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A federal judge on Thursday sentenced an Arizona woman to six years in prison for using a cutting torch to damage the Dakota Access Pipeline in Iowa and set fire to pipeline equipment in three counties in 2016 and 2017.

The judge also ordered 32-year-old Ruby Katherine Montoya to pay nearly $3.2 million in restitution to Jessica Reznicek, a woman who helped him.

Montoya pleaded guilty to conspiracy to damage an energy facility. He admitted to helping Reznicek and others damage pipelines at various locations in Iowa.


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US Attorney Richard D. “Today’s sentence demonstrates that the federal government will aggressively investigate and prosecute any crime of domestic terrorism,” Westphal said in a statement. He said the seriousness of the actions warranted a significant prison sentence and should deter others who might engage in domestic terrorism.

An Arizona woman got six years in prison for damaging a pipeline in Iowa.

Reznicek was sentenced to eight years in prison in June 2021 after pleading guilty to similar charges. He appealed the sentence, but a federal appeals court upheld it in June.


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Dakota Access, a subsidiary of Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners, built the controversial $3.8 billion, 1,168-mile pipeline that cuts through North Dakota, South Dakota and Iowa, ending in Illinois.

Environmental groups opposed the pipeline, which they said risks an oil spill disaster. Some landowners opposed the use of eminent domain to force farmers to allow it to be built on their land, and the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe fought the pipeline, claiming environmental impact reviews were inadequate.

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Montoya’s attorney did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.

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