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Iowa rodeo clown sentenced to prison for growing weed

hemp marijuanaCEDAR RAPIDS – A professional rodeo clown who grew marijuana for over six years was sentenced on May 29, 2013, to twenty years in federal prison.

Rory Meeks, 55, from Marion, Iowa, received the prison term after a March 8, 2013, jury verdict finding him guilty of conspiracy to manufacture marijuana.

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.

Meeks conviction was his second drug trafficking conviction in federal court. In 1987, a jury found Meeks guilty of three charges involving cocaine trafficking. Following that conviction, a Federal District Court Judge sentenced Meeks to ten years’ imprisonment and imposed a $10,000 fine.

On his latest conviction, Meeks was sentenced in Cedar Rapids by United States District Court Chief Judge Linda R. Reade. Meeks was sentenced to twenty years’ imprisonment. Because this was Meeks’ second felony drug conviction and due to the amount of marijuana involved, Meeks was subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of twenty years in prison. A special assessment of $100 was also imposed. Meeks must also serve a ten-year term of supervised release after the prison term. There is no parole in the federal system.

Meeks is being held in the United States Marshal’s custody until he can be transported to a federal prison.

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

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