Santa Cruz County

Santa Cruz police: Taxi driver took intoxicated woman to motel without permission

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. - A Santa Cruz taxi driver is accused of taking an intoxicated woman to a motel room without her permission and having sexual contact with her, according to police.

Santa Cruz Deputy Police Chief Steve Clark says Ahmed Abdi, 53, picked up an intoxicated woman from downtown Santa Cruz  in his cab around 1 a.m. Friday. The woman had been drinking and had apparently been fighting with her boyfriend.

At that point, Clark said Abdi apparently decided to bring the woman to a local motel to care for her. He took money from her purse and used it to rent a motel room, to which he literally had to carry the woman, Clark said.

The woman eventually blacked out but at one point, she told police, she woke up and realized she was naked in the bed with Abdi, who was also naked. At some point Abdi left and the woman called 911.

Police contacted Abdi in Live Oak the next day and he was arrested on suspicion of sexual battery and violating probation.

Clark said Abdi has a significant history of drug convictions and arrests in the county. In the course of the investigation, police also discovered that Abdi didn't have a legal permit to be driving a cab. Clark said the city had denied Abdi a valid taxi license three times in the past, most recently in June, because of his drug convictions.  The company that employed him, Santa Cruz Transportation, could face penalties for allowing him to drive one of their cabs without a valid permit, Clark said.

The Santa Cruz County District Attorney's Office is charging Abdi with multiple counts, including sexual battery, kidnapping, kidnapping with the intent of committing a sexual act and burglary, according to court records. He's scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday. Abdi remained in custody at Santa Cruz County Jail as of Tuesday evening.

Clark said his department is still investigating what happened between Abdi and the victim and the extent of the sexual contact that occurred.

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