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Toddler molestation sting nets Saudi tourist

A tourist from Saudi Arabia traveled to California to molest a 2 1/2-year-old girl, federal and state officials said.
/ Source: The Associated Press

A tourist from Saudi Arabia traveled to California to molest a 2-1/2-year-old girl, federal and state officials said.

Nabil Al Rowais, 37, was arrested at a hotel Thursday night after he arrived for a visit he had arranged by e-mail with a man he thought was the girl's father, officials said Friday.

The girl doesn't exist and the "father" was really an undercover agent.

Al Rowais told investigators he is a practicing psychiatrist in Saudi Arabia, though he entered the United States on a nonimmigrant visa issued in Canada, according to a joint statement by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the U.S. attorney's office in Sacramento, and the California Department of Justice.

It's unclear whether Al Rowais was residing in Canada, said Justice Department spokeswoman Robin Schwanke.

He faces five to 30 years in prison if he is convicted of traveling in foreign commerce with the intent to have sex with a minor.

A federal magistrate on Friday ordered Al Rowais held without bond for a May 12 court appearance.

The sting resulted from an ICE investigation known as Operation Babynet, initially sparked by a man who eventually pleaded guilty to molesting his infant daughter and distributing the images over the Internet.