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Tag: U.S. Marshals

Leonard Francis, Fugitive in Naval Bribery Case, Seeks Asylum in Venezuela

Leonard Glenn Francis

By Steve Neavling

The fugitive defense contract behind one of the biggest scandals in U.S. naval history is seeking political asylum in Venezuela. 

Leonard Glenn Francis, who is known as Fat Leonard, cut off his GPS anklet on Sept. 4 and fled his home in San Diego.

He was arrested on Sept. 21 at an international airport in Venezuela, where he planned to fly to Russia. 

He’s now requesting asylum in the South American country, the Associated Press reports.

Francis was scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 22 after he was found guilty in 2015 of bribing officers with gifts and millions of dollars in cash in exchange for information about the movement of naval ships. 

More than 30 naval officers have been charged in connection with the case. 

The U.S. attorney’s office declined to comment on Francis’ asylum request. 

Central Figure in Navy Bribery Scandal Flees House Arrest, U.S. Marshals Say

Leonard Glenn Francis via U.S. Marshals

By Steve Neavling

Less than three weeks before his sentencing date, the central figure in one of the biggest scandals in U.S. naval history cut off his ankle monitor while under house arrest and fled, the U.S. Marshals Service said Tuesday. 

Leonard Glenn Francis, who is known as Fat Leonard, cut off his GPS anklet on Sunday morning and fled his home in San Diego. 

“Members of the San Diego Fugitive Task Force went to Francis’ residence, in an attempt to locate him,” the U.S. Marshals said in a news release. “After announcing themselves, task force officers made entry into the residence through an unlocked door. After a thorough check of the residence, officers were unable to locate Francis. Officers were able to locate the GPS ankle monitor that had been cut off.”

Sentencing was scheduled for Sept. 22 after Francis was found guilty in 2015 of bribing officers with gifts and millions of dollars in cash in exchange for information about the movement of naval ships. 

More than 30 naval officers have been charged in connection with the case. 

“In his plea agreement, Francis conceded that over the course of the conspiracy, he and [his contracting company] gave public officials millions of dollars in things of value, including over $500,000 in cash; hundreds of thousands of dollars in the services of prostitutes and associated expenses; hundreds of thousands of dollars in travel expenses, including airfare, often first or business class, luxurious hotel stays, incidentals and spa treatments; hundreds of thousands of dollars in lavish meals, top-shelf alcohol and wine and entertainment; and hundreds of thousands of dollars in luxury gifts, including designer handbags and leather goods, watches, fountain pens, fine wine, champagne, Scotch, designer furniture, consumer electronics, ornamental swords and hand-made ship models,” the Justice Department said in a news release.

U.S. Marshals Capture One of Their Most Wanted Fugitives in El Salvador

Raymond McLeod. (Photo via U.S. Marshals)

By Steve Neavling

Authorities have captured one of the U.S. Marshals’ 15 most wanted fugitives in El Salvador after he was on the run for six years. 

Raymond McLeod, a 37-year-old former Marine, was wanted for the 2016 murder of his girlfriend Krystal Mitchell, who was found strangled to death in an apartment in San Diego. 

In April 2021, the Marshals placed McLeod on their “Most Wanted” list of top 15 fugitives and issued a reward of $50,000 for information leading to his arrest. 

At the time, U.S. Marshals and the San Diego Police Department believed McLeod had fled through Mexico to Central America following Mitchel’s death. 

El Salvadoran law enforcement arrested McLeod without incident on Monday. 

“I am extremely gratified to hear the news of Raymond McLeod’s arrest without incident,” said U.S. Marshals Director Ronald Davis. “It is our sincere hope that his capture brings some sense of relief to Krystal Mitchell’s family, especially her mother, Josephine Wentzel, who has worked so diligently with law enforcement these past years to see this day of justice arrive.”

3 Men Posing as U.S. Marshals Barge into Arizona Home, Beat Two Occupants

By Steve Neavling

Three armed men in camouflaged clothing and face masks posed as U.S. Marshals officials and broke into a home in Arizona before assaulting two people inside the house. 

Just before 5 a.m. on Aug. 10, the suspects identified themselves as U.S. Marshals officers and demanded to be let inside the Golden Valley home, the Sacramento Bee reports.

The occupants of the home refused to let the suspects inside after they failed to show identification. 

Armed with a shotgun, rifle, two handguns, and a baseball bat, the men barged into the home with force and began beating two occupants. 

The suspects eventually fled. 

The two victims were taken to a hospital with blunt force trauma and broken bones. 

Three suspects have been arrested, and the weapons were recovered.

U.S. Marshal Shot by Teenager Murder Suspect in Georgia

By Steve Neavling

A teenager murder suspect shot a U.S. marshal who was helping arrest the man in Fayette County in Georgia on Sunday. 

The GBI is investigating the shooting, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

The marshal was shot when officers entered a residence at the Shiloh Mobile Home ranch. The marshal was taken to the hospital and expected to be released Sunday. 

Officers then shot the suspect, 19-year-old Antonio Murgado Jr., multiple times. The suspect was hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries. 

Murgado was among three suspects charged in the shooting death of a 19-year-old on July 16 during what appeared to be a drug deal. 

When the GBI investigation is complete, the case will be reviewed by Griffin Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office. 

U.S. Marshals Capture Woman Accused of Killing Elite Mountain Bike Racer Anna Moriah Wilson

Kaitlin Armstrong

By Steve Neavling

Federal officials arrested a Texas woman accused of killing elite mountain bike racer Anna Moriah Wilson on May 11. 

The U.S. Marshals Office of International Operations, Homeland Security Investigations, and the Department of State Diplomatic Security Service captured Kaitlin Marie Armstrong at a hostel in Costa Rica on Wednesday. 

Armstrong, 34, will be returned to the U.S. to face charges. 

Authorities discovered that Armstrong had used a fraudulent passport to board a plane from Newark International Airport to San Jose, Costa Rica, on May 18.

“The Marshals Service elevated the Kaitlin Armstrong investigation to major case status early in this investigation, which likely played a key role in her capture after a 43-day run,”  Susan Pamerleau, U.S. Marshal for the Western District of Texas, said in a statement. “This is an example of combining the resources of local, state, federal and international authorities to apprehend a violent fugitive, bring an end to that run and hopefully a sense of closure to the victim’s family.” 

Wilson was in Austin, Texas, for a competition on May 11 when she was discovered bleeding and unconscious from gunshot wounds at an east Austin home. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

U.S. Marshals Release Age-Progressed Renderings of Alcatraz Escapees

By Steve Neavling

More than 60 years after three men escaped from the notorious Alcatraz prison, the U.S. Marshals Service is not giving up on capturing them. 

The U.S. Marshals on Wednesday released age-progressed renderings of Frank Morris and brothers Clarence and John Anglin.

The men, who would now be in their 90s, broke out of the now-closed island prison in San Francisco Bay on June 11, 1962. 

They were in prison for committing bank robberies.  

“The ongoing U.S. Marshals investigation of the 1962 escape from Alcatraz federal prison serves as a warning to fugitives,” the agency said in a statement. “That regardless of time, we will continue to look for you and bring you to justice.”

Deputy U.S. Marshal Charged with Unlawful Obtaining Cell Phone Location Information for Personal Reasons

By Steve Neavling

A deputy U.S. Marshal was indicted in federal court with unlawfully obtaining cell phone location information by misusing a law enforcement service for personal reasons and later lying about it, the Justice Department announced Wednesday. 

Adrian Pena, 48, of Del Rio, Texas, is accused of obtaining cell phone location information about multiple people with whom he had personal relationships and their spouses. 

To obtain the information, Pena allegedly uploaded false and fraudulent documents to Securus Technologies Inc. 

When authorities became aware of the allegations, Pena is accused of lying to investigators about his use of the service. 

He went even further by persuading a person to sign an affidavit attesting that he or she had given Pena unlimited access to his or her personal cell phone information at all times, prosecutors allege. 

Pena was indicted on 11 counts of obtaining confidential phone records, two counts of false statements, and one count of falsification of a record, a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison.