U.S. Border Patrol Supervisor Sentenced to 21 Months in Prison for Placing Hidden Camera in Women’s Restroom
For Further Information, Contact: Assistant U.S. Attorney Alessandra Serano (619) 546-8104 and Lara Stingley (619) 546-8403
NEWS RELEASE SUMMARY – December 15, 2015
SAN DIEGO – U.S. Supervisory Border Patrol Agent Armando Gonzalez was sentenced in federal court today to 21 months in prison for placing a hidden camera in a floor drain of the women’s restroom at the Chula Vista Border Patrol station to capture images of female private parts.
In handing down the sentence, U.S. District Judge Roger T. Benitez said the “facts of this case were shocking,” and he described the conduct as “egregious” and “a violation of trust.” Gonzalez was permitted to remain free on bond until January 22, when he is required to report to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons.
During today’s hearing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Alessandra Serano told the court that the defendant’s crimes warranted a significant sentence, noting that the camera was in place for about 18 months and the defendant spent a lot of time editing, naming and saving the videos.
“When Armando Gonzalez put a video camera down the drain of a women’s restroom, he also put his career, his honor and his freedom down that drain,” said U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy. “This is a fitting sentence for a man who sullied his badge with such despicable behavior.”
Gonzalez pleaded guilty in May to one count of making a false statement to a federal officer and seven counts of video voyeurism. He admitted that he placed a hidden camera in a floor drain of the women’s restroom at the Chula Vista Border Patrol station to capture images of female private parts.
Gonzalez, a supervisor, also admitted that when Border Patrol superiors confronted him about the camera, he lied to cover up his crimes, saying that he’d placed the camera in the bathroom to conduct a drug investigation of one of his female employees.
According to the plea agreement, Gonzalez acknowledged that he captured video images of the unclothed private parts of seven women – all federal employees - who used the bathroom between July 24, 2013 and April 11, 2014. The videos were as short as 24 seconds and as long as nine minutes, 17 seconds.
The defendant saved the video images from those instances, and dozens of others, on an SD card he kept hidden at his workplace, the plea agreement said. Gonzalez admitted that after the hidden camera was discovered, he destroyed or discarded the hard drive from the Apple MacBook used to edit the videos before law enforcement had a chance to execute a search warrant at his home.
DEFENDANT Case Number: 15cr0806-BEN
Armando Gonzalez Age 47 El Cajon, CA
SUMMARY OF CHARGES
One Count, False Statements to a Federal Officer, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1001
Maximum Penalty: Five years in prison, $250,000 fine
Seven Counts, Video Voyeurism, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1801
Maximum Penalty: One year in prison, per count, and $100,000 fine per count
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Department of Homeland Security
San Diego Police Department