Locals at the Railway Tavern in Hampton Wick, Surrey, were stunned to discover that John Stryker, former landlord, was a fugitive on the run from the FBI for more than ten years. The genial landlord, who transformed a "right old hole," in the words of one regular, into the best pub in town, was in fact Nofio Pecora Jr, an alleged serial fraudster with Mafia connections. He appears to have taken his pseudonym from the 1949 John Wayne film "The Sands of Iwo Jima." Upon his eventual return to the US, he will face federal fraud charges in Louisiana, where he was charged with 41 counts of money laundering and fraud in 1991. Pecora's deception was discovered only last month when he was accused of trying to obtain a British Passport and shotgun licence under a false name. Suspicious Home Office staff alerted police, who arrested him on 1 December. Pecora is now serving six months in jail, and awaiting extradition to the US. Rachel Brisland, the new licensee of the Railway, said the news had come as a bit of a shock. "I've not heard a bad word against him," she said, "He was very popular."

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