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Iowa rodeo clown guilty of marijuana conspiracy

CEDAR RAPIDS – A professional rodeo clown who grew marijuana for over six years was convicted by a jury on March 8, 2013, after a three-day trial in federal court in Cedar Rapids.

Rory Meeks, 55, from Marion, Iowa, was convicted of one count of conspiracy to manufacture marijuana and was acquitted of one count of manufacturing marijuana in April 2011.

The evidence at trial showed that Meeks, who worked as a rodeo clown and bullfighter in local and national rodeos, conspired with others to grow marijuana in rural Jones County from 2004 through 2011. Each spring, Meeks planted marijuana along corn and soybean fields in secluded spots throughout Jones County and then tended the plants throughout the summer. Meeks and others harvested the plants in the fall, processed the plants at a house in Jones County, and then sold the marijuana over the fall and winter. The jury found that Meeks was involved in growing over 1000 marijuana plants between 2004 and 2011.

Sentencing before United States District Court Chief Judge Linda R. Reade will be set after a presentence report is prepared. Meeks was taken into custody by the United States Marshal after the verdict was returned. Meeks faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment and a possible maximum sentence of life imprisonment, a $20,000,000 fine, a $100 special assessment, and at least 10 years of supervised release following any imprisonment.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Anthony Morfitt and was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Jones County Sheriff’s Office, and the Monticello Police Department.

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