Editor’s note: This report is part of Crime Watch, a weekly series culled from reports provided by the Santa Monica Police Department. These are arrests only. All parties are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Crime Watch appears every Friday in the print edition of the Daily Press.


Saturday, Jan. 19, at 3:59 a.m.,

Santa Monica police officers responded to the 400 block of Pacific Coast Highway on the report of a suspicious vehicle stopped in the center divider, its driver apparently asleep at the wheel. When officers got there they spoke with a tow-truck driver who told them that at around 3 a.m. he drove by the car on his way to the Palisades to pick up a vehicle. When he returned about 45 minutes later, the driver was in the same spot. He stopped and found the driver asleep and called police. Officers approached the car and saw that the engine was still running and that the driver had it in gear. The only thing that kept the car from moving was the driver’s foot on the brake, police said. Officers placed the car in park and placed the driver under arrest after determining he was under the influence of alcohol. He was identified as Gabriel Benicia, 25. The suspect was placed on an immigration hold by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.



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