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NEWS RELEASE

OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY

WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI


JOHN F. WOOD


Contact Don Ledford, Public Affairs ● (816) 426-4220 ● 400 East Ninth Street, Room 5510 ● Kansas City, MO 64106

www.usdoj.gov/usao/mow/index.html


AUGUST 7, 2008

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


PLATTE COUNTY MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO METH CONSPIRACY,

METH LAB EXPLOSION, SHOOT-OUT WITH POLICE


FACES AT LEAST 30 YEARS IN PRISON


            KANSAS CITY, Mo. – John F. Wood, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Platte County, Mo., man pleaded guilty in federal court today to his role in a large-scale conspiracy to manufacture and distribute methamphetamine. While attempting to flee from police officers, he detonated an explosion at his residence and engaged in a shoot-out and high-speed car chase with officers.


            Bryan G. Leonard, 32, of Platte County, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Dean Whipple this morning to the charges contained in an April 10, 2008, federal indictment.


            “This case illustrates the dangers caused by methamphetamine production and trafficking,” Wood said. “Leonard detonated a violent explosion that burned his house to the ground, and engaged in a shoot-out and car chase that endangered the lives of numerous law enforcement officers. By operating a massive meth lab in a residential neighborhood near a public school, he put the health and safety of many innocent people at risk.”


            By pleading guilty today, Leonard admitted that he was involved in a conspiracy to manufacture well over 15 kilograms of methamphetamine between Jan. 1, 2006, and April 10, 2008. Leonard also pleaded guilty to creating a substantial risk of harm to human life while manufacturing or attempting to manufacture methamphetamine, to discharging a firearm during and in relation to a drug-trafficking crime, to forcible assault by use of a dangerous weapon against a federal law enforcement officer, and to maliciously destroying a building by means of fire and explosive materials.


            Police officers responded to a call from the Crime Stoppers TIPS Hotline regarding a methamphetamine lab at a residence just north of Park Hill South High School on Sept. 5, 2007. Detectives noted multiple surveillance cameras around the residence, as well as a strong chemical odor coming from vents in the garage area. The chemical smell is frequently associated with chemicals used in the manufacturing of methamphetamine. The windows of the residence and garage had been covered from the inside with black plastic.


            When no one answered the door at the residence, officers remained at the scene while waiting to obtain a search warrant. Leonard came out of the residence and started shooting at police officers in an attempt to escape from the residence. As he exited the residence, Leonard detonated an explosive device, which caused the residence to explode and burn to the ground and sent Leonard flying through the air. He fled through the back yard to where a Jeep was sitting and led police officers on a high-speed pursuit. No one was injured in the shooting or the explosion.


            During the car chase, Leonard drove through English Landing Park on a pedestrian walking trail. Several people who were on the walking trail had to take evasive actions to get out of the way because Leonard was traveling at them at a high rate of speed. Leonard then drove on railroad tracks and turned onto Intercon Drive, and entered the Intercontinental property service road where he did not stop at a guard shack and crashed through a stop arm. Leonard attempted to crash through a gate and failed; the Jeep came to rest and Leonard was arrested. Leonard had a “bank bag” in the front of his pants containing $8,830 in cash and two plastic bags with 2.52 grams of methamphetamine.


            Investigators collected numerous items relating to an extremely large methamphetamine lab from Leonard’s residence. An investigator who has worked for the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department Crime Laboratory as a chemist for over 10 years and worked on hundreds of methamphetamine laboratory investigations, stated that the methamphetamine laboratory he found at Leonard’s residence was one of largest he had ever seen. The methamphetamine laboratory was in the garage, where three burners were lined up against the garage wall; with each burner, Leonard would have been capable of cooking many pounds of methamphetamine at a time. On one of the burners was the remains of a large flask, with a mixture of iodine, ephedrine/pseudoephedrine, amphetamine and methamphetamine, which indicates a cook in progress at the time of the fire.


            In addition to the narcotics items recovered, detectives found numerous pieces of firearms and ammunition from Leonard’s residence. Due to the fire, many of these items were damaged severely. Investigators determined that the firearms included a Ruger .22-caliber rifle, an Auto-Ordinance .45-caliber rifle a Kel-Tec Sub-2000 rifle, two Ruger 9 mm pistols, an AR-15 type firearm, a Mossberg shotgun, an Erma-Werke .380-caliber pistol and a Smith & Wesson pistol. Detectives also recovered a Smith & Wesson .38-caliber revolver from inside Leonard’s truck, which was parked in the driveway.


            “We have been working closely with Platte County Prosecuting Attorney Eric Zahnd to bring this defendant to justice,” Wood said. “I am grateful for his involvement in this joint investigation and appreciate the excellent working relationship between our offices.”


            Under federal statutes, Leonard could be subject to a sentence of at least 30 years in federal prison without parole, up to life in federal prison without parole. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.


            This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew P. Wolesky. It was investigated by the Metro Drug Task Force, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Platte County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department, the Parkville, Mo., Police Department, the Riverside, Mo., Department of Public Safety, the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department and the U.S. Marshals Service.


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This news release, as well as additional information about the office of the United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, is available on-line at

www.usdoj.gov/usao/mow/index.html