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United States v. Wood

United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
57 F.3d 913 (1995)


The federal government (plaintiff) prosecuted Thomas Nathaniel Wood and his brother David Leslie Wood (defendants) for several drug-related offenses, including manufacturing marijuana in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1). The trial evidence established that a National Forest Service pilot discovered three patches of marijuana plants growing in remote areas of National Forest land. A Forest Service ground investigation confirmed the aerial spottings. Forest Service officers set up a video camera in one patch and kept tabs on each patch to monitor the plants' condition through the summer and into the fall. On two occasions, videotapes showed the Wood brothers trimming the plants, apparently to promote their growth. On other occasions, officers visited the patches and found fresh tire tracks and footprints, along with evidence that the plants had been groomed, watered, fertilized, and in some cases harvested. When federal agents searched the brothers' residences and Thomas Wood's car, they found marijuana seeds, scales, plastic baggies, and assorted other drug paraphernalia, as well as marijuana plants and baggies full of processed marijuana. The Woods testified that they found the three Forest Service marijuana patches in the course of their woodland ramblings. The brothers said they took some leaves and seeds from the Forest Service marijuana plants for their own use, and took some marijuana plants from a nearby river, but they denied selling marijuana or doing anything to cultivate the Forest Service marijuana patches. The jury found both brothers guilty of manufacturing marijuana, and they appealed to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Seymour, C.J.)

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