A Tampa federal court judge sentenced Leon J. Wood of St. Petersburg to twenty years in federal prison for drug and gun charges earlier this month. Wood pleaded guilty back in February to charges of 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.
In addition to the prison sentence, Wood was ordered to forfeit a substantial amount of property that prosecutors alleged was related to or purchased with proceeds from the charged offenses. The forfeited property included five firearms, 700 rounds of ammunition, five houses, 36 U.S. gold coins, a 2003 Lexus SUV, and more than $1 million in cash. Wood was also fined $10,000 (payable immediately) and ordered to pay an additional $1.5 million as a money judgment.
According to the indictment and plea documents, Wood financed a drug trafficking organization from 2003 to 2010. Over that time, the operation brought approximately 16,000 pounds of marijuana from Arizona to Pinellas County. The transport was done by couriers who drove 200-220 pound loads of marijuana cross-country. Separate couriers usually transported the cash payments for the loads.
In April 2010, federal law enforcement (the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA)) executed a search warrant at Wood’s home in St. Petersburg and seized firearms, ammunition, cocaine, marijuana, gold coins, and approximately $980,000 located in a floor safe. (This was a portion of the property ultimately forfeited to the government.)
Wood was indicted along with six others, all of whom have also been sentenced to federal prison terms ranging from three to fifteen years.