SAN DIEGO — A former California Highway Patrol officer was convicted June 21 of dismissing a female motorist’s speeding ticket in exchange for sex.
A downtown San Diego jury found Abram Anthony Carabajal, a retired Oceanside CHP officer, guilty of perjury, receipt of a bribe and conspiracy to obstruct justice — all felonies.
The woman, Shirin Zarrindej of Encino, was acquitted of one felony count each of subordination of perjury, bribery of a witness and conspiracy to obstruct justice. Zarrindej and Carabajal, who is married with five children, developed a sexual relationship after he pulled her over March 12, 2008, and gave her his phone number after citing her for speeding.
Carabajal, 53, faces up to five years in prison. His sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 10.
Prosecutors allege both defendants went to Vista Traffic Court on July 1, 2008, which also happened to be Zarrindej’s birthday. During the hearing, Carabajal asked for the case to be dismissed citing that he never received a subpoena. Following the hearing, the two defendants went to the Guest House Inn on North Coast Highway in Oceanside where they had sex.
When Carabajal left the room about an hour later, CHP officers — who had set up an undercover operation that morning on him, in part because of past complaints from women he cited that he had passed out his personal work number to them and told them to call him — contacted a partially naked Zarrindej in the room. The single mother admitted to the officers that the couple had sex because they were dating; it had been their fourth sexual rendezvous since the March ticket.
Zarrindej’s attorney, Sherry Stone, told jurors in her closing statement that her client fell in love with Carabajal, and the $400 traffic citation, which she had paid prior to attending the hearing, fell by the wayside.
Stone said her client was no different than the other woman who called Carabajal and had their cases dismissed.
“He spit on everything his badge stands for,” Stone said.
Carabajal retired July 2, 2008, after serving 26 years with the CHP. He will remain out of custody on $50,000 bail until his sentencing.
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