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Leo Pender, the last Operation: Sandy Bottom fugitive, arrested in Florida

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The last man standing from Operation: Sandy Bottom has been arrested in Jacksonville, Fla.


On April 20, 2021, Leo Pender, who had been on the run for 99 days, was arrested by the Jacksonville Narcotics, Violent Crimes, Vice, and Gang Investigations Unit during a traffic stop near I-95. During the stop, Pender identified himself as Anthony White; however, officers quickly discovered that Mr. White was in fact Mr. Pender, a wanted fugitive from Bacon County.


And Mr. Pender, who also goes by the aliases Metro or Slime, was allegedly in possession of a significant amount of illegal drugs. Officers discovered 6.5 ounces of methamphetamine, 2.4 ounces of crack cocaine, 2 ounces of powder cocaine, and 20 grams of fentanyl.


Pender was charged with trafficking methamphetamine, trafficking cocaine (hydrochloride), trafficking cocaine, and trafficking fentanyl. He also faces the following federal charges: Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine and an amount of cocaine, crack cocaine, oxycodone, hydrocodone, marijuana, Eutylone (bath salts) and Alprazolam (Xanax); and possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine.


He will be formally arraigned by a federal magistrate to determine whether he will be detained pending trial in this matter.


Leo Pender was the last remaining fugitive in Operation Sandy Bottom; all 48 defendants have been arrested and are awaiting trial. 


The following agencies assisted with apprehending Pender: The Jacksonville Narcotics, Violent Crimes, Vice, Gang Investigations Unit; Federal Bureau of Investigation – Brunswick; Drug Enforcement Administration – Savannah; United States Marshal Service; Jeff Davis County Drug Unit; City of Hazlehurst Police Department; Alma-Bacon County Crime Suppression Unit; City of Alma Police Department; and the Bacon County Sheriff’s Office.

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