A 42-year-old Joplin man has pleaded guilty to four felony charges, including a drug-trafficking count, and faces up to seven years in prison.

Ryan X. Johnson changed his plea to guilty Thursday in Jasper County Circuit Court on counts of second-degree trafficking in drugs, delivery of a controlled substance, unlawful use of a weapon and driving while intoxicated in an agreement with the prosecutor's office.

The plea agreement calls for concurrent terms on the four convictions, but does not cap any of them at any less time than the maximum for their level of offense. The two drug counts both carry up to seven years in prison and the weapon and drunken-driving offenses up to four years each.

Circuit Judge Dean Dankelson delayed formal acceptance or rejection of the plea deal and ordered that a sentencing assessment of the defendant be completed prior to a sentencing hearing March 31. The convictions stem from arrests of Johnson in 2019 and 2020.

The Ozarks Drug Enforcement Team served a search warrant Feb. 20, 2019, on Johnson's home at 615 S. Ozark Ave., seizing eight bags containing 31 grams of methamphetamine, about an ounce of marijuana and various pills for which he had no prescription, including oxycodone and alprazolam. A handgun and four long guns also were seized and the defendant was charged with delivery of a controlled substance and unlawful use of a weapon.

On Sept. 4, 2020, a Joplin police officer stopped a Ford Windstar van Johnson purportedly was driving in an unsafe manner. A probable-cause affidavit states that the officer noticed he had bloodshot eyes and body tremors, and appeared to possibly be under the influence of drugs.

The officer also observed a bag containing white residue in a door panel of the vehicle and a search of the van turned up 42.6 grams of meth, some marijuana and a bag containing what Johnson told the officer were "magic mushrooms," according to the affidavit.

He was arrested and charged with the trafficking count and an aggravated offense level of driving while intoxicated.

Jeff Lehr is a reporter for The Joplin Globe. 

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