A man who tied up his stepmother, kidnapped his 2 sons and fled to Cuba last week with his wife is back on U.S. soil.
Joshua Michael Hakken and his wife, Sharyn, were booked into a Hillsborough County jail in Florida after Cuban officials handed the couple over to U.S. officials late Tuesday, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
The couple, who were described by the media as "anti-government," was charged with kidnapping, child neglect and interference with custody, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office website. The boys, Cole, 4, and Chase, 2, were returned to the custody of their maternal grandparents in Tampa, Florida.
The drama began on Wednesday, April 3, in Tampa, where the boys had been living with their maternal grandparents who were granted permanent custody of them. Josh Hakken entered the home early Wednesday and tied up his mother-in-law before taking the 2 boys and fleeing in a pickup truck driven by his wife, Sharyn. The truck was later found abandoned in a parking structure in nearby Madeira Beach, Florida.
An Amber Alert was issued on Saturday for the boys in Florida and Georgia, where police assumed the Hakkens were heading. But the couple was spotted in a small sail boat heading out to the Gulf of Mexico on Friday.
An AP reporter was in Havana, Cuba when the Hakkens' sail boat arrived at a dock there on Tuesday. The reporter told CNN's Patrick Oppmann he spoke to Josh Hakken who refused to answer his questions as he stepped off the boat. Cuban security officials ordered a U.S. camera crew to stop filming the couple.
Joshua Hakken lost custody of the boys after a drug possession arrest last year, according to the Atlanta Journal-Consitution. The Hakkens attempted to remove the boys from a foster home at gunpoint, but they were unsuccessful. The boys were later sent to live with their maternal grandparents in North Tampa.
In the '60s and '70s, Cuba was known for providing a safe haven for American fugitives and terrorists fleeing from justice. Black Panther Huey P. Newton lived in Havana for several years as a fugitive. But times have changed.
In recent years, Cuba has returned fugitives to American officials. President Obama lifted strict travel restrictions to Cuba in 2012. Hip hop power couple Beyonce and Jay Z were given special permission to travel to Cuba last week, where they celebrated their 5th anniversary. Cuban Americans have accused The White House of using Beyonce and Jay Z as propaganda vehicles to promote tourism in Cuba. The White House swears Obama had no prior knowledge of their trip to Cuba.
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