A man with ties to the royal family in Saudi Arabia was arrested in San Diego, accused of attempting to flee the U.S. to avoid prosecution in a date rape case.
Monsour Alshammari, 27, is accused of raping a woman while on a date in February in Orem, Utah. He pleaded not guilty and was released March 31 on $100,000 bail.
Once Alshammari made bail, Utah County detectives contacted U.S. Department of Homeland officials, asking them to watch for him at all border crossings.
Just days before his next scheduled court appearance, Alshammari was found hundreds of miles away.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection employees apprehended Alshammari Friday as he tried to enter Mexico through Tijuana.
“If he had been successful, then there is no way for us to extradite him back here, especially with his ties to the royal family,” said Deputy Utah County Attorney Craig Johnson. “Under the circumstances, this was very fortuitous that customs was able to pick him up.”
He is now in the process of being extradited from San Diego to Utah, where he faces charges of first-degree felony rape and second-degree felony obstructing justice. The process could take several weeks, according to Orem police Lt. Craig Martinez.
The Associated Press reports that police did not offer details about Alshammari's royal connection, but they did say he is related to royalty and has family connections within the Saudi Arabian government.
According to court documents, Alshammari is in the U.S. on a Saudi government student sponsorship.