A 32-year-old Salem man was arrested over the weekend in what could be the largest meth bust in Salem’s history. Michael Wessel was arrested on Class X charges of armed violence, being an armed habitual criminal and aggravated possession with the intent to deliver methamphetamine.
He was also arrested on charges of aggravated domestic battery, aggravated unlawful restraint and possession of a firearm by a felon. According to Salem police, the responded Friday to a call from Salem Township Hospital reporting a woman had been battered and held against her will in a Salem home. Officers interviewed the woman Saturday and Wessel was identified as a suspect and his residence in the 1000 block of North Jackson in Salem as the location of the alleged incident. The woman told officers Wessel had beaten and strangled her before he threatened her with a handgun and forced her to stay in his home. A loaded handgun was reportedly located inside Wessel’s waistband along with approximately 15 grams of meth, $3,770 in cash, and other narcotic items.
A search warrant was issued for the Saturday night and police report locating an additional 1,645 grams of suspected meth, four handguns, a rifle, a large quantity of ammunition, scales and packaging items commonly used in the distribution of narcotics were located in the home during that search as well as other pills and narcotic items. An additional $18,674 in currency was seized that was located in proximity to the methamphetamine and firearms. The total amount of meth seized is estimated at 1,660 grams or 3.66 pounds.
Wessel remains in custody at the Marion County Jail pending formal charges by the Marion County State’s Attorney.