Fugitive ‘Fat Leonard’ Nabbed in Venezuela on Interpol Warrant

Fat Leonard

The portly and corrupt Malaysian military contractor Leonard Glenn “Fat Leonard” Francis, 57, was detained on an Interpol “Red Notice” on Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022, in Venezuela. Interpol Venezuela OCN Caracas photo.

Interpol Venezuela OCN Caracas photo.

Venezuelan authorities have nabbed the famous fugitive “Fat Leonard,” and he’s awaiting repatriation to the US, thanks to Interpol and the US Marshals.

The portly and corrupt Malaysian military contractor Leonard Glenn “Fat Leonard” Francis, 57, had been missing since he removed his Global Positioning System tracker around 7:30 a.m. on Sept. 4 at his mansion in the Carmel Valley section of San Diego County.

“He was apprehended Tuesday, late morning, in Venezuela,” Omar Castillo, the supervisory deputy US marshal in San Diego, told Coffee or Die Magazine. “We had filed a Red Notice with Interpol, and now it’s up to the lawyers.”

Although Venezuela is a member of the international policing consortium and Caracas inked an extradition treaty with the US a century ago, diplomatic relations between the two nations have been chilly for two decades. But Castillo said he’s prepared to follow US protocols, which involve sending two deputy US marshals to Venezuela to escort the fugitive back by plane.

Castillo told Coffee or Die he’d like to be one of those federal agents.

Fat Leonard

Corrupt defense contractor Leonard Glenn “Fat Leonard” Francis, 57, vanished from his Carmel Valley, California, home, only weeks before he was slated to be sentenced for his role in a $35 million scheme to defraud the US taxpayer. Composite by Coffee or Die Magazine.

Composite by Coffee or Die Magazine.

Castillo said US authorities had tracked Fat Leonard to Mexico, and they suspected he’d flown out to Cuba or Venezuela.

On Wednesday, Carlos Gárate Rondón, the director of the national central office that acts as a liaison between Interpol and the Venezuelan government, took to his social media accounts to announce the capture of Francis.

Citing Red Notice A-7578/9-2022 from the US Marshals Service in Washington, DC — which urged all Interpol member law enforcement agencies to immediately arrest Francis on bribery and corruption charges — Rondón said the fugitive had flown from Mexico to Cuba and then on to Venezuela, with a final destination in Russia.

Venezuelan authorities caught up to Francis inside Simón Bolívar International Airport in Maiquetía on Tuesday and detained him for extradition, according to Rondón.

Fat Leonard

Corrupt defense contractor Leonard Glenn “Fat Leonard” Francis, 57, vanished from his Carmel Valley, California, home on Sept. 4, 2022, only weeks before he was slated to be sentenced for his role in a $35 million scheme to defraud the US taxpayer. Composite by Coffee or Die Magazine.

Composite by Coffee or Die Magazine.

Nabbed in a federal undercover sting operation in 2013, Fat Leonard pleaded guilty to bribery and fraud charges two years later.

He quickly became a star witness for federal prosecutors in a string of more than 30 high-profile convictions of senior commissioned and enlisted non-commissioned officers and civilian officials.

They including Rear Adm. Robert Gilbeau; Capt. Daniel Dusek, the ex- commander of the amphibious warship Bonhomme Richard; and Capt. David A. “Too Tall” Lausman, the former skipper of the aircraft carrier George Washington and the flagship of the US 7th Fleet, Blue Ridge.

On house confinement since 2018 due to reported health problems, the Malaysian tycoon repeatedly has told investigators and juries his tales of plying senior sailors with prostitutes, cash bribes, champagne feasts, and luxury resort accommodations across the Pacific Rim in exchange for lucrative ship husbanding contracts when the vessels pulled into the “pearl ports” controlled by his Singapore-based company, Glenn Defense Marine Asia.

Francis was slated to be sentenced Sept. 22 in San Diego. He faces up to 25 years behind bars.

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Carl came to Coffee or Die Magazine after stints at Navy Times, The San Diego Union-Tribune, and Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He served in the Marine Corps and the Pennsylvania Army National Guard. His awards include the Joseph Galloway Award for Distinguished Reporting on the military, a first prize from Investigative Reporters & Editors, and the Combat Infantryman Badge.
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