Ride share driver accused of sexually assaulting passengers on Long Island

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Monday, September 12, 2022
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C Gacela ride share driver, Milton Paguada, is accused of raping and sexually abusing two different women who were paying him to drive them home. Chantee Lans has the story.

LINDENHURST, Long Island (WABC) -- A ride share driver on Long Island is accused of raping and sexually abusing two different women who were paying him to drive them home.

Both of the women were heading home from work when police say one was forcibly touched and the other was raped on the same street as her home.

The most recent incident happened on Saturday when the 23-year-old victim was forcibly touched in Copiague.

The reported rape of the 28-year-old victim happened on June 30.

Police in Suffolk County say both women used the ride share company C Gacela, which is based in Lindenhurst.

The company, which only accepts cash, caters to mainly Hispanic clientele. It touts itself on being cheaper than Uber or Lyft.

Authorities identified the driver as 40-year-oold Milton Paguada of East Norwich. Sources say he offered the 28-year-old woman a massage and started to rub her legs.

That's when detectives say he pulled over his car and viciously raped her.

The 23-year-old woman also told police that Paguada offered her a massage before pulling over his car and forcibly touching her.

The owner of the ride share company, Juan Payero, said he had no idea about the arrest until the media reached out -- and then the police shortly after.

He said C Gacela launched in 2015 and has about 20 drivers.

Payero said Paguada worked for him for 2.5 years after he was recommended by a friend.

Paguada was arrested Saturday and charged with rape, sex abuse and forcible touching. He is being held on half a million cash and $1 million bond.

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