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Man intentionally infects women with HIV

September 9, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
A suspected gang member is accused of knowingly transmitting the AIDS virus to several women and not telling them he has the disease.Investigators are holding 40-year-old Dennis Rios at the West Valley Detention Center. The San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department has released Rios' booking photo to look for other victims.

It all came to light in Apple Valley last Wednesday when sheriff's deputies arrived at an apartment complex to investigate a residence that was allegedly being used to sell drugs.

Investigators arrested Dennis Rios for assault and another person on drug charges. Authorities later discovered Rios may be infecting women with AIDS.

"Dennis Rios is currently positive for the HIV virus, and that he has within the last 10 years reportedly been having unprotected sex with several women who did not know his HIV status," said Jodi Miller of the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department.

The district attorney said it was something Rios was doing intentionally. When asked how many potential victims were out there, Miller said detectives didn't know.

"We do know this has been going on for approximately 10 years," said Miller.

If convicted of the intent to expose someone to HIV Rios could face up to eight years in prison.

So far, two women have come forward, but investigators believe there are more victims out there.

"That's attempted murder, I think he should be in jail, yeah, I think he should," said Shaunda Washington, an Apple Valley resident.

"That's really very sad that it's in the times we're living in that it's sad to see these situations of people and their lifestyles, not realizing that they're doing to other people contacting them with their disease, it's really sad," said Margaret Frank, an Apple Valley Resident.

Rios pleaded not guily to the charges at his arraignment.

If you think you may be a victim, you're asked to call the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department at the Apple Valley station at (760) 240-7400.

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