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OREM — A man accused of trying to flee the country to avoid facing charges in Utah County involving an alleged date rape has been taken into custody at the Mexican border.
Monsour Alshammari is from Saudi Arabia and has ties to the royal family there, court documents state. He was picked up by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Friday, and a judge in Provo signed an arrest warrant Monday afternoon to him extradited back to Utah.
Prosecutors believe Alshammari was attempting to flee from prosecution, with no concern for the $100,000 someone posted for his bail.
“If you are bailing out, you are not supposed to leave the state – let alone the country,” said Deputy Utah County Attorney Craig Johnson.
That is why Utah County prosecutors acted fast Monday afternoon when they learned Alshammari had been stopped at the border near San Diego.
“If he had been successful, there is no way for us to extradite him back to Utah – especially with his ties to the royal family,” Johnson said. “And so under the circumstances, that was very fortuitous that Customs was able to pick him up.”
Alshammari was arrested in March, nearly a month after a woman reported to police she had been raped, while on a date. The victim led police to Alshammari at this apartment complex near Utah Valley University. He was booked into the Utah County jail on March 26, but $100,000 in bail was posted for him five days later.
Orem detectives had already contacted the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to alert them to watch for Alshammari at the borders.
“Anyone who is willing to walk away from $100,000 cash and forfeit that to the court is an extreme risk to do that again,” Johnson said.
Prosecutors will ask a judge to ensure Alshammari can't attempt to flee from prosecution again.
“Ultimately, justice needs to be served for him and the alleged victim here. We can’t do that unless they are both present, so we are doing everything we can to bring him back as soon as possible,” Johnson said.
Alshammari is in the country on a Saudi government student sponsorship. He is being represented by Salt Lake City attorney Ron Yengich and was scheduled to appear in court Tuesday.
ICE agents booked Alshammari into the San Diego Central jail Monday night as he awaits extradition to Utah on this warrant.