A Santa Paula man has been accused of violent sexual assaults against two Ventura women last month, with authorities saying there may be more victims.
Ventura County Sheriff's investigators arrested Eliel Eleazar Mejia, 22, last week. On Tuesday, the Ventura County District Attorney's filed multiple felony charges against him.
Mejia pleaded not guilty to all charges and denied all special allegations in Ventura County Superior Court on Tuesday, court records show.
Sheriff's authorities linked Mejia to two incidents last month.
On Sept. 13, deputies responded to a sexual assault investigation in Ventura. A woman in her 20s said she had been standing outside a Ventura liquor store on Ventura Avenue when a man approached her. The man lured her into his white pickup truck with two pit bull dogs inside, she told authorities, with the promise of smoking marijuana.
The man then drove her to an orchard in an unincorporated area east of Ventura where he forcefully sexually assaulted her, according to the sheriff's account.
On Sept. 29, deputies responded to another sexual assault investigation in the city. A woman in her 20s said she had been at Plaza Park in Ventura when she was approached by a man who lured her into his white pickup truck with two pit bulls inside on the pretense of smoking marijuana.
The man allegedly drove the woman to the dead end of a dirt road in an unincorporated area north of Ventura. There, he threatened and assaulted her with the intent to commit sexual assault, sheriff's authorities allege. The man reportedly strangled, tased and threatened to kill the victim while he was holding a knife.
The woman was able to flee and was contacted by a California Highway Patrol Officer near the 6000 block of Pacific Coast Highway, generally in the vicinity of the Seacliff interchange.
Investigators believed the cases involved the same suspect. Sheriff's detectives worked with the Ventura Police Department's special victims unit, who identified the suspect as Mejia.
Mejia was arrested in Santa Paula on Sept. 30, when he was found with a Taser-style stun gun authorities believe was used in the second incident. A warrant search of his residence and vehicle turned up additional evidence, officials said.
Prosecutors charged Mejia on Tuesday with two counts of assault with intent to commit rape, assault with a stun gun or Taser and making criminal threats, all felonies. They also filed multiple special allegations.
During Tuesday's court hearing, Mejia's bail was reduced to $200,000. He remained in county jail as of midday Wednesday. An early disposition conference was slated for the afternoon of Oct. 13 in courtroom 12.
Anyone with information on Mejia or the case is asked to call Detective Robert DeLaCerda of the sheriff's major crimes sexual assault unit at 805-384-4724.
This story may be updated.
This article originally appeared on Ventura County Star: Santa Paula man, 22, charged in violent sex assault cases