30 years in prison for defendant in drug conspiracy case

November 18, 2021 GMT

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — A South Dakota man has been sentenced to 30 years in prison in a drug trafficking conspiracy case.

Acting U.S. Attorney Dennis Holmes announced Thursday that Wicahpe “Chops” Milk was sentenced on charges of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance, obstruction of justice and illegally possessing a firearm. Milk was found guilty of the charges at a jury trial that ended July 2.

According to prosecutors, the 38-year-old Wanblee man obtained methamphetamine in California beginning in January 2015 and transported it to South Dakota where he recruited 15 others to help sell it.

The communities where the methamphetamine was distributed include Rapid City, Wanblee, Pine Ridge, Kyle, Mission, Box Elder, Martin, and Allen.

In August 2016, Milk was a passenger in a vehicle stopped by Pennington County sheriff’s deputies. Milk fled from the deputies and was arrested after a short foot pursuit. In the vehicle, Milk possessed a firearm and methamphetamine.

After his arrest, authorities say Milk repeatedly engaged in efforts to obstruct the case by writing letters to witnesses that included threats, promises, and coercion.

Milk was returned to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service following sentencing.