Poplar Bluff man sentenced to over 22 years on meth charges

Michael Joe Wells (Source: Dunklin County Jail)
Michael Joe Wells (Source: Dunklin County Jail)

POPLAR BLUFF, MO (KFVS) - A Poplar Bluff man was sentenced to more than 22 years in prison on Monday, Feb. 13 on meth charges.

Michael Joe "Buster" Wells, 57, was sentenced to a little over 22 years on one felony count of conspiracy to make 50 grams or more of meth and 20 years on seven counts of possession of pseudoephedrine with intent to make meth. The sentences are to run concurrently.

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Missouri says upon release from prison, Wells will serve 10 years supervised release.

During the jury trial, the attorney's office says evidence was presented that between June 23, 2008 and August 26, 2009, Wells conspired with his wife, Tonya Wells, and others to get pseudoephedrine pills for use in making meth. Records introduced at trial established that during this period, Wells and his co-conspirators made 105 purchases of pseudoephedrine from area pharmacies totaling more than 290 grams.

On August 26, 2009, Poplar Bluff police, Butler county Sheriff's deputies and the SEMO Drug Task Force went to the Wells' home to serve federal arrest warrants. When they arrived, officers arrested Tonya Wells who was in the back yard. While officers were talking to her, they heard an explosion and saw a flash inside of the home. When officers went inside, they saw Wells trying to destroy a meth lab by washing it down the kitchen sink.

According to officers, when the contents of the lab came in contact with the water in the sink, a chemical reaction resulted, causing an explosion and a flash fire. They say Wells suffered minor burns to his chest and face.

Wells had a prior federal conviction from 2001 for trying to make meth, for which he served four years in federal prison. Tonya Wells previously pleaded guilty to her role in this incident and was sentenced to four years in federal prison.

The Poplar Bluff Police Department, Butler County Sheriff's Department, the SEMO Drug Task Force and Drug Enforcement Administration investigated this case. Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Tim J. Willis handled the prosecution for the government.

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