TAMPA, Fla. (FOX 13) - Agents with the FBI escorted Rachelle Smith and her 4-year-old son, Dexter through Tampa International Airport Friday after the two spent nearly 10 months halfway across the world from one another.
Smith has been in an international custody battle with her son's father, Ali Salamey, who took him to Lebanon last August. Officials say Salamey used international passports to take his son out of the country during a scheduled visitation here in the U.S.
However, at the time, Salamey was under court order not to take Dexter out of Hillsborough County.
Smith has been on a mission to have Dexter returned. She and her lawyer launched a media campaign to spread awareness about what happened, and encouraging U.S. senators Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson.
Smith's lawyer described the conditions in which the little boy lived while in Lebanon.
"Mr. Salamey doesn't allow her to speak to the child. He has the child in southern Lebanon, bouncing around from town to town in an area of the country where our embassy personnel can not go. Dangerous part of the world. Hezbollah owns it," said attorney Patrick Leduc.
A series of court orders in Lebanon and the U.S. eventually landed Salamey in custody. Friday, he and Dexter were brought to the U.S. by the FBI. Salamey is now in an Atlanta prison.
Salamey faces felony burglary and interfering with child custody charges.
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