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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

News: Former Placerville firefighter re-arrested

Former CAL FIRE firefighter now troubled man-child Benjamin Cunha, who has volunteered for several fire departments in El Dorado County and hails from a long line of career firefighters, and who was convicted of arson earlier this year has been re-arrested on suspicion of arranging a deal to sell stolen firearms.

He had received a six-year suspended sentence on the arson charge and was told he would go to prison if he violated rules of his probation.

An El Dorado County judge set bail for Benjamin Cunha at 10-million dollars because his prior record makes him a flight risk. The new charges against him include facilitating the sale of stolen weapons, being a felon in possession of a firearm, and violating probation.

Placerville Police investigators say three men burglarized a home last week and stole two guns. Cunha was not involved in the burglary, but one of the suspects is an acquaintance, and Cunha allegedly told a friend about the stolen guns for sale and orchestrated the transaction. The three burglary suspects have been arrested, as was 25-year-old Eric Summer, the man suspected of buying the stolen guns.

Cunha's family members contributed many years in fire service.

Cunha was a volunteer firefighter for the Diamond Springs/El Dorado Fire Protection District since 2000.

Cunha also has worked as an apprentice firefighter for the El Dorado County Fire District and, from 2001 to 2003, was a seasonal firefighter for Cal Fire, said Phyllis Banducci, division chief for Cal Fire's Amador-El Dorado Unit.

Previous related post: Diamond Springs volunteer firefighter pleaded not guilty Tuesday to three felony arson charges

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****REMINDER**** Every fire has the ability to be catastrophic. The wildland fire management environment has profoundly changed. Growing numbers of communities, across the nation, are experiencing longer fire seasons; more frequent, bigger, and more severe, fires are a real threat. Be careful with all campfires and equipment.
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