As expected, a professional rodeo clown has been sentenced for 20 years in federal prison for growing marijuana in rural Iowa for several years.
U.S. District Judge Linda Reade announced the sentence Thursday for 55-year-old Rory Meeks of Marion. He was also given a special assessment of $100.
Meeks, who worked as a rodeo clown and bullfighter in local and national rodeos, was convicted in March of one count of conspiracy to manufacture marijuana. He was acquitted of a second charge.
Federal prosecutors said Meeks planted marijuana along corn and soybean fields in secluded spots in Jones County, tending the plants throughout the summer. They say the 55-year-old and others harvested and processed the plants in the fall, and sold the marijuana in fall and winter.
Jurors found Meeks was involved in growing more than 1,000 marijuana plants between 2004 and 2011.
Meeks had worked as a rodeo clown and bullfighter in local and national rodeos. He faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years in prison.