PIERRE — A Colorado man has been indicted on federal meth trafficking and gun charges in central South Dakota.
James Rutledge, 49, of Boulder, Colo., was indicted on three counts, including conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance, possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance and possession of a firearm by a prohibited person.
Rutledge was indicted Nov. 10 and appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark Moreno on Nov. 23 and pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The maximum penalty upon conviction is a mandatory minimum 10 years and up to life in federal prison. Restitution may also be ordered.
The indictment alleges that from March 1 to Nov. 10, Rutledge conspired and knowingly possessed and distributed 500 grams of methamphetamine in central South Dakota. Court documents indicate crimes were committed in Tripp County on Aug. 28 when Rutledge allegedly distributed 50 grams or more of meth.
The investigation is being conducted by the Northern Plains Safe Trails Drug Enforcement Task Force, the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation, the South Dakota Highway Patrol, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Rutledge was remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service pending trial. A trial date has not been set.