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Press Release

Des Moines Woman Pleads Guilty to Meth Conspiracy

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Iowa
Brownell distributed meth to Fort Dodge and Des Moines area dealers after a previous federal drug trafficking conviction in 2006

A woman who conspired to distribute methamphetamine pled guilty May 28, 2024, in federal court in Sioux City.

At the plea hearing, Pamela Brownell, 63, from Des Moines, Iowa, admitted that from September 2022 through October 2023, she and others conspired to distribute more than 45 kilograms of methamphetamine in the Fort Dodge, Iowa area.  In October 2023, law enforcement purchased ½ pound of methamphetamine from Brownell in a controlled drug transaction.  Also in October 2023, a traffic stop of Brownell resulted in the seizure of ½ pound of methamphetamine which she intended to distribute to others.  In 2006 Brownell was previously convicted in federal court of an attempt to possess methamphetamine with intent to distribute.        

Sentencing before United States District Court Chief Judge Leonard T. Strand will be set after a presentence report is prepared.  Brownell remains in custody of the United States Marshal pending sentencing.  Brownell faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years’ imprisonment and a possible maximum sentence of life imprisonment, a $20,000,000 fine, and at least ten years of supervised release following any imprisonment.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Shawn S. Wehde and was investigated by Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement, the Iowa State Patrol, the Iowa DCI Laboratory, and the Polk, Hamilton, and Webster County Sheriffs’ Offices. 

Court file information at

The case file number is 24-3007.  Follow us on Twitter @USAO_NDIA.

Updated May 28, 2024

Drug Trafficking