San Diego

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Six Mexican citizens jailed for up to two months in connection with the alleged rape of a 15-year-old Poway girl filed multimillion-dollar claims Friday against San Diego County, their attorney said.

Edmundo Espinoza, a San Diego lawyer who represents the six, said that each claimant is seeking $1 million in damages for wrongful arrest and associated mental stress. The claims, the latest twist in the racially charged case, are a formality before the filing of a civil suit against the county, Espinoza said.

Lloyd Harmon, San Diego County counsel, could not be reached for comment Friday.

The San Diego County sheriff’s office, which arrested the suspects, has defended its actions. About 80 people, mostly Latino men, were detained for questioning after the rape was reported last April 24. Critics assailed the arrests as a broad sweep based on skin color.


After six suspects had spent up to two months in jail, the San Diego County district attorney unexpectedly dropped charges against the six June 30. The precise reasons for that action still remain unclear, and authorities have refused to elaborate.

The six claimants, all of whom reside in the Poway area, are Leonardo Cedillo Martinez, 24; Guadalupe Cedillo Martinez, 18; Camerino Cedillo Martinez, 18; Jose Luis Romero, 20; Jorge Luis Mendez Herrera, 20; and Monica Arce Acevedo, 18.