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San Jose Fire Department Veteran Facing Child Sex, Drug Charges

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Mario Enrique Cuestas (California Dept. of Justice)

Mario Enrique Cuestas (California Dept. of Justice)

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SAN JOSE (CBS SF) – A longtime member of the San Jose Fire Department was arrested at on the job Thursday for drug and sex crime charges.

Mario Enrique Cuestas, 53, was booked into Santa Clara County Jail and was facing charges of methamphetamine sales as well as oral copulation and sex assault crimes involving minors, according to California Department of Justice.

Officials confiscated computers both at fire department offices and at Cuestas’ home in San Lorenzo, where he lives with his parents. The crimes were allegedly arranged through a website.

“It’s a shock for our folks and I think people are reeling. I think just like the greater community, we’re very disappointed, very shocked,” said Robert Sapien, president of the San Jose Firefighter’s Union.

San Jose Fire Department Spokesman Capt. Cleo Doss said, “It goes against everything that we stand for against firefighters.”

It was not immediately clear how many victims were involved.

Cuestas has been with the department since 1994.

KPIX 5 obtained video of an interview with Cuestas on a LGBT public access cable show in 2011. He talked about why he wanted to be a firefighter. “The opportunity for personal satisfaction and making a difference, I love helping people,” he said.

Cuestas also talked about how the department quickly accepted him when he came out as gay, and how it strengthened the department’s bond.

The firefighter also worked and sang at Saint Leo the Great Parish in San Jose. The Roman Catholic Diocese of San Jose told KPIX 5 that Cuestas cleared federal background checks before he started work in 2012.

Cuestas’ family had no comment about the charges in the case.

As of late Friday, Cuestas is being held without bail in the Santa Clara County Jail. He is due in court on Tuesday.

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