Experts weigh in on escape of ‘Fat Leonard’

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — The plot continues to thicken in the “Fat Leonard” case.

Less than three weeks before former military contractor Leonard Glenn Francis was set to be sentenced for the biggest bribery scandal in U.S. Navy history, authorities said he escaped house arrest.

The man known as “Fat Leonard” pleaded guilty in 2015 to bribing Navy officers with cash and prostitutes in exchange for classified information, persuading them to direct aircraft carriers to ports he controlled so they could be resupplied by his Singapore-based company. He also admitted overcharging the U.S. military in an amount exceeding $35 million.

Residents said they had no idea Fat Leonard lived in a house in their neighborhood because they never saw him come out.

“I’d ask him his side of the story. Why he did it,” said podcaster Tom Wright.

Wright created the Fat Leonard podcast and is the only media outlet to interview the man behind scandal.

He said he thinks his podcast might have been a factor in Fat Leonard’s escape. Wright believed Leonard feared the interview would lead to a longer sentence.

“Because he was in detention awaiting sentencing and we had smuggled him a microphone. He was so worried that he had been so honest in the podcast saying it was the ‘ultimate cover-up in the Navy’ and ‘senior admirals that I bribed didn’t get sanctioned, I’m the scapegoat,’ and all of that was going to lead to him having a bigger sentence,” said Wright.

Four out of five of the Navy officers accused of accepting Fat Leonard’s bribes were convicted at the end of June.

“Bro, your days are numbered,” said Jesse Nunez, a local bail enforcement officer.

Nunez and fellow bail enforcement officer Bianca Garcia told ABC 10News that authorities were likely pinged as soon as they learned Leonard’s ankle bracelet was tampered with.

“In his case, it sounds like he had cut his device off, which had triggered an alarm; that alarm went to a monitoring center, which then notified the supervising agency,” said Nunez.

They said what’s unusual about the escape is that he didn’t leave everything behind when he cut his ankle bracelet off and fled.

“The fact that he got U-Hauls. He’s going to develop a paper trail on where he went to and where those trucks went to,” said Nunez.

As for where Fat Leonard could be, there are several possibilities.

“People are saying, and I have no prior information, but maybe he’s gone over the border from San Diego into Mexico. He was in shipping for 14 years. He has a lot of contacts in that world — perhaps he bribed his way onto a ship,” said Wright.

The U.S. Marshals Service told ABC 10News that leads are already pouring into its national office.

Experts weigh in on escape of ‘Fat Leonard’

Leonard Glenn “Fat Leonard” Francis currently at the center of the biggest bribery scandal in U.S. Navy history has escaped San Diego, according to the U.S. Marshal.

The San Diego police department alerted U.S. Marshals after a welfare check where the former defense contractor was under house arrest.

“Francis cut off his GPS monitoring ankle bracelet Sunday morning,” said Supervisory Deputy U.S. Marshal Omar Castillo in a statement to ABC 10News.

Francis pleaded guilty in January 2015 and has been under house arrest in San Diego while awaiting sentencing.

According to prosecutors, Francis provided expensive meals, fancy hotel accommodations, prostitutes and other gifts to Navy members in exchange for information regarding ship schedules and influence over ship movements.

More than two dozen other people have also pleaded guilty or were convicted in the case.

“Francis cut off his GPS monitoring ankle bracelet Sunday morning,” said Supervisory Deputy U.S. Marshal Omar Castillo in a statement to ABC 10News.

Francis pleaded guilty in January 2015 and has been under house arrest in San Diego while awaiting sentencing.

According to prosecutors, Francis provided expensive meals, fancy hotel accommodations, prostitutes and other gifts to Navy members in exchange for information regarding ship schedules and influence over ship movements.

More than two dozen other people have also pleaded guilty or were convicted in the case.

Supervisory Deputy Castillo said neighbors witnessed U-Haul moving trucks outside Francis’ home in the days before his escape.

After several health issues, Francis has been on house arrest since 2018 and under the supervision of a federal agency. He was set to be sentenced on September 22.

U.S. Marshals say it’s possible Francis already escaped into Mexico.


 4 Navy officers convicted in ‘Fat Leonard’ bribery case Former Navy officers charged in bribery scandal Navy admiral sentenced to 18 months in scandal Navy officers accused of trading secrets for sex

This is a developing story please check back for updates.

Copyright 2022 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Bounty hunters shot at by fugitive react to his death

SAN DIEGO – Two local bounty hunters who had near-death experiences pursuing Christopher Marquez say they’re not surprised about how his run from the law ended early Tuesday.

“I had a hunch or a feeling that he would not go to court (or) resolve the matter in the court process,” said Agent Jesse Nunez of Fugitive Warrants. “I had a feeling that he would probably take his life or lure somebody else to do it for him.”

“I thought it was pretty much going to end the way it did, unfortunately,” said Agent Clark, Nunez’s partner.Police shoot, kill fugitive holed up in dumpster at high school

An 11-hour standoff ended Monday with SWAT officers fatally shooting the 36-year-old Marquez who reportedly had threatened to hurt a woman hiding out with him in a commercial trash bin outside of San Diego High School.

About 12 hours earlier, Marquez and the woman fled when National City police tried to pull them over in the area of Interstate 805 and South 43rd Street in the Southcrest area, SDPD Lt. Matt Dobbs said. The pursuit wound its way to the north and west, eventually reaching Loma Portal via Interstate 8, Dobbs said.

There, the fleeing driver exited the freeway, then promptly doubled back and got back onto it near the intersection of Nimitz and West Point Loma boulevards.

As the suspect’s vehicle entered eastbound I-8, one of the occupants fired on the pursuing police cruiser, Dobbs said. The chase then continued to the south into the East Village, where the police vehicle was again fired on in the area of A Street and 10th Avenue.

The chase lasted until about 8:45 p.m., when the fleeing fugitive drove through a gate at the downtown high school. At that point, one of the suspects fired a third volley at the pursuing police personnel, prompting a National City officer to shoot back with his service rifle.

No officers were injured by the shootings. It was unclear if Marquez was wounded by the officer’s return fire.

After pulling to a stop on a football field at the school, the suspect and his companion got out of the car and ran off, armed with a rifle and a handgun, and took refuge in the garbage bin, Dobbs said.

Marquez’s capture had been a high priority for local law enforcement agencies over the last month, during which he allegedly fired on officers twice over a three-week period.

The first of the two firearm assaults occurred March 15 outside a home on East J Street in Chula Vista and left Agent Clark, who was trying to take Marquez into custody on a felony warrant, with non-life-threatening bullet wounds.

The second shooting took place April 5, after National City police spotted a stolen car in a Jack in the Box drive-thru on Roosevelt Avenue, authorities said. Officers surrounded the restaurant and its parking lot and were trying to make contact with three people inside the vehicle when one of the passengers — later identified as Marquez — jumped out and ran off.

Marquez then allegedly opened fire on pursuing officers while bolting onto an on-ramp from East Seventh Street to northbound Interstate 5, prompting them to return fire. Marquez escaped by running across the freeway. That shootout resulted in no reported injuries.

“This has been the most dangerous one,” Nunez said of the March incident with Marquez. “We’ve never been shot up before. This was by far the first encounter we’ve had where somebody targeted us.”

Clark still has a long road to recovery. A fundraiser was established to help him and his family navigate a difficult time.

“Still in a lot of pain, still struggling a lot, nightmares just replaying the incident over and over in my head,” he said. “Financially, not doing the greatest right now. He took the only thing that I had to support myself and other people that rely on me.”

Pretext Searches Are Not Lawful

“FROM THE CLASSROOM” by Ray Hill, Professor Emeritus, Santa Rosa Junior College
Ray Hill is a retired Police Lieutenant and Professor Emeritus at Santa Rosa Junior College. He has taught in the POST Basic Academy and Advanced Officer Training for 45 years.

   This legal issue keeps “popping up”. I had a recent inquiry from a former student and it was the subject of one of Bob Phillip’s past responses to a subscriber. So let’s quickly refresh this area to make sure we are all on the same page.

Scenario – You make an on-view misdemeanor arrest for trespassing on a light rail right-of-way. Your intent is to search incident to arrest. If evidence or contraband is found on the person, you will transport to the station or jail for arrest disposition/booking. If evidence isn’t found, then you will release the suspect on a citation to appear in court (providing there are no wants/warrants that come up or other offenses involved). Does case law give you the flexibility to make this type of discretionary search and disposition?

NO – This is a pretext search and is no more legal under the Fourth Amendment than using an impound/inventory search of a vehicle as a ruse to look for evidence or contraband. The ability to perform a search of a person as incident to an arrest comes with a custodial arrest and physical transportation for a law enforcement purpose (to the station for further investigation/disposition, to jail, to Juvenile Hall or a “601” facility, to a detox center, etc.). Courts have ruled is it the continuing exposure to an arrestee during transportation/facility disposition that creates a safety concern justifying a full search in the field

   There is no search incident to arrest on a “cite and release” offense even if actual custody and transportation could be done. An exception to this rule would be when there is an evidence destruction exigency and there is probable cause to believe evidence or contraband is being carried on the person. There is a need to secure this evidence prior to release on a citation. Example: Accepting a private person’s arrest for retail theft and there is probable cause to believe that stolen property is still on the person or hidden in the carried property of the arrestee. A peace officer is allowed to search the person and their property for the items that have alleged to have been taken (490.5(6) P.C.) Note: Store security personnel are only allowed by statute in examine items in plain view (490.5(3) P.C. Example: Due to COVID restrictions, one of the departments I work with here in the North Bay gives officers the discretion to cite out 11150 H&S “stand alone” suspects in the field providing they haven’t been driving or pose a clear danger to self or others. This is because the jail is citing these arrestees out after booking anyway. A logical search can be conducted to recover any evidence relating to U.I. so the suspect doesn’t walk away with contraband after release.

  Consent is always an alternative if you feel there is a need to search on a citation-release misdemeanor.

  I haven’t quoted any case law here. This has been very definitively accomplished my faculty colleague, Bob Phillips. Please review his 2022 Search and Seizure Update – 22nd Edition (Pages 1162-1166 and Pages 1170-1171) on the Legal Update Publishing Company website.

   Bottom Line – Pretext arrest searches are unconstitutional. You have to be truthful on the stand about your transportation motive when cross-examined by the defense attorney during a suppression motion. No “hunt for evidence” is worth committing a felony.

Stay Safe!



Post Date:03/25/2022 11:00 PM






On 03/25/22, at approximately 3:51 PM, the El Cajon Police Department received a call from “Fugitive Warrants,” a private “fugitive recovery” business.  The reporting party stated two of their agents (not law enforcement officers) were checking 333 W. Lexington (an abandoned business) for a male adult who was wanted.

At approximately 4:18 PM, the reporting party again called the El Cajon Police Department and stated one of their agents suffered a head wound and a gun was involved.  Several El Cajon Police Department officers responded to the scene and located both of the agents outside of the abandoned building at 333 W. Lexington; one of agents was bleeding from his face.  Two El Cajon Police officers drove a marked patrol vehicle onto the property and rescued the injured agent, who said he was shot in the face.  The agent was transported to a nearby Hartland Fire and Rescue station.  The agent had what appeared to be a through and through wound to the side of his face.  He was transported by medics to a local hospital for treatment.

The victim and his partner agent stated they entered the building looking for a wanted subject.  Once inside, they encountered an unrelated subject, who became confrontational with them.  The subject retrieved what they believed was a handgun, at which time one of the agents shot a Taser at the subject.  The subject tackled the victim and began to strike him.  The victim said the subject then shot him in the face.  The other agent reported firing his Taser at the subject to get him off of the victim.  Both agents were able to evacuate themselves from the building.

El Cajon Police Department officers established a perimeter around the building and parked an armored vehicle outside of the front door.  Call-outs were made into the building and two subjects, one determined to be the suspect, eventually exited and were detained without incident.  The suspect had Taser darts embedded in upper torso.  Due to the suspect not having a firearm on his person, and not knowing if anybody else was inside the building, the San Diego Sheriff’s Department Bomb Arson Unit was requested to respond with a tactical robot to clear the structure.  Additionally, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department aerial support unit, ASTREA, assisted.

Officers eventually entered the abandoned building and didn’t locate anyone inside.  It appeared multiple squatters have been living inside the building.  Detectives and officers conducted a search of the building and located evidence related to the incident.

Records checks of the suspect revealed he had an active felony probation violation arrest warrant.  After being interviewed by detectives, the suspect was booked into San Diego County Central Jail pursuant to the outstanding arrest warrant. 

The injured “Fugitive Warrants” agent was treated at the hospital and released later in the evening.

This investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information regarding this case should contact the El Cajon Police Department at (619) 579-3311.


Lt. Will Guerin

El Cajon Police Department

Patrol Watch Commander


Sgt. Kai Mandelleh

El Cajon Police Department

Patrol Division

DATE/TIME: 03/25/22 @ 10:30 PM

Mike Moulton

Chief of Police

Source: https://www.elcajon.gov/Home/Components/News/News/5606/112






Date of Birth:12/04/76


Weight:158 lbs.

Height:5′ 07″





Last address:SAN DIEGO , CA

Warrant Nbr:CS314915-001

Warrant Type:Bench

Primary Charge:HS11378

Type of Crime:Felony

Date of Issue:03/03/2021

Bail Amount:$50,000.00

Court of Issue:South Bay Municipal

Court Appearance:Mandatory








Date of Birth:10/12/81


Weight:180 lbs.

Height:6′ 01″





Last address:SAN DIEGO , CA

Warrant Nbr:CD287347-000

Warrant Type:Bench

Primary Charge:PC417.8

Type of Crime:Felony

Date of Issue:07/07/2021

Bail Amount:$60,000.00

Court of Issue:San Diego Municipal

Court Appearance:Mandatory