SIOUX CITY, Iowa (Iowa Media Wire) — After many complications, including forged documents that claimed he had cancer, a California man has been sentenced for conspiring to distribute methamphetamine in Siouxland.

According to a release from the U.S. Department of Justice, James Sterner, 67, has been sentenced to 30 years for conspiring to distribute methamphetamine by mail. Sterner pleaded guilty to his charges on June 28, 2023. Sterner received his sentence Wednesday in the federal courthouse in Sioux City.

The release said that evidence from the case showed that Sterner conspired to distribute meth in the Sioux City area by mail between August 2019 and October 2019.

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In 2020, Sterner was granted supervised leave during the pre-trial period but did not appear for a plea hearing in October 2021. Officials said he did not appear for this hearing due to forged documents that claimed he had cancer were submitted to the court, the release said.

A warrant was issued after the incident, and after more than a year, Stener was arrested in Anaheim, California in April 2023.

Sterner pleaded guilty to his conspiracy charges and was held in the O’Brien County Jail while he awaited his sentencing. While waiting for his sentencing, Sterner distributed meth-laced paper within the jail, the release said.

Steerer was sentenced to 30 years in prison and will have to serve a five-year supervised release after his sentence is served. Sterner has had ten prior controlled substance-related convictions.


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