TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – A Tampa man accused of taking his son out of the country against his mother’s will is now facing federal charges.
Ali Hussein Salamey is charged with international parental kidnapping. Salamey has joint citizenship in the United States and Lebanon. Federal prosecutors say the 37-year-old fraudulently obtained Lebanese citizenship and a passport for his son Dexter last year.
Dexter, who was born and raised in Tampa, was at daycare last August when police say Salamey picked him up and flew him to Beruit. Dexter’s mom, Rachelle Smith, did not have any knowledge of what was happening nor did she give consent, a federal complaint says.
Federal investigators say Salamey provided the Lebanese consulate with a fraudulent family court document that he had altered to make it appear that he had sole parental responsibility and custody of Dexter.
Salamey sent Smith several videos of Dexter while he was in Lebanon that showed the boy was happy and healthy. But prosecutors say he denied Smith access to Dexter.
Smith was worried she would never get her son back but she finally reunited with Dexter earlier this month, after nearly 10 months apart.
On June 20, authorities say Salamey agreed to return to the United States with Dexter. The pair flew into Atlanta, where Salamey was arrested by the FBI.
Dexter later flew into Tampa, where he was reunited with his mom.