Ionia man sentenced to 25 years in prison for meth conspiracy

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An Ionia, Mo., man was sentenced in federal court for his role in a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine in Pettis County, Mo.

Thomas W. Pitts, 36, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Stephen R. Bough to 25 years in federal prison without parole. Pitts was sentenced as a career criminal due to his prior felony convictions for controlled substance offenses.

On March 29, 2023, Pitts was found guilty at trial of one count of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and two counts of distributing methamphetamine.

Evidence introduced during the trial indicated that Pitts participated in the drug-trafficking conspiracy from Feb. 18 to Nov. 16, 2021.

On Oct. 6, 2021, a confidential informant purchased approximately 28.8 grams of methamphetamine from Pitts for $700. An undercover federal agent was also present at Pitts’s residence during the transaction. On Oct. 28, 2021, the confidential informant and the undercover federal agent went to Pitts’s residence again. The confidential informant purchased approximately 57.6 grams of methamphetamine from Pitts for $900. Both of the transactions were recorded.

On Nov. 16, 2021, law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at Pitts’s residence and seized ammunition, a small amount of methamphetamine, and items associated with drug distribution.

Court documents indicate that Pitts routinely carried a firearm, and one was found in the possession of a third party during the search of Pitts’s residence on Nov. 16, 2021. When interviewed, the third-party eventually reported that Pitts handed him/her the firearm shortly before he was arrested.

Pitts has approximately 15 prior felony convictions for offenses including possession of a controlled substance, unlawful use of a weapon, resisting arrest, possession with the intent to deliver a controlled substance, delivery of a controlled substance, and driving while revoked or suspended.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Byron H. Black and Gregg R. Coonrod. It was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the St. Clair County, Mo., Sheriff’s Office, the Henry County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department, and the Mid-Missouri Drug Task Force.

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