Authorities may face challenges getting ‘Fat Leonard’ returned to US

SAN DIEGO —The arrest of former military contractor “Fat Leonard” in Venezuela after his failed escape is causing new problems for authorities.

The tricky situation for authorities will lie in getting him back to the U.S., figuring out how to get Leonard Francis from Venezuela to San Diego to face justice and his sentencing.

Venezuelan Interpol posted a photo of the arrest of Francis after he escaped San Diego.

“It’s a shocking turn of events,” said Mark Skeels with Gomez Trial Attorneys.

A “Red Notice” was issued for his capture by law enforcement worldwide after he cut his GPS monitor off Labor Day weekend.

“This is kind of an embarrassing situation for the U.S. Marshals that such a high-profile defendant would be able to abscond and leave the county in that way, so they pulled out all the stops,” Skeels said.

Authorities say “Fat Leonard” was heading for Russia when Interpol caught him.

“My suspicion will be there will be added charges for him leaving the country. Essentially, he was under house arrest and he escaped, so on the federal level that can be pretty severe,” private investigator Bill Garcia said.

Francis plead guilty to offering half-a-million dollars in bribes to Navy officers. He ultimately defrauded the Navy of $35 million dollars. Now the challenge is to get him back to the U.S.

“We do have extradition treaty with Venezuela, however, we don’t recognize their current government as a legitimate government. We don’t recognize Maduro as a legitimate pre