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Press Release

Westside Man Sentenced to Federal Prison for Meth Conspiracy and Possessing a Firearm to Further the Conspiracy

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Iowa
Defendant pistol-whipped a government cooperator, sent thousands of dollars in drug proceeds to his Mexican source of supply, and engaged in a 4 hour standoff with police who came to arrest him.

A man who conspired to distribute over 100 pounds of methamphetamine and possessed a GSG, MP5, .22-caliber firearm to further the conspiracy was sentenced today to 26 years in federal prison.

Robert “Bobby” Whitenack, 37, from Westside, Iowa, received the prison term after an April 5, 2018, guilty plea to one count of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and one count of possession of a firearm during and in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

At sentencing, the government presented evidence that showed Whitenack distributed approximately 100 pounds of methamphetamine from January 2014 through May 2017.  During the conspiracy, Whitenack recruited at least five individuals to pick up pound-quantities of methamphetamine from Denison, Iowa, and Omaha, Nebraska, for distribution.  Whitenack received or expected to receive compensation for every pound that his subordinates sold.  Whitenack handled drug proceeds ranging from $20,000 to $63,000 at a time from his subordinates before sending most of the money to the source in Mexico or associates of the source.  In February 2017, Whitenack used a GSG, MP5, .22-caliber firearm and pistol-whipped a cooperator in the head, causing a deep gash in the victim’s forehead.   

The government also presented evidence that, on May 30, 2017, Whitenack engaged in a 4.5-hour standoff with law enforcement and threatened to commit “suicide by cop.”  After officers deployed multiple canisters of tear gas, Whitenack ultimately emerged from his residence with what appeared to be a gun in his right hand wrapped in a blanket while waving the middle finger on his left hand.  Unbeknownst to Whitenack, two members of the tactical team had entered the residence from the upstairs, allowing them to tase Whitenack from behind before ultimately securing his arrest. 

Whitenack was sentenced in Sioux City by United States District Court Chief Judge Leonard T. Strand.  Whitenack was sentenced to 312 months’ imprisonment.  He must also serve a 10-year term of supervised release after the prison term.  There is no parole in the federal system.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program that has been historically successful in bringing together all levels of law enforcement to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone.   Attorney General Jeff Sessions has made turning the tide of rising violent crime in America a top priority.   In October 2017, as part of a series of actions to address this crime trend, Attorney General Sessions announced the reinvigoration of PSN and directed all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to develop a district crime reduction strategy that incorporates the lessons learned since PSN launched in 2001.

Whitenack 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 Ajay J. Alexander and investigated by was investigated by the Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement, Drug Enforcement Administration, Crawford County Sheriff’s Office, Denison Police Department, Carroll County Sheriff’s Office, Carroll Police Department, and Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation. 

Court file information at https://ecf.iand.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/login.pl

The case file number is 17-CR-3020-LTS.

Follow us on Twitter @USAO_NDIA.

Updated September 25, 2018

Topics
Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses
Project Safe Neighborhoods