The second of two brothers who removed their sons from their Playa del Rey home without the consent of their mothers and took the boys out of the country has pleaded guilty to federal charges of international parental kidnapping, authorities said.
John Silah pleaded guilty May 8 before United States District Judge Otis Wright, II to one count of international parental kidnapping, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. Silah, 51, a citizen of Syria, is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 6.
His brother, George Silah, pleaded guilty before Wright Feb. 21 to two counts of international parental kidnapping, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. George Silah, 49, a naturalized citizen of the United States, is scheduled for sentencing May 29.
The two brothers were extradited to the United States from the Netherlands after the FBI located them there with their sons in November 2010.
In July 2008, George Silah took his sons Alex and Zaven, and John Silah took his son Greg from the fathers’ Playa del Rey home when the boys were expected to be returned to their mothers, who have custody.
Over the next two years, the group traveled through Mexico, Central America, and Europe while the mothers pleaded for the boys to be returned home. An international law enforcement investigation tracked the Silahs to the Netherlands, where the three sons were found in safe condition.
At the request of the United States, John and George Silah were detained by Dutch authorities, an FBI spokesperson said. The boys’ mothers then flew to the Netherlands, where they were finally reunited with their sons.
The statutory maximum penalty for the crime of international parental kidnapping is three years in federal prison, according to the FBI.