Three people working as bounty hunters have been accused of burglarizing a house after arresting the resident in National City, then unlawfully detaining their suspect’s girlfriend and her father.
According to the California Department of Insurance, the defendants were working illegally as “bail fugitive recovery persons” during a June 10 incident in National City.
Daniel Johnathan Hawks, 43, and Annette Bianca Garcia, 36, were arrested this week on suspicion of kidnapping, burglary, false imprisonment and other crimes, while a third defendant, 48-year-old Jesse Wagner is at large.
All three defendants worked at a company called Fugitive Warrants, which a Department of Insurance spokesman said is based out of San Marcos.
On June 10, officials say a bail fugitive recovery agent contacted National City police and said they were pursuing an armed woman.
Police responded and during the ensuing investigation, determined that Wagner and his team had arrested a fugitive, then burglarized his home, according to the Department of Insurance.
The defendants then allegedly tracked down their suspect’s girlfriend, who was not wanted for any crimes.
While she was in a car being driven by her father, the defendants allegedly made a traffic stop on their car, then took the girlfriend and her father back to her house. Wagner and his team “falsely imprisoned them in an attempt to locate the fugitive’s firearms,” according to the Department of Insurance, which says an investigation is ongoing “into the hiring of the unpermitted bail fugitive recovery agents by the licensed bail agent.”
On Friday, Hawks and Garcia pleaded not guilty in a Chula Vista courtroom to several felony and misdemeanor charges stemming from the incident.
Hawks faces nearly 20 years in state prison if convicted of all counts, while Garcia faces six years. Both are charged with burglary, false arrest under color of authority, failure to notify law enforcement prior to arresting a bail fugitive and being a bail bondsman carrying an unauthorized weapon, while Hawks is also charged with felony counts of kidnapping and false imprisonment.
Wagner faces many of the same charges, as well as a count of exhibiting a taser towards one of the victims, possessing body armor while being a felon and acting as a bail bondsman while having a prior felony conviction. The criminal complaint indicates Wagner was convicted in San Bernardino County of robbery in 2006.
Updated at 5:07 p.m. October 7, 2022