United States Attorney Brendan V. Johnson announced that a Watertown, South Dakota, man convicted of Conspiracy to Distribute a Controlled Substance was sentenced on December 29, 2014, by U.S. District Judge Karen E. Schreier. Patricio Rodriguez Pena, age 56, was sentenced to 180 months in prison, to be followed by 5 years of supervised release. Pena was indicted for Conspiracy to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine by a federal grand jury on July 9, 2013. He pled guilty to the offense on October 6, 2014.
Pena’s indictment was a result of Operation Black Widow, an extensive multi-year investigation into a wide variety of alleged criminal activity. The investigation resulted in nearly a dozen indictments for drug trafficking and firearm offenses. For his part in the Operation, Pena provided at least 500 grams, but not more than 1.5 kilograms, of “ice” methamphetamine (at least 80% purity) to various co-conspirators to distribute in South Dakota and elsewhere.
The investigation was led by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF). ATF received significant assistance from other law enforcement agencies, including the Watertown Police Department, the Codington County Sheriff, the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation, and the Drug Enforcement Administration. Assistant U.S. Attorney John E. Haak prosecuted the case.
Pena was immediately turned over to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.