SAN DIEGO (CN) – A married couple from Hemet kidnapped and “deported” a Filipina woman who they claimed was in the United States illegally, federal prosecutors say. According to the grand jury indictment, Gregory Denny and his wife handcuffed and kidnapped the woman from her home and took her to a Border Patrol station, where Greg Denny falsely claimed to be a U.S. Marshal. When the Border Patrol refused to arrest her, the Dennys took her to the San Diego Airport, where Greg Denny, still impersonating a U.S. Marshal, “informed Transportation Security Administration personnel that he was escorting a prisoner to a flight,” the indictment states.
Greg Denny, 38, and Karen Denny, 52, are charged with conspiracy to kidnap, kidnapping, and “impersonator making arrest or search and aiding and abetting.” Greg Denny also is charged with entering the security area of the airport under false pretenses, and making false statements to a federal officer.
Kidnapping is punishable by up to life in prison.
The 5-count indictment does not state why the Dennys deported the woman, Cherriebelle Magada Gabalonos Hibbard.
It claims that on Jan. 15 the Dennys showed up at Hibbard’s home in Hemet, where Greg Denny “falsely announced that he was a law enforcement officer.”
Hemet is about midway between San Diego and Los Angeles, in inland Riverside County.
According to the 6-page indictment, Greg Denny “placed handcuffs on Cherriebelle Magada Gabalonos Hibbard, stated that Cherriebelle Magada Gabalonos Hibbard was in the United States illegally, and that he was there to deport her, and then escorted her from the residence.”
After subjecting her to a “pat down” search, the Dennys took Hibbard to the Border Patrol station in Murrieta, where Greg Denny “falsely informed U.S. Border Patrol agents that he was a Deputy U.S. Marshal and that Cherriebelle Magada Gabalonos Hibbard was the subject of a fugitive arrest warrant issued by Immigration and Customs Enforcement,” according to the indictment.
The Border Patrol refused to take her into custody, so the Dennys drove her back to their home in Hemet, called her husband on the phone and demanded that he buy her an airplane ticket to the Philippines, the complaint states. While they drove Hibbard to the airport, Greg Denny told her “that if she did not leave the United States he would arrest her and her husband, Craig Hibbard, and they would go to jail for 5 years,” the indictment states.
Still according to the indictment, once they got to San Diego International Airport, Greg Denny lied his was past security, “identified himself as a U.S. Marshal, presented credentials and a badge, and informed Transportation Security Administration personnel that he was escorting a prisoner to a flight.” Then he “escorted” her to the boarding gate.
The indictment claims that the Dennys “did unlawfully seize, confine, inveigle, decoy, kidnap, abduct and carry away and hold for ransom, reward, and otherwise, Cherriebelle Magada Gabalonos Hibbard, who willfully was transported in foreign commerce from San Diego, California to the Philippines”.
Hemet and its environs, including Murrieta and Temecula, are hotbeds of anti-immigrant sentiment. The Los Angeles Times, however, said the incident “may have involved a family feud.” The Times reported that Greg Denny, who appears to be quite a hefty fellow, is a former bounty hunter.