Interpol Most Wanted List: Top 10 Fugitives

Have you ever wondered about the world’s most elusive “criminals” (we respect presumption of innocence), those who have managed to slip through the grasp of local law enforcement and continue to live in the shadows? These individuals, sought after for serious transnational crimes, are the subjects of Interpol Most Wanted List. This list serves as an international call-to-arms, a beacon for law enforcement agencies worldwide to join forces and bring these fugitives to justice.

While the cloak-and-dagger allure of international fugitives might sound like something out of a thriller novel, the reality is far from fiction. These fugitives are real people, with real crimes, supposedly to have been committed, and their activities allegedly pose a significant threat to global security. That’s where Interpol Most Wanted List steps in, illuminating these shadowy figures and aiding in their capture.

Key Takeaways

  • Interpol’s Most Wanted List is a compilation of wanted persons sought by law enforcement agencies worldwide.
  • Interpol works in partnership with national authorities to combat cross-border crime and employs various legal instruments such as Notices and Diffusions for apprehension of individuals.
  • The public plays an important role in aiding Interpol, while the organization prioritizes protection of human rights through its operations and lawyers help stop abuse of ‘red notices’.

Understanding Interpol’s Most Wanted List

interpol's most wanted list

Interpol’s Most Wanted List is not merely a rogue’s gallery of “international criminals”. It serves a critical role in global law enforcement, facilitating international cooperation and enhancing global security. The list comprises wanted persons sought by Interpol for transnational crimes, a compilation of individuals who are thought to be at large and are designated as the top priority for apprehension by law enforcement agencies worldwide, according to their own laws. Among these wanted persons, a single wanted person can allegedly pose a significant threat to global security.

The purpose of Interpol’s Wanted List is:

  • To identify individuals who are wanted for crimes.
  • To disseminate crucial information about these individuals.
  • To allow member countries to effectively use their resources towards their apprehension.
  • To collaborate with law enforcement agencies worldwide to locate and capture these alleged criminals.
  • To join forces to serve justice.

Role of Interpol in International Law Enforcement

Interpol plays a important role in international law enforcement. It fosters collaboration and coordination among police forces globally, liaising with international tribunal entities when the need arises. This collective approach forms a united front against transnational crime, contributing to a safer global community.

Interpol fosters cooperation among member countries to combat transnational crime, like drug trafficking, by:

  • Streamlining the sharing and access of data across national boundaries.
  • Aiding in synchronized police operations.
  • Acting as the national point of contact and coordination.
  • Organizing international investigative efforts among law enforcement agencies within their national jurisdiction.

Criteria for Inclusion on the List

The procedure of adding an individual to Interpol’s Most Wanted List is stringent and systematic. It involves multiple steps:

  1. Information collection.
  2. Detail verification and scrutiny.
  3. Request submission by the NCB of Interpol member-country.
  4. Interpol’s review and approval.
  5. Publication of the individual’s details. personal and judicial data on the list.

This stringent and scrupulous verification procedure should theoretically ensure that only those who pose a significant threat to international security and are accused of organized crimes commitment are included in the Interpol Wanted List when member countries apply. However, quite often abuse of Interpol channels takes place, something that lawyers have to deal with afterwards.

Red Notices, which form a crucial part of the Interpol Most Wanted List, can only be issued for serious crimes, ensuring that the offense is severe enough to warrant international attention. These encompass offenses such as:

  • violent crimes (murder, rape, robbery);
  • organized transnational crimes;
  • drugs trafficking;
  • human trafficking;
  • cyber crimes;
  • terrorism;
  • serious economic crimes (fraud in large amounts, embezzlement of public funds);
  • money laundering.

However, certain offenses that involve controversial issues related to behavioral or cultural norms, as determined by the judicial authorities of the requesting country, may not meet the eligibility criteria for a Red Notice. Interpol is also bared to get involved in any persecutions of political, military or religious nature.

Notable Cases from Interpol’s Most Wanted List

Cases from Interpol's Most Wanted List

The Interpol’s Most Wanted List has seen an array of high-profile cases over the years, encompassing a variety of severe criminal offenses.

High-profile murder cases on the list include alleged criminals such as Dimitrios Androutsopoulos Jr., Yaser Abdel Said, Eugene Palmer, and William Bradford Bishop Jr. Cases involving sexual offenses include James Anthony Hatsis indicted for child molestation, Joseph J. Henn who fled after accusations of molesting boys, and Kent Douglas Eaton accused of sex crimes with minors. Terrorism-related cases involve individuals such as Ahmad Abousamra, indicted for seeking military training, and Mohamed Hesham Youssef, for providing support to terrorist groups.

Interpol utilizes various legal tools to track and apprehend individuals with outstanding warrants. The organization primarily uses ‘Notices’ and ‘Diffusions’ for this purpose. These tools enable Interpol to disseminate information about wanted persons to law enforcement agencies worldwide, facilitating their capture.

There are several categories of notices that Interpol issues, each serving a specific purpose. These include:

Diffusions, on the other hand, are used to promptly seek international cooperation, albeit within a narrower scope of action than notices, however, having the same legal purpose and implications for a person concerned. Diffusions, just the same as notices, are used for the purpose of locating and detaining individuals involved in various crimes, including drug trafficking, with the purpose of their further extradition to the requesting country.

How Interpol Works with National Authorities

Interpol’s success in apprehending international fugitives hinges significantly on its partnership with national law enforcement agencies. Through international cooperation, Interpol and these agencies join forces to address international crime, including:

  • drug trafficking;
  • human trafficking;
  • cybercrime;
  • terrorism;
  • organized crime and money laundering.

The communication between Interpol and national authorities is facilitated through the INTERPOL National Central Bureaus (NCBs) and the secure global police communications network called I-24/7. This network aids in combating various crimes, including drug trafficking.

When national authorities seek assistance from Interpol, they contact their local Interpol National Central Bureau (NCB), which communicates with Interpol to provide pertinent information about the fugitive and facilitate international collaboration in apprehension endeavors.

The Process of Extradition

Extradition, a legal process, facilitates the transfer of a person, typically a fugitive, from one jurisdiction to another for criminal prosecution or punishment, encompassing offenses, such as drug trafficking and other serious transnational crimes. This process is crucial in ensuring that criminals cannot evade justice by simply crossing borders.

The extradition process involves several stages, including:

  1. Submission of an extradition request by the requesting state to the requested state.
  2. The request is supported by necessary documentation, such as a judicial arrest warrant.
  3. The requested state reviews the request and determines its sufficiency.
  4. The requested state verifies whether an offense for which the extradition is sought is an extraditable one according to a relevant bilateral extradition treaty (however, please be aware that extradition can in fact take place even in the absence of a formal bilateral extradition treaty, including through diplomatic channels and based on immigration laws, when an individual can simply be deported of expelled from the country as a foreigner).
  5. The requested state checks if there are no bars for extradition, such as, lack of dual criminality, political motives of the prosecution, poor health of the persons sought for surrender, risk of torture or other inhuman or degrading treatment, risk of not providing a person with minimum procedural guarantees in the requesting state (including a Fair Trial).
  6. If the request is deemed sufficient, the fugitive is arrested and detained in the requested state.

A judicial phase follows, during which the extradition hearing takes place to determine if the fugitive should be extradited. If the extradition is approved, the executive authority of the requested state decides whether to approve or deny the extradition. If approved, the fugitive is surrendered to the requesting state.

Public’s Role in Assisting Interpol

Assisting Interpol

The public significantly contributes to assisting Interpol in its mission. The eyes and ears of ordinary citizens can often reach places that law enforcement cannot, providing valuable leads and information that can aid in the apprehension of fugitives. The public’s assistance has resulted in operations such as:

  • those in the Southern District of Florida
  • the apprehensions conducted by the Austin Police Department in partnership with the Lone Star Fugitive Task Force
  • the high-impact initiatives of the U.S. Marshals Service

If a member of the public has information on an individual on Interpol’s Most Wanted List, they should inform their local police authorities. The public can also access Interpol’s Most Wanted List by visiting the official Interpol website and reviewing the ‘Wanted persons’ section. Interpol primarily disseminates information to the public by facilitating the exchange of information between national police forces and aiding in the tracking of criminals who cross national borders.

Recent Success Stories For International Police Cooperation

Interpol’s Most Wanted List has resulted in many successful cases, underscoring the power of international collaboration in capturing fugitives. Recent examples include the apprehension of nine Latin American most wanted fugitives in a global operation in 2022 and the arrest of Milan Radoicic, a figure known for criminal activities, by Kosovo authorities.

Prominent instances in the past five years include:

  • Operation Infra-Red in 2022, resulting in the apprehension of nine of Latin America’s most wanted fugitives
  • The capture of D-Company leader Dawood Ibrahim, a notorious organized crime group leader
  • The apprehension of FBI’s most wanted fugitive Semion Mogilevich
  • Paul Jeffrey Anderson, sought for suspected sex offenses involving minors
  • An Israeli criminal syndicate leader apprehended in South Africa, who was involved in drug trafficking.

Recent Success Stories For Lawyers who are fighting the abuse of Interpol System

Due to an active and professional work of Interpol Lawyers Interpol withdrew the Red Notice issued against fugitive businessman Mehul Choksi from India. The CBI from India declared they were seeking a restoration of Interpol red notice against Choksi, however, it is without any success for them so far. Subsequently, the participation of Interpol Lawyers also resulted in a refusal of Choksi extradition to India by Antigua and Barbuda court.


Protecting Human Rights in Interpol Operations

Besides enhancing international cooperation to combat crime, Interpol also prioritizes safeguarding human rights during its operations. Interpol’s policies for safeguarding human rights are based on the principles of national sovereignty and respect for human rights, as outlined in their Constitution. They have established a legal framework that prioritizes the effectiveness and quality of international cooperation among law enforcement authorities, with a specific focus on protecting vulnerable populations from crimes such as human trafficking and people smuggling.

Interpol ensures the maintenance of due process in its operations through the involvement of legal experts who oversee activities align with Interpol’s mandates. They conduct thorough risk assessments to mitigate any potential rights violations, including in cases related to drug trafficking.

Furthermore, Interpol has implemented a range of methods to monitor for potential human rights violations. These methods encompass measures to identify and address risks to individuals’ fundamental rights arising from data processing.

How can Interpol Lawyers help stop abuse of ‘red notices’

Legal professionals have a crucial part in preventing the misuse of Interpol’s Red Notices system. Red Notice requests are assessed by the Notices and Diffusions Task Force of INTERPOL, comprising of legal professionals, law enforcement officers, and operational experts. This task force ensures that each notice complies with Interpol’s rules and standards. However, Interpol’s own professionals can often be biased and not efficient in their scrutiny of requests for red notices publication. Therefore, it is very important that a persons concerned hires a private Interpol Lawyer who would make necessary inquiries to the CCF of Interpol ensuring that the Client’s rights are not violated and the data is removed from Interpol’s files, if it is processed in breach with Interpol’s rules and human rights standards.

If a Notice is determined to be non-compliant with INTERPOL’s Constitution and rules, it is subsequently cancelled, and member countries are duly informed of this decision.

The Commission for the Control of Interpol’s Files (CCF) functions as an autonomous entity responsible for:

  • Assessing requests pertaining to Interpol’s records
  • Encompassing those that challenge the validity of Red Notices
  • Introducing a level of legal supervision to mitigate their potential abuse.


Interpol’s Most Wanted List is a critical tool in the global fight against crime. It facilitates international cooperation and enhances global security, helping to apprehend some of the world’s most elusive criminals. The process of including individuals on the list is rigorous, involving several steps and strict criteria. Interpol’s operations are supported by a range of legal instruments and a close collaboration with national law enforcement agencies. The public plays a significant role in assisting Interpol, and their assistance has led to numerous success stories.

However, it’s important to remember that while Interpol’s mission is to combat crime, it is also committed to safeguarding human rights. They have established policies and procedures to ensure due process in their operations and to monitor for potential human rights violations. Legal professionals play a pivotal role in preventing the misuse of Interpol’s Red Notices system, ensuring that each notice complies with Interpol’s rules and standards.

Interpol Lawyer Dmytro Konovalenko
Dmytro Konovalenko
Senior Partner
Lawyer specializing in extradition and Interpol cases, with membership in the International Bar Association. In five years of practice, Dmitry has defended clients against persecution by law enforcement agencies in the United States, Russia, Uzbekistan, Ukraine, Russia and other countries. He has successfully applied measures to prevent a manhunt at early stages and specializes in defending in complex cases involving economic, political and military charges.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is number 1 most wanted right now?

The current number one most wanted fugitive is Wilver Villegas-Palomino. He is on the U.S. Marshals Service Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list, followed by Alejandro Rosales Castillo, Alexis Flores, Arnoldo Jimenez and Omar Alexander Cardenas.

What is Interpol most wanted?

Interpol's Most Wanted list consists of individuals wanted by a national jurisdiction, either for prosecution or to serve a sentence. This list is inclusive of all fugitives being sought internationally for capture and extradition.

Was Jason Derek Brown ever found?

Despite a 2008 sighting and the FBI increasing the reward for his capture to $200,000 in 2013, Jason Derek Brown remains at large as he was removed from the Top Ten Most Wanted list without being captured in September 2022.

How do I know if I am wanted by Interpol?

If one suspects they may be on Interpol's Wanted List, the best way to check is by employing a qualified Interpol and Extradition Lawyer. Additionally, one can also visit Interpol's website and check their 'wanted persons' section. Read more about how to know you're wanted by Interpol on our website.

What is the purpose of Interpol's Most Wanted List?

Interpol's Most Wanted List seeks to identify and spread awareness of wanted persons accused of transnational crimes, in order to facilitate international cooperation and increase global security.

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