an agent working undercover with illegal drug sales was able to identity the victim, a 17-year-old boy, Gregory said.

Cuestas “was providing drugs to the minor,” Gregory said.

He is also suspected of committing oral copulation and other sexual abuse on the boy, Gregory said.

The suspect had used a gay dating website called Adam4Adam.com to be introduced to other males, according to Gregory.

The task force on Thursday also seized as evidence two hard drives, papers and other records that Cuestas had used, Gregory said.

San Jose Fire Capt Cleo Doss today read a statement on behalf of the department about Cuestas’ arrest.

“The trust of our community is very important us,” Doss said. “We firefighters are held to a high standard. The community expects us to conduct ourselves as professionals as we do every day of the year in every call we go on.”

“We do not tolerate this type of behavior. It is unacceptable,” he said.

The department will not comment on the specific allegations against Cuestas but will conduct its own investigation once the criminal probe is completed “and take the appropriate steps,” Doss said.

Cuestas is a 20-year veteran of the department, holding the rank of fire engineer — a driver of fire engines — and has been the department’s community outreach officer, Doss said.

“He was tasked with interacting with different neighborhood organizations, answering questions about the fire department, basically getting the word out and promoting us,” Doss said.

Doss said that he had been working with Cuestas at the department for 17 years, “ever since I got hired.”

(Copyright 2014 Bay City News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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