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Northwest Iowa meth conspiracy lands woman in federal prison


SIOUX CITY – A woman who conspired to distribute methamphetamine was sentenced July 15, 2021, to more than 5 years in federal prison.

Ruby Blankenship, 45, from Brandon, South Dakota, received the prison term after a November 3, 2020, guilty plea to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.

Evidence at the plea and sentencing hearings showed that from about November 2019 through March 2020, Blankenship and others conspired to distribute more than 22 pounds of methamphetamine. Blankenship allowed others to store methamphetamine at her residence in the Iowa Lakes area. Co-conspirators traveled to California, obtained 20 pounds of methamphetamine, which was brought back to Iowa, hidden in the gas tank of the vehicle for later distribution. The meth was ultimately unloaded by co-conspirators in a detached building/garage at Blankenship’s residence. In March 2020, law enforcement executed a search warrant at Blankenship’s residence, including a detached building/garage, and seized a total of 20 pounds of methamphetamine from the property and vehicles leaving the property.

Blankenship was sentenced in Sioux City by United States District Court Chief Judge Leonard T. Strand. Blankenship was sentenced to 63 months’ imprisonment. She must also serve a 3-year term of supervised release after the prison term. There is no parole in the federal system. Blankenship is being held in the United States Marshal’s custody until she can be transported to a federal prison.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Shawn S. Wehde and investigated by Tri-State Drug Task Force based in Sioux City, Iowa, that consists of law enforcement personnel from the Drug Enforcement Administration; Sioux City, Iowa, Police Department; Homeland Security Investigations; Woodbury County Sheriff’s Office; South Sioux City, Nebraska, Police Department; Nebraska State Patrol; Iowa National Guard; Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement; United States Marshals Service; South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation; and Woodbury County Attorney’s Office.

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