Rocket Launcher, drugs seized in South Howard County

Christopher Lee Owens

According to a Press Release from the Howard County Sheriff’s Department, a Boonville man was taken into custody last Wednesday.
During the evening hours of Nov. 29th, 2017, the Howard County Sheriff’s Office, East Central Drug Task Force, and the Missouri State Highway Patrol executed a narcotics search warrant at the residence 1471 Howard County Road 433, in Rocheport. A search of the residence was conducted and officers seized methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia used for both the ingestion; and distribution of narcotics. According to a probable cause statement, during the course of the investigation a woman told the investigators she knew of several local burglaries, and specifically, the theft of a rocket launcher, which had been reported stolen from a Harrisburg residence approximately four weeks earlier. The woman proceeded to help authorities by luring Christopher Lee Owns to the residence.
According to the statement, Owens, 35, was detained and informed investigators the rocket launcher was in his car. An M72 antitank weapon and 25 rocket “training rounds” were found in Owens’ vehicle, along with several other suspicious devices, and marijuana. One of the training rounds had been altered by adding PVC tubing with fins and aluminum foil to the tail. The Harrisburg man, from whom the rocket launcher and training rounds were stolen, has a legal permit to posses the weapon and rounds, according to Howard County Sheriff Mike Neal. Owens was arrested without incident and transported to the Howard County Jail.
Due to the potential hazard of the items, Missouri State Highway Patrol Bomb Squad was requested to respond in order to properly handle the rocket launcher and the other suspicious items. The Missouri State Highway Patrol Bomb Squad arrived on scene and took possession of hazardous items. The hazardous items were transported from the scene to the Franklin Island Wildlife Area, in New Franklin. On Thursday, Nov. 30, the hazardous items were rendered safe by a controlled explosion conducted by the 763rd Explosives Ordinance Disposal Company, from Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., and the Missouri State Highway Patrol’s Bomb Squad at approximately 6 a.m.
Howard County Prosecuting Attorney Deborah Riekhof formally charged Owens with Felony unlawful possession of an explosive weapon and felony possession of stolen property. He is currently held at Howard County with a bond of $50,000 cash only.
Howard County Sheriff Mike Neal stated, “Because of the information obtained by Howard County Deputies and Task Officers of the East Central Drug Task Force, these dangerous items were able to be recovered. This type of case is exactly why our County is part of a drug task force and these cases are helping to fulfill our goal of keeping the community safe.”
Owens is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday, Dec. 12. He is charge with Class D Felony Stealing an Explosive Weapon and Class D Felony Illegal Possession of Explosives.

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