U.S. Border Patrol Supervisor Admits Placing Hidden Camera in Women’s Restroom to Videotape Female Private Parts
SAN DIEGO—U.S. Supervisory Border Patrol Agent Armando Gonzalez pleaded guilty in federal court today to one count of making a false statement to a federal officer and seven counts of video voyeurism, admitting 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. Gonzalez made the admissions in a hearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jill L. Burkhardt. Sentencing is scheduled for August 17, 2015 at 9 a.m. before U.S. District Judge Roger T. Benitez.
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.
“These crimes are an assault on the dignity of victims who are left to feel violated, powerless, anxious and unsafe,” said U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy. “It will always be a priority to protect our federal employees and the public from such despicable invasions of privacy.”
“The conduct in this case involves a violation of trust and common decency committed against the victims in this case,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge, Eric S. Birnbaum. “We believe that today’s plea is the first step in bringing justice and a sense of closure to the victims in this case.”
DEFENDANT Case Number: 15cr0806-BEN
Armando Gonzalez Age 46 El Cajon, CA
SUMMARY OF CHARGES
One Count, False Statements to a Federal Officer, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1001Maximum Penalty: Five years in prison, $250,000 fine
Seven Counts, Video Voyeurism, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1801Maximum 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