Suspect extradited from Austria

COSTA MESA — One of Orange County's 10 Most Wanted men, who is accused of raping several women, including one in Costa Mesa, was expected to be extradited to the United States Friday from Austria, where international police tracked him down.

Ali Achekzai, 32, formerly of Ladera Ranch, was expected to arrive at Los Angeles International Airport. From LAX, he was to be taken to Orange County, where he faces a slew of felony charges, including two counts of rape, two counts of sexual penetration with a foreign object, aggravated assault, intent to commit a sexual offense and enhancements for sexually assaulting more than one victim and causing great bodily injury.

He faces 68 years and four months to life in prison if convicted on all counts.

Achekzai's arrival in Southern California would end a months-long international manhunt, while locally police have been looking for him since 2004.

Prosecutors are charging him with assaulting three women in Southern California but are asking for the public's help in identifying other potential victims.

His first victim, according to prosecutors, was a woman outside a Costa Mesa home in 2002. Achekzai was partying with four people in Laguna Beach before they all took a limousine back to a Costa Mesa man's home to drop him off, officials said. Prosecutors claim that when Achekzai remained in the car with two of the women, who were both asleep, he undressed one of them and began fondling her. The woman woke up screaming and Achekzai swore at her and told her to shut up, according to prosecutors.

Authorities said Achekzai raped two women in 2004. In January 2004, Achekzai allegedly convinced one woman to pull over her car when he was following her from a Laguna Beach club. He told her he had something important to tell her, officials said.

When she pulled over in a fast food restaurant parking lot, he got into her car and warned her about another man from the club, officials said.

Scared, the woman ran away from Achekzai, but he caught up to her and pulled her back into the car and raped her, officials said.

He then got into his car and fled, authorities said.

Just a few months later when he was partying with his cousin and some girls in San Diego late one night, prosecutors said Achekzai convinced one woman to take a walk with him in a nearby park. There he pulled her into the bushes and raped her, threatening to kill her if she told anyone about it, officials said.

The woman immediately told her friends and Achekzai punched her, knocking out teeth, according to authorities.

Before DNA evidence from these incidents could be linked to Achekzai, police said he fled to Canada and eventually to Austria. He was arrested and accused of rape there but was acquitted. Because local police and prosecutors successfully got his DNA into the Interpol database, authorities got a match when he had to submit a DNA sample to Austrian authorities.

Prosecutors said Achekzai has lived in San Francisco, Canada, Austria, England, Germany and Afghanistan.

He is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday. Though his bail is set at $1 million, he cannot actually be released because the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency has put a hold on him for deportation proceedings after this case concludes.

Anyone with information or who believes they've been a victim can call Tustin Police Det. Ryan Coe at (714) 573-3249 or Supervising Dist. Atty. Investigator Clint McCall at (714) 347-8521.

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