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Tuesday, May 28, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

15 Years for Arsenal Owner

HOUSTON (CN) - A Texas woman was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison for making 122 bombs and aiding in the possession of an illegal machine gun.

Pamela Leggett, 32, of Anahuac pleaded guilty to the charges on March 30.

Anahuac, pop. 2,100, is about 40 miles east of Houston.

The charges stem from a July 13, 2009 altercation at Leggett's home, prosecutors said.

"On that morning, two utility workers arrived at the residence to turn off the water for nonpayment of the utility bill, at which time Leggett fired two shots in their direction, telling them to get off the property," the U.S. Attorney's Office said in a statement.

"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."

More police arrived and surrounded the home during a 10-hour standoff, according to The Anahuac Progress newspaper.

"Eventually," prosecutors said, "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."

Police found an assault rifle next to the body of Leggett's common-law husband, Gilbert Ortez Jr., The Progress reported.

"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," prosecutors said in the statement. "Records revealed Leggett was the person responsible for ordering many of the precursor chemicals used to assemble the destructive devices."

Leggett's fingerprint was found on tape attached to one of the homemade bombs, prosecutors said.

Police also traced paperwork to find that Leggett had purchased the short-barrel rifle and the gun that was converted to a machine gun, prosecutors said.

U.S. District Judge Melinda Harmon on Monday sentenced Leggett to the maximum 120 months for possessing an illegal machine gun, and 60 months for conspiracy to make and possess unregistered firearms and bombs.

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