Chambers County Woman Convicted of Conspiracy Involving Destructive Devices
|March 30, 2012|
HOUSTON - Pamela Leggett, 31, of Anhuac, Texas, has entered a plea of guilty to conspiracy to illegally receive, make and possess unregistered firearms and destructive devices and to aiding and abetting illegal possession of an unlawful machine gun, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today along with Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) acting Special Agent-in-Charge Gary Orchowski.
The indictment, returned Oct. 6, 2011, charged that from March 2006 through July 2009, Leggett and her deceased common law husband accumulated a supply of precursor chemicals they used to assemble a total of 122 destructive devices, some of which were obtained via Ebay. The destructive devices were improvised explosives that, in some cases, contained pieces of rebar, nails and bullets. Today, Leggett entered a plea of guilty before U.S. District Judge Melinda Harmon admitting to the conspiracy.
The charges and subsequent conviction arose from an altercation with local authorities on July 13, 2009, during which a deputy sheriff was shot and killed.
On that morning, two utility workers arrived at the residence to turn off the water for non-payment of the utility bill, at which time Leggett fired two shots in their direction, telling them to get off the property. The utility workers immediately dialed 911. Four officers immediately responded, one of which was aware that a man, woman and child resided at the home. The officers approached the front door, knocked and announced themselves to be police. When no one responded, one of the deputies loudly ordered they open the door or police would force entry. No one responded. Shortly thereafter, Leggett opened the front door and exited the home, at which time a deputy saw a weapon tucked into her waistband which he soon confiscated.
According to court records, deputies, concerned there was a child present and for potential safety, entered the home. Hearing rustling noises, the officers continued to announce they were the police and to come out, when suddenly, shots were fired through a wall and a deputy was immediately struck twice in the head and killed. A flurry of gunfire was exchanged and law enforcement withdrew from the house, dragging the deputy with them.
Shortly thereafter, additional law enforcement agencies and officers arrived on the scene, surrounded the house and were in a perceived stand off because no one within the home would respond. Eventually, a front end loader was utilized to tear down a wall of the home and police observed a man inside with a fatal gunshot wound to his head. A subsequent autopsy concluded that the cause of his death was a self inflicted gunshot to the head.
A search warrant was later executed on the home where 122 improvised explosive devices, stores of precursor chemicals for making explosives, a guide book on explosives assembly, a machine gun, an illegal short barrel rifle and three illegal silencers, along with assorted other weapons were discovered. Records revealed Leggett was the person responsible for ordering many of the precursor chemicals used to assemble the destructive devices. She also admitted to labeling many of the storage containers that held those precursor chemicals. One of Leggett’s fingerprints was also discovered on the underside of tape that was affixed to one of the destructive devices during its assembly. Law enforcement was also able to trace the paperwork for initial purchase of the short barrel firearm and for the weapon that was later converted to be a machine gun. In each case, Leggett was the purchaser.
During an interview with law enforcement, Leggett admitted she knew of the machine gun and was willing to accept responsibility for being in possession of the weapon.
Judge Harmon has set sentencing for June 29, 2012, at 10:00 a.m., at which time she faces up to 10 years imprisonment for the possession of a machine gun in addition to five years imprisonment for the conspiracy charge. Both convictions also carry a potential fine of $250,000. Leggett will remain in federal custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
This investigation leading to the federal charges was conducted by the Texas Rangers, FBI, ATF, the Chambers County Sheriff’s Office, the Baytown Police Department, the Bay Area Regional Bomb Squad, the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Houston Police Department, Metro Police Department Bomb Squad and the Pasadena Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney John D. Jocher is prosecuting the case.