Judge issues nationwide warrant for a Tri-Cities child sex suspect
BENTON COUNTY, Wash. – A Benton County judge issued a nationwide warrant for one of the suspects caught in the online child sex sting, after detectives learned he left the country.
"He's wanted,” Richland Police Captain Mike Cobb said. “We want to find him, and get him back into our jurisdiction."
Ali Almafoodh was caught in an online sting last month for trying to have sex with a 13-year-girl. He is charged with one count of attempted second-degree rape of a child in Benton County Superior Court.
The 35-year-old was court ordered to stay in Benton, Franklin and Walla Walla Counties, but Tri-Cities Crime Stoppers got an anonymous tip that that Almafoodh left the U.S.
Richland police Detective Sgt. Darryl Judge told Action News he contacted Homeland Security and learned Almafoodh indeed left the country to travel through the Middle East.
"He was supposed to surrender his passport and failed to do so," Cobb said.
Almafoodh's passport record shows he returned to Philadelphia on Aug. 1.
"But where he's gone after that, we simply don't know," Cobb said.
The Benton County Deputy Prosecutor Diana Ruff said Almafoodh failed to show up to court on Wednesday.
"It's always concerning when we don't know someone's whereabouts," Ruff said.
That's when the judge issued a nationwide warrant for his arrest and set bail at $500,000.
"So right now that means any police officer anywhere in the U.S. who stops him can take him into custody for extradition back into the Tri-Cities," Cobb explained.
Police said if Almafoodh is captured, he must surrender his passport, he’ll be booked into jail, and the judge would have to determine his conditions of release, while the attempted child rape case is pending.
If you have any information on where Almafoodh is, you are encouraged to contact Tri-Cities Crime at (509) 586-8477, (800) 222-8477 or tricitiescrimestoppers.org.
You can remain anonymous.