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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

Middle District of Florida

For Immediate Release

September 14, 2011

Robert E. O'Neill, United States Attorney

Contact: William Daniels, Office of Public Affairs
(813) 274-6388

St. Petersburg Man Sentenced for 16,000 Pounds of Marijuana

Tampa, Florida — U.S. Attorney Robert E. O’Neill announces that U.S. District Judge James D. Whittemore has sentenced Leon J. Wood (61, St. Petersburg) to twenty years in federal prison for conspiracy to possess 1,000 kilograms or more of marijuana with intent to distribute it and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. The court also ordered Wood to forfeit five firearms, 700 rounds of ammunition, five houses, 36 U.S. gold coins, a 2003 Lexus SUV, and more than $1million in cash, which are all traceable to proceeds of the offense. As part of his sentence, the court also entered a money judgment in the amount of $1.5 million, the proceeds of the conspiracy and a $10,000 fine, due immediately.

Wood pled guilty on February 10, 2011.

According to court documents, from 2003 through 2010, Wood financed a drug trafficking organization that was responsible for bringing approximately 16,000 pounds of marijuana from Arizona to the Middle District of Florida. The couriers would drive from Pinellas County to Arizona and pick up 200–220 pound loads of marijuana and transport it back to Pinellas County to be distributed by Wood and others. In addition to the drug couriers, a separate courier usually transported the cash payment for the load. In April 2010, law enforcement executed a search warrant at Wood's home in Pinellas County and seized five firearms, 700 rounds of ammunition, cocaine, marijuana, gold coins, and approximately $980,000 located in a floor safe. Wood was indicted along with six other individuals, all with ties to Arizona, Georgia, and Florida. All of the individuals indicted have been sentenced to federal prison terms ranging from three to fifteen years.

This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office HIDTA Task Force. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Shauna S. Hale and Anita Cream.