A Camdenton man, formerly of the state of Nevada, was sentenced to eight years in prison and forfeited more than $7,000 after pleading guilty to a drug charge in Miller County Circuit Court.

A Camdenton man, formerly of the state of Nevada, was sentenced to eight years in prison and forfeited more than $7,000 after pleading guilty to a drug charge in Miller County Circuit Court.
John P. Pawelczak, 44, was sentenced July 7, 2016. The judge sentenced him to prison pursuant to a long-term prison treatment program, according to a press release from the Miller County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.
Pawelczak plead guilty to the Class B felony of possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute.
He was arrested on Feb. 20, 2016 during a traffic stop on Highway 54 at Osage River Bridge by the Missouri State Highway Patrol. During the stop, 3.4 oz. of methamphetamine and $7,120 in cash were discovered in Pawelczak’s vehicle.
According to the probable cause statement filed by the trooper, Pawelczak was originally arrested for failure to signal, failure to affix a front plate, failure to register a motor vehicle, distribution of a controlled substance (meth) and possession of a controlled substance at a correctional facility (meth).
On patrol in Miller County, a trooper observed a blue Dodge Dakota pickup traveling on Highway 54 with no front plate, court documents state. Positioning himself behind the pickup, the trooper then saw that the pickup failed to signal while completing a lane change. Now directly behind the Dodge, the trooper saw the pickup turn again onto River Road and it did not signal again. The trooper then pulled the pickup over. There was a male driver and female passenger.
Pawelczak said the truck was old and he was in the process of fixing it and that he had bought the truck in November 2015 and was in the process of licensing - which was why the plate did not match the vehicle.
Pawelczak had a Nevada driver’s license.
The trooper had Pawelczak come back to the patrol vehicle and sit inside the car. As the trooper walked around to the driver’s side of the patrol car, he observed Pawelczak with his hands down his pants. Pawelczak then removed his hand from his pants and “immediately began to panic”. Breathing heavily, Pawelczak’s hands were shaking and he had stomach tremors, court documents state. Based on training and experience, the trooper said he took these as signs of nervous behavior.
Pawelczak gave the trooper consent to search the pickup where the trooper found the cash for which Pawelczak did not give a reason for such as large amount.
Pawelczak was on probation for possession of a controlled substance and the trooper observed track marks on his arm.
The trooper had the Osage Beach Police Department K-9 unit respond to the scene and the K-9 unit got a positive hit on the pickup. The trooper placed Pawelczak under arrest for the traffic violations and transported him to the Miller County jail.
Once at the jail, the trooper did an in-custody search of Pawelczak and found a large lump on his left inner thigh. Forcing the substance down, a sock fell out of the bottom of his jeans. Inside were two taped up bundles with a white crystal substance inside which field-tested positive for meth.
In addition to the criminal charge, the prosecutor filed a civil action to seize and keep the money because it was related to illegal activity.