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Guilty Pleas in Private Deportation

SAN DIEGO (CN) - A Hemet couple pleaded guilty Tuesday to felony charges that the husband impersonated a federal official to try to deport a woman. Gregory Raymond Denny Jr. 38, and his wife, Karen Denny, 52, face up to 3 years in prison at the Jan. 24, 2011 sentencing.

The Dennys went to the woman's home in Hemet, where Gregory Denny claimed he was a law enforcement officer there to deport her. They handcuffed, "arrested" and searched her and took her to the Murrieta Border Patrol station, where Denny claimed to be a U.S. Marshal and told the Border Patrol to take the woman into custody.

But the Border Patrol refused.

So the Dennys took the poor woman "to various locations in Riverside and San Diego County before ultimately transporting her to the San Diego airport," the U.S. Attorney's Office said in a statement announcing their guilty pleas.

In the airport, Denny flashed a badge at Transportation Security Administration officials, falsely claimed to be a U.S. Marshal again, and said he was "escorting a prisoner to a flight."

If the judge accepts the plea bargain, the government will dismiss the other charges at sentencing.

The Dennys apparently had quarreled with the woman, a Filipina, or with one of her relatives, so they decided to deport her. Gregory Denny is a former bounty hunter, the L.A. Times reported after the arrests.

Hemet, in Riverside County, and its neighboring towns of Temecula and Murrieta are hotbeds of anti-immigrant sentiment.

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