A woman arrested in a high-risk traffic stop on Highway 154 following an incident at the Chumash Casino Resort earlier this week is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday in a Santa Maria courtroom.
Nikki Graham, 28, of Ventura faces charges of attempted extortion by force or fear and misdemeanor battery, according to Deputy District Attorney Brooke Gerard from the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office.
A continued arraignment hearing is set for 8:30 a.m. Tuesday before Judge Patricia Kelly in Santa Barbara County Superior Court in Santa Maria.
Graham was among three people taken into custody at gunpoint on Highway 154 near Cathedral Oaks Road just before 11 a.m. Tuesday, according to Kelly Hoover, Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman.
The incident began at approximately 10:30 a.m., when sheriff’s deputies responded to the Chumash Casino for a report of a robbery that allegedly occurred in a hotel room, Hoover said.
A woman told deputies she was robbed by two women and a man in her hotel room, identifying one suspect as Graham, a Ventura resident known to the victim.
After a “be on the lookout” alert was issued, a deputy assigned to the Rey Fire spotted the vehicle and conducted the high-risk traffic stop on Highway 154, Hoover said. The incident did not involve a pursuit, Hoover added.
The three occupants were detained at gunpoint and transported to the Sheriff’s Department for questioning.
“Following an investigation, it was determined the incident was a result of a financial dispute among the involved parties,” Hoover said.
Investigators allege that Graham demanded money from the victim and assaulted her before leaving the hotel room.
Graham was arrested and booked at the Santa Barbara County Jail.