Navy Commander Charged with Accepting Luxury Travel and Prostitutes from Foreign Defense Contractor

FleetSAN DIEGO – U.S. Navy Commander Mario Herrera was charged in a complaint unsealed today with accepting prostitutes, luxury travel, elaborate dinners and $1,800 steaks from foreign defense contractor Leonard Glenn Francis in exchange for classified and internal U.S. Navy information.

 

Herrera, the 12th U.S. Navy official to be charged so far, was arrested in San Antonio, Texas this morning and is scheduled to make his initial appearance in federal court in the Western District of Texas. The United States will seek removal of Herrera to San Diego to face charges.

 

According to the complaint, Herrera received bribes in return for sending U.S. Navy ship schedules and other proprietary information to Francis, sometimes through U.S. Navy Commander Jose Luis Sanchez, who was among the first officers charged in the massive bribery and fraud case in 2013. Sanchez pleaded guilty to bribery charges in January 2015 and awaits sentencing.

 

Hererra, Sanchez and other U.S. Navy 7th Fleet officers who were committed to doing the bidding of Francis in exchange for prostitutes and other perks called themselves the “Band of Brothers” and the “Wolf Pack,” the complaint said. In one email, Sanchez asked Francis to send pictures of prostitutes, saying “the brothers are ready to indulge.” A few days later in another email, Sanchez thanked Francis for the prostitutes and hotel accommodations during a port stop in Manila, Philippines: “A warm thank you from the brotherhood…we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and had a great time.”

 

The complaint also alleges that Herrera made recommendations within the Navy to benefit Francis’ company, Glenn Defense Marine Asia, including on several occasions manipulating the movement of U.S. Navy ships and diverting them to ports financially lucrative to Francis. GDMA is a multinational corporation and longtime government contractor based in Singapore, which provides hundreds of millions of dollars of “husbanding” services for the U.S. Navy in at least a dozen countries throughout the Pacific. Husbanding involves supplying food, water, fuel, tugboats and fenders, security, transportation, trash and liquid waste removal, and other goods and services to ships and submarines in foreign ports.

 

So far, a total of 17 named individual defendants have been charged in connection with the GDMA corruption and fraud investigation. Of those, 12 are current or former U.S. Navy officials.

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