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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, September 23, 2022

Arizona Woman Sentenced to Six Years in Prison for Conspiracy to Damage the Dakota Access Pipeline

DES MOINES, IA – An Arizona woman was sentenced today in federal court to six years in prison for Conspiracy to Damage an Energy Facility. Ruby Katherine Montoya, age 32, was ordered to serve three years of supervised release to follow her prison term and pay $3,198,512.70 in restitution.

According to court documents, Montoya, and co-defendant Jessica Reznicek, as early as November 8, 2016, and continuing until May 2, 2017, conspired with other individuals to damage the Dakota Access Pipeline at several locations within the Southern District of Iowa, Northern District of Iowa, and the District of South Dakota. Specifically, Montoya admitted to damaging and attempting to damage the pipeline by: (1) using an oxyacetylene cutting torch to burn holes in the pipeline, and (2) setting fire to pipeline instrumentation and equipment in Mahaska, Boone, and Wapello Counties within the Southern District of Iowa.

U.S. Attorney Richard D. Westphal stated, “The sentence imposed today demonstrates that any crime of domestic terrorism will be aggressively investigated and prosecuted by the federal government. The seriousness of the defendant’s actions – that occurred multiple times, at different locations, resulting in over $3 million dollars in restitution – warranted the significant prison sentence imposed by the Court and should deter others who think of engaging in such criminal acts.”

Following the sentencing, FBI Omaha Special Agent in Charge Eugene Kowel said, “The sentence received by Ruby Montoya sends a clear message that those who commit violence through an act of domestic terrorism will be identified, investigated, and prosecuted. The FBI is committed to protecting the American people. We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to bring domestic terrorists to justice.”

Montoya’s co-defendant, Jessica Reznicek, was sentenced to 96 months imprisonment on June 30, 2021.

This matter was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; Iowa Department of Public Safety, Fusion Center; Iowa State Fire Marshall; Des Moines Police Department; Sheriff’s Departments in Mahaska, Boone, Buena Vista, Cherokee, Jasper, Polk, Sioux, and Wapello Counties in Iowa; Lincoln County in South Dakota; and Minnehaha County in Minnesota. The case was prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa.

Topic(s): 
Domestic Terrorism
Contact: 
MacKenzie Tubbs 515-473-9300 USAIAS.PAO@usdoj.gov
Updated September 23, 2022