St. Louis mans pleads guilty to pipe bomb possession

EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – A St. Louis man pleaded guilty in federal court last week to receiving and possessing a pipe bomb, US Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois Donald Boyce said.

According to court documents, the crime occurred between July 20 and July 28 in Madison County, Illinois. The defendant, Paul Owens, solicited a pipe bomb from undercover authorities.

Owens specified he wanted the device to be four inches long, with hardened steel caps, filled with black powder, and a fuse length between 18 and 24 inches.

On July 28, Owens accepted a tool box containing the device, which had been constructed by an ATF bomb expert. Authorities said if Owens had attempted to detonate the pipe bomb, the device would only release smoke.

Owens paid the undercover agent with morphine pills, at which point he was arrested.

Prosecutors charged Owens with unlawful receipt and possession of an unregistered destructive device.

Owens, 30, faces up to 10 years in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release, as well as a $250,000 fine.