Authorities believe two men working for a contracted prisoner transportation company forced a female inmate to perform sexual acts on them, while returning her to Santa Barbara County Jail in October of last year.
According to court records, Roland Ygelsias, 29, is facing a felony count of forcible copulation, a violent and serious felony. Prosecutors allege he forced a female inmate to give him oral sex during a trip transporting prisoners throughout California, while in a van with seven inmates in it, both male and female. Ygelsias, along with 28-year-old Miguel Jacobo, is also facing a misdemeanor count of sexual activity in a detention facility with a consenting adult who is confined.
The two worked for the Texas-based U.S. Extradition Services, a company that contracted with the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department to transport inmates among prisons and jails. Ygelsias picked up the victim and one other prisoner at Chowchilla State Prison, according to a report from Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Detective Michael Scherbarth. From there, the van traveled to Jacobo’s sister’s residence to pick up Jacobo. The woman told Scherbarth that not long after, Jacobo was looking at her and smiling, while Ygelsias made comments about her sitting on his lap, which made her feel uncomfortable. Along the way, more stops were made and more inmates picked up.
After Ygelsias drove for awhile, according to the victim, he said he wanted to take a nap, and sat next to her in the first bench-row of the van. Then he said he wanted to switch sides, and he lifted her up onto and over his lap, according to Scherbarth’s report. “Ygelsias then began to tug at her gown and proceeded to tell her he was a federal agent and that he could do things to her,” Scherbarth wrote, saying the man then unzipped his pants and felt the woman’s leg. He then allegedly pushed her head down onto his lap and pulled on her hair, “violent in his actions,” and told her, “You’re going to catch this all in your mouth.” The woman told authorities the man’s penis went into her mouth, he ejaculated, and she had to spit the fluid into her gown. “Every time she tried to lift her head up off of his penis he would grab her hair and pull her head down violently,” Scherbarth said in his report. This all occurred during the drive somewhere near San Diego, she claimed.
Ygelsias’s version of events, as told to detectives who interviewed him, was that he took four Ambien sleeping pills to fall asleep. “He remembered waking up at one point and the victim was performing oral sex on him,” Scherbarth wrote. The defendant explained that he wasn’t able to do anything about it, or even completely wake up, because of the pills. He told the detectives he was “embarrassed, ashamed, and scared of what had happened.” Contrary to the victim’s claims, he said he never exposed himself and never touched the victim. However, a Sheriff’s detective pointed out that it would have been difficult for the woman to undo Ygelsias’s pants herself, because he was wearing his duty belt at the time.
The alleged victim said that although nobody talked about what had happened, she believed everyone knew. But most of the witnesses either couldn’t be tracked down by detectives, or reported that they didn’t see anything. Some witnesses said they did see the victim’s head go down into Ygelsias’s lap, but didn’t witness any sexual interaction. They said the contact appeared consensual. Jacobo told detectives he heard about Ygelsias and the victim after the fact, from one of the inmates.
Jocobo denied that he himself had any physical contact with the woman, who claimed he made her masturbate him. Jacobo claimed he drove the entire time while Ygelsias, whom he had never worked with prior to this trip, slept.
Another agent reportedly told detectives that he knew Jacobo was “easily manipulated and he very well could have ‘got caught up in the moment,’ seen Ygelsias get a blow job, and think to himself that he could do the same thing.” The agent said Jacobo told him he got a “hand job” from the victim, but after being confronted by the agent, said he was just joking.
The victim told Scherbarth she consented to Ygelsias touching her legs and penetrating her vagina with his fingers, but that she was not okay with the oral sex and that he forced her to do that.
Ygelsias and Jacobo were relatively new employees, having worked for U.S. Extradition Services for less than six months. Ygelsias was fired after the incident, while Jacobo resigned in the face of termination, according to Bill Brees, director of marketing and operations support for the company. “It’s not the type of publicity you want to see when you’re providing a service,” Brees said. “It has a negative effect on everyone.” It is company policy that agents, who are usually armed, not ride in the back of the van.
It’s not cost-effective for law enforcement agencies to transport inmates, so companies like U.S. Extradition Services are contracted to do the work. The Sheriff’s Department dropped U.S. Extradition, and now works with another company, Court Services Transport, according to department spokesperson Drew Sugars. The department primarily uses the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Statewide Transport at a rate of 68 cents a mile. If that service is unavailable, or can’t meet a deadline for pickup, the Sheriff contracts with Court Services Transport at a cost of 95 cents a mile.
Ygelsias’s attorney didn’t return a call seeking comment, and The Independent‘s efforts to locate Ygelsias for comment were unsuccessful. Jacobo, after initially returning The Independent‘s phone calls, could not be reached for comment. Senior deputy district attorney Joyce Dudley, who is prosecuting the case, didn’t have any comment on the case except to say the preliminary hearing was set to begin June 26.