Missouri CDL investigation takes new turn

| 5/9/2006

A driver who received his commercial driver’s license from a testing facility that is currently under investigation in Missouri is also under investigation by the FBI.

The facility, which was run by the West Plains, MO, school district, was shut down pending an investigation into charges that some of its testers took money in exchange for passing drivers without giving them full exams.

KCTV5, a local CBS affiliate in Kansas City, MO, reported that Serar Ahmed Abdullahi was on the list of about 600 drivers who were tested at the facility and who are being notified by the state that they must retake their exams.

A court document obtained by KCTV showed that Abdullahi – who is currently a taxi driver – has also been charged in U.S. District Court for running a money transfer business without a license. Between 2000 and 2003, Abdullahi allegedly transferred more than $1.1 million in interstate and foreign commerce, including a significant amount of money to a bank account in Switzerland.

Karla Eslinger, superintendent of the West Plains School District, told KCTV that local residents were becoming more and more concerned about the unusual number of people of Middle Eastern origin that were receiving testing at the facility.

“We had so many people of Middle Eastern origin that were coming to our testing site and we don’t have a large community of Middle Eastern people,” she said.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol told Land Line in April that, although this is a school district that primarily conducts driving tests for its own bus drivers, they were certifying some truck drivers as well.

This is the second such investigation to come to light in Missouri in recent weeks. Another third party tester in Sikeston, MO, has been under investigation on similar charges since 2005. In that case, the Department of Revenue is in the process of issuing letters to 2,200 drivers both in Missouri and other states to re-take the driving portion of their CDL exams.

There are 34 third-party testing facilities in Missouri. Of those, 28 are schools that primarily do testing for their own bus drivers.