The man purported to be the filmmaker behind an inflammatory anti-Islam video being blamed for sparking violent unrest in the Middle East and North Africa was escorted by deputies from his Cerritos, Calif., home shortly after midnight Saturday morning.
Media and law enforcement had been staking out the home at the end of a cul de sac in the Southern California city for about 48 hours when the man emerged wearing a coat, hat, scarf and glasses.
According to property records, the home is owned by Nakoula Besseley Nakoula.
LA County Sherrif’s Department spokesman Steve Whitmore confirmed to NBCLA that Nakoula was taken to the Cerritos sheriff’s station for interviewing by federal probation officers aimed at determining whether he violated the terms of his 5-year probation by uploading a video to the Internet.
"We are in an assist mode," he said.
Whitmore added that Nakoula agreed to the interview prior to the deputies arriving at his home, that the move was "entirely voluntary" and the man was "very cooperative."
Deputies in two marked cars and one unmarked vehicle pulled up to the home around midnight, according to witnesses. The group left the home through the side gate because the front door was not working, Whitmore said. NBC4 went to the home this week and saw the front door was missing a knob.
International protesters have cited the 15-minute video posted on the Internet called "The Innocence of Muslims" as a catalyst for their demonstrations in countries such as Libya, Tunisia and Egypt.
They claim the piece is insulting to their religion as it depicts the Prophet Mohammed as a child molester and a thug. In Islam, all images of Mohammed are prohibited, let alone negative ones.
Early reports suggested the film prompted an attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya that fatally wounded 14 people, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens, two former Navy SEALS who were providing security for Stevens, and foreign service information management officer Sean Smith.
But U.S. officials are also probing the possibility that Wednesday’s attack was planned, timed to coincide with the 11th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
Nakoula has told the Associated Press he was not the director on the film, but rather a logistics manager. The film's mystery producer has been said to go by the pseudonym Sam Bassiel.
Nakoula reportedly requested deputies step up patrols around his home Wednesday after media descended on the area. At the time, Whitmore told reporters there had been no disturbance or crime.
Two attorneys were escorted into the home earlier Friday. They were the first people to enter the home in days.
A federal grand jury indictment in February 2009 charged Nakoula in an alleged bank fraud conspiracy. The indictment accused him and others of fraudulently obtaining the identities and Social Security numbers of bank customers at Wells Fargo and withdrawing $860 from bank branches in Cerritos, Artesia and Norwalk.
Los Angeles County District Attorney spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons confirmed that Nakoula served a year in jail after pleading guilty to possession of meth with the intent to manufacture in 1997.
Correction: An earlier version of this article erroneously reported that Nakoula has been taken into custody. LA Sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore says the man was taken in for a voluntary interview with federal probation officers.