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Ventura County deputies arrest suspect involved in at least two sexual assaults

CBS News Los Angeles: The Rundown (Oct. 4 PM Edition)
CBS News Los Angeles: The Rundown (Oct. 4 PM Edition) 02:21

A Santa Paula man was arrested last Friday for his alleged involvement in at least two sexual assaults that occurred in Ventura County. 

Eliel Mejia. Ventura County Sheriff's Department

According to Ventura County Sheriff's Department, the suspect, Eliel Mejia, 22, was arrested on Sept. 30 after their investigation identified him as the suspect involved in both reported assaults. They described Mejia as 5-foot, 8-inches tall, weighing 180 pounds with black hair and brown eyes. 

The first assault, which is said to have happened near the 300 block of Hillmont Road on Sept. 13, when an adult female victim reported that she was standing outside of a liquor store on Ventura Avenue when she was approached by the suspect. He lured the victim into his vehicle, along with his two pet dogs, under the pretense of smoking marijuana. He drove away from the liquor store and into an orchard in an unincorporated part of Ventura County, "where he forcefully sexually assaulted her," police said. 

Nearly two weeks later, deputies were called to the 6000 block of Pacific Coast Highway near unincorporated Ventura for a separate sexual assault investigation. They found the victim, an adult female, who claimed she was at Plaza Park in Ventura, when she was approached by the suspect. She alleges that she was lured into his vehicle under similar circumstances -- to smoke marijuana. She said that there were two dogs inside of the car as well. The suspect then drover her to a dead end of a dirt road "where he threatened and assaulted her with the intent to to commit a sexual assault." He strangled, tased and threatened to kill her while armed with a knife. 

Deputies determined that the two cases were related and, along with assistance from Ventura Police Department, were able to locate Mejia and arrest him. They found him in possession of a taser, and found the vehicle both victims claimed to have been lured into -- a white 1997 Dodge Ram with an extended cab. 

As they continue their investigation, authorities believe that there may be additional victims, and are asking anyone with information on the suspect to contact them at (805) 384-4724.

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