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.
He pleaded guilty to charges Friday. He faces up to 10 years of imprisonment, three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine.