TAMPA — Mickey Lemons, the alleged boss of an interstate burglary ring that peddled stolen lawn equipment and prescription drugs, was sentenced this week to 18 years in federal prison.
Authorities say Lemons, 42, of Spring Hill, led a large ring that took lawn and construction equipment from area businesses and broke into numerous pharmacies in Pasco, Hillsborough and Hernando counties, taking large quantities of oxycodone, morphine, methadone, amphetamine and hydrocodone.
The stolen goods, altogether worth about $1.5 million, were then shuttled up to Alabama for resale.
The ring began to unravel in July 2009, when then-Pasco Sheriff Bob White stopped a suspicious truck in Trinity that was towing several large mowers in the middle of the night.
Two men were arrested for stealing those items, and investigators eventually tracked down about a dozen others involved in the ring.
Lemons was arrested last November and pleaded guilty in February to conspiring to commit burglaries that resulted in the interstate transportation of stolen vehicles and items valued at more than $5,000, and with pharmacy burglaries that resulted in the possession with intent to distribute controlled substances.
Other members of the ring have all pleaded guilty to related charges, with sentences ranging from probation to nine years in federal prison, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.