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Press Release

Sioux City Man Sentenced to Seven years in Federal Prison for Drug Conviction

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Iowa
Defendant had a previous conviction for Domestic Abuse Assault.

A man who conspired to distribute methamphetamine throughout northwest Iowa was sentenced October 15, 2018, to 7 years in federal prison.

Joel Rodriguez, age 38, from Sioux City, Iowa, received the prison term after a May 10, 2018, guilty plea to one count of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and one count of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine.

Evidence presented by the United States at the change of plea and sentencing hearings revealed that from on or about August 1, 2017, and continuing through May of 2018, in the Northern District of Iowa, and elsewhere, defendant Joel Rodriguez, and others reached an agreement or came to an understanding to distribute methamphetamine. 

During his involvement in the conspiracy, defendant was responsible for the distribution of more than 50 grams of methamphetamine mixture or 5 grams or more of actual (pure) methamphetamine. On or about March 20, 2018, in the Northern District of Iowa, Rodriguez knowingly and intentionally, possessed with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine or 5 grams or more of actual (pure) methamphetamine.

Rodriguez previously had been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence, namely, Domestic Abuse Assault Causing Bodily Injury, in the Iowa District Court for Buena Vista County, on or about May 21, 2012, in case number AGCR041504.

Rodriguez was sentenced in Sioux City by Chief United States District Court Judge Leonard T. Strand.  Rodriguez was sentenced to 84 months’ imprisonment.  A special assessment of $200.00 was imposed.  He must also serve a 4-year term of supervised release after the prison term.  There is no parole in the federal system.

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

Court file information at

The case file number is CR18-4029.

This case was prosecuted as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods, a cooperative local, state and federal program aimed at the enhanced prosecution of gun crimes.  The case was 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.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Forde Fairchild.

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Updated October 22, 2018

Drug Trafficking
Project Safe Neighborhoods