A 30-year-old St. Louis man faces up to 10 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to exchanging morphine pills for a homemade pipe bomb during a police-monitored deal in July.
Paul Ryan Owens asked the bomb builder on July 20 to assemble a pipe bomb in Madison County that was “four inches in length with hardened steel end caps containing black powder with a one and a half to two feet long fuse,” according to a release from the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Donald S. Boyce.
Eight days later, the release said, Owens exchanged morphine for the bomb — which was placed in a tool box. However, it was a fake bomb built by authorities. It was designed to only smoke when detonated.
Owens was immediately arrested by police.
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He pleaded guilty to charges Friday. He faces up to 10 years of imprisonment, three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine.