SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A man suspected of posing as a federal marshal to take a woman from her Hemet home and put her on a plane to her native Philippines, claiming he was deporting her, was indicted Friday, along with his wife, by a federal grand jury in San Diego.
According to the indictment, Gregory Denny, 38, of Hemet, went to the woman's home last Jan. 15, told her he was a law enforcement officer, handcuffed her and said he was going to deport her from the United States.
She was identified by Hemet police as Cherrie Bell Hibbard.
Denny was wearing clothing that appeared to have a federal logo on it, a badge around his neck and a gun belt and holstered pistol, Hemet police Lt. Duane Wisehart said earlier.
Denny and his 52-year-old wife, Karen, then transported Hibbard to the Murrieta Border Patrol station, where he falsely identified himself as a U.S. Marshal and presented a false badge and credentials and said Hibbard was the subject of a fugitive arrest warrant, according to the indictment.
Officers there said there was no warrant for her and refused to take her into custody, so the Dennys took Hibbard to their home in Hemet, where Gregory Denny called Hibbard's husband and told him to buy his wife a plane ticket to the Philippines, according to the indictment.
A few hours later, Denny allegedly took Hibbard to the San Diego airport, telling her that if she did not leave the United States he would arrest her and her husband and they would go to jail for five years, according to the indictment.
Once at the airport, he took her to a security checkpoint, falsely identified himself as a U.S. Marshal and told Transportation and Security Administration personnel that he was escorting a prisoner to a flight, the indictment alleges.
Gregory Denny then escorted the victim to the boarding gate area, the indictment said.
Although police earlier said Denny walked Hibbard through the Lindbergh Field airport in handcuffs, Suzanne Trevino of the Transportation Safety Administration, which is in charge of airport security, said she was not restrained.
"She was not handcuffed at the airport," Trevino said.
She did, however, board the plane.
Denny, who formerly worked as a bounty hunter, is a cousin of Hibbard's husband, but authorities have given no motive for the bizarre hoax.
It was also unclear whether Hibbard ever returned to the United States or if she had been in the country illegally.
The Dennys are charged with conspiracy to commit kidnapping, kidnapping and aiding and abetting and being an impersonator making an arrest or search.
Gregory Denny is also charged with entry by false pretenses to a secure area of an airport and making a false statement to a federal officer.
The Dennys are expected to appear in court Monday.
After the woman's family reported the bogus deportation, police questioned Denny, who allegedly claimed to be a federal officer, but investigators determined he had never been employed by the agency or any other law enforcement organization.
He was arrested and booked into the Southwest Justice Center on suspicion of impersonating an officer, kidnapping, false imprisonment and residential burglary, before being released on $50,000 bail.
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