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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Iowa

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Sioux City Area Drug Distributors Sentenced to Federal Prison

Loaded assault rifle and $150,000 found in local residence which served as hub for meth trafficking ring.

Five men and three women who conspired to distribute methamphetamine in the Sioux City area were sentenced to prison terms ranging from 84 to 204 months following guilty pleas entered over the past year.

Justin Wilde, age 39, of Sioux City, received his prison term after an August 1, 2017, guilty plea; Eduardo Ledesma, age 24, of South Sioux City, Nebraska, received his prison term after an August 23, 2017, guilty plea; Ruben Rios, age 22, of South Sioux City, received his prison term after a September 8, 2017, guilty plea; Adam Doty, age 29, of Sioux City, received his prison term after a September 15, 2017, guilty plea; Stormie Blank, age 33, of South Sioux City, received her prison term after an October 25, 2017, guilty plea; Joanna Gotschall, age 40, of South Sioux City, received her prison term after a November 16, 2017, guilty plea; Melanie Thiebault age 46, and Matthew Ruhland, age 36, both of Sioux City, each received their prison term after their January 19, 2018, guilty pleas. Wilde, Ledesma, Rios, Doty, Blank, Gotschall, Thiebault and Ruhland each pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.

Information provided by the United States at the sentencings and change of plea hearings showed Rios and Ledesma were multiple pound sources of supply of methamphetamine, cocaine, and marijuana in the area of Sioux City, Iowa and South Sioux City, Nebraska, as well as South Dakota.  Ledesma and Rios resided together in the Rios family home in South Sioux City, Nebraska. Ledesma and Rios were leaders of their drug dealing operation, which began in 2014.  Many of the drug transactions were initiated from the Rios residence. Evidence gathered by law enforcement and described in the sentencing hearings showed that Rios and Ledesma were also trafficking weapons.  During a search of the Rios home, officers discovered a loaded assault rifle, marijuana, methamphetamine, nearly a pound of cocaine, and approximately $150,000 in two different safes.  $50,000 of this money was to purchase more drugs, while the remaining money was profit from the drug conspiracy.  Ledesma was selling over $25,000 worth of methamphetamine and cocaine each month for more than a year.  Wilde was an ounce dealer of methamphetamine and Rios was his primary drug source.  Wilde purchased half ounce, one ounce, and two ounce quantities of methamphetamine at a time from Rios at least once per week .  At the time of her arrest Thibeault identified Ledesma as her drug source.  Thibeault purchased one ounce quantities of methamphetamine from Ledesma at least 10 times.  Gotschall was receiving one ounce to one-half pound of methamphetamine daily from Rios and reselling the methamphetamine for $1,000 to $1,300 per ounce.  Ruhland and Doty were methamphetamine dealers in the Sioux City, Iowa and were supplied by Ledesma and Rios.  Ruhland and Doty were receiving and re-selling multiple ounce quantities of methamphetamine.  Blank received ounce quantities of methamphetamine and broke it down to re-sell to others.  Rios was Blanks’ methamphetamine supplier.

Wilde was sentenced on January 31, 2018, to 120 months imprisonment; Doty was sentenced on April 27, 2018, to 91 months imprisonment; Blank was sentenced on May 3, 2018, to 90 months imprisonment; Gotschall was sentenced on June 14, 2018, to 120 months imprisonment; Ruhland was sentenced on June 22, 2018, to 84 months imprisonment; Rios and Thibeault were sentenced on June 25, 2018, Rios to 204 months imprisonment and Thibeault to 96 months imprisonment; and Ledesma was sentenced on July 23, 2018, to 180 months imprisonment.  Each were sentenced in Sioux City by Chief United States District Court Judge Leonard T. Strand.  Wilde, Gotschall, Rios and Ledesma must also each serve a 5-year term of supervised release after the prison term and Doty, Blank, Ruhland and Thibeault must also each serve a 4-year term of supervised release after the prison term.  There is no parole in the federal system.  Wilde, Ledesma, Rios, Doty, Blank, Gotschall, Thibeault, and Ruhland, were each ordered to pay a $100 special assessment.

Wilde, Ledesma, Rios, Doty, Blank, Goschall, Thibeault and Ruhland are each being held in the United States Marshal’s custody until they can be transported to a federal prison.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jack Lammers and investigated by the 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.

Court file information at   

The case file number is 17-4031.

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Drug Trafficking
Updated August 1, 2018