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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
District of South Dakota
For Immediate Release
Dennis R. Holmes, United States Attorney
Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Colorado Man Sentenced for Conspiracy to Distribute Meth and Possession of a Firearm by a Prohibited Person

United States Attorney Dennis R. Holmes announced that a Boulder, Colorado, man convicted of Conspiracy to Distribute a Controlled Substance and Possession of a Firearm by a Prohibited Person was sentenced on March 21, 2022, by Chief Judge Roberto A. Lange, U.S. District Court.

James Ruttledge, age 50, was sentenced to 168 months in federal prison, followed by 5 years of supervised release, a $1,000 fine, and a special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund in the amount of $200.

Ruttledge was indicted by a federal grand jury on November 11, 2020.  He pled guilty on December 30, 2021.

The convictions stem from a conspiracy which began in March, 2020, in which Ruttledge conspired with others to knowingly and intentionally distribute methamphetamine in and around central South Dakota.  Rutledge brought large amounts of methamphetamine from Denver, Colorado, to the Winner, South Dakota, area to be distributed.  As part of the conspiracy, Ruttledge was involved in a traffic stop on August 28, 2020, in Tripp County, South Dakota, wherein 200 grams of pure methamphetamine and a firearm were found in Ruttledge’s possession.  Ruttledge is felon and an unlawful user of a controlled substance making him a prohibited person.  

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts.  PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime.  Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them.  As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime

This case was investigated by the Northern Plains Safe Trails Drug Enforcement Task Force, the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation, the South Dakota Highway Patrol, the Tripp County Sheriff’s Office, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Meghan Dilges prosecuted the case.

Ruttledge was immediately turned over to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.


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