A 40-year-old Arroyo Grande man accused of breaking into a San Luis Obispo home and attempting to sexually assault a woman at knifepoint is in jail on $1 million bail after prosecutors argued that his family might use drug money to bail him out and help him flee.
In court documents, SLO County prosecutors stated that members of Arthur Tiofilo Rocha's family had been prosecuted for "large scale narcotics trafficking" and had ties to Mexico and other states, possibly making him a flight risk.
"It is believed the family still has access to liquid assets ... due to Rocha's close ties to other states and Mexico, it is believed that if he is released, Rocha will flee the area, or remain and continue to prey on female victims in their residences," a declaration filed the by SLO County District Attorney's Office stated.
A declaration written by SLO Police Department investigator Eric Vitale claimed that members of Roacha's immediate family have "close ties" to family members prosecuted for drug sales.
"Several are no longer in custody," Vitale wrote. "It is believed that funds used to pay for Rocha's bond/bail could come from proceeds related to felonious means."
A SLO County court judge sided with prosecutors, granting their request for increasing Rocha's bail, setting it at $1 million.
SLO police arrested Rocha on Aug. 1. According to investigators, Rocha entered a home in the 1500 block of Osos Street on July 13 and attempted to sexually assault the victim at knifepoint. The victim and her roommate were able resist Rocha, and he fled from their residence, police officials said. Rocha was identified as the suspect by way of DNA evidence, according to court documents obtained by New Times. After his arrest, police said they searched Rocha's residence and found numerous items of women's clothing, mainly undergarments, and jewelry.
According to the court filings, prosecutors said there was also "significant information" to suggest that additional evidence would implicate Rocha in another home invasion-style rape. That incident occurred on July 8, when a then-unidentified suspect broke into a residence on Los Palos Drive in SLO and sexually assaulted a female victim at knifepoint.
"The description the victim provided in that case, which occurred one week prior, matches Rocha's description," the declaration filed by the District Attorney's Office stated. "The manner in how the crime was committed also has strong similarities."
Rocha has two prior criminal convictions. He pleaded no contest to a second degree burglary charge in 2011 and was sentenced to 16 months in state prison. In 2012, he pleaded no contest to receiving or purchasing stolen property and was sentenced to five years in prison. In 2017, Rocha's ex-wife filed a restraining order against him, claiming that he'd been verbally and physically abusive to her, particularly when he was using drugs.
Rocha currently faces felony charges of assault with intent to commit rape, assault with a deadly weapon, first-degree burglary, and a number of other enhancements in connection with the July 13 incident. Rocha pleaded not guilty to all the charges at an Aug. 6 hearing. He remains in SLO County Jail. Δ