Will Cuba send the Amber Alert family back? - WNCT

Will Cuba send the Amber Alert family back?

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TAMPA, FL (WFLA) -

Tampa's Amber Alert case took another turn Monday night.

Late in the afternoon, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office received information that Joshua Hakken's family arrived in Cuba. Deputies are currently working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which is in contact with the U.S. State Department, to verify the information.

"The reality is we do have an extradition treaty with Cuba but it hasn't really been enforced since 1960," said Arturo Rios, a practicing immigration lawyer and adjunct professor at Stetson University. "In an era where maybe both the United States and Cuba are trying to foster better relations - I wonder if they'll honor that treaty and realize it's something that definitely merits having these children returned to their legal guardian."

Rios said the U.S. State Department and the Department of Justice as well will contact the Ministry of Justice in Cuba and ask that police arrest Joshua and Sharyn Hakken pending a possible extradition.

Last Wednesday, deputies said Joshua Hakken abducted his two boys Chase, 2, and Cole, 4, from his mother-in-law's home in Tampa, taking her car. He later ditched it, got into his pick-up, drove to a John's Pass parking garage, and hopped on a sailboat. Detectives believe his wife, Sharyn, is likely with them.

Sharyn's mother, the boys' grandmother, had legal custody of the children after an incident in Louisiana last year. The state took the boys after police said the couple had a gun, a knife, and marijuana with them in a hotel room. The grandmother just recently got custody of them hours before the abduction.

"In the past - when Cuba has refused to extradite criminals back to the United States - they've tended to be more white-collar criminals," Rios said. "But when you have child abduction - something that Cuba sees as something that's much more serious - and in the extraditions that we have seen in the last decade or so when there are serious crimes ... the Cuban government has been more open to the extradition...and to cooperating with U.S. Authorities."

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