SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Canbie Thompson, one of eight defendants in a meth distribution ring, is going to federal prison for more than three decades.
In May, KELOLAND Investigates reported that 45-year-old Thompson was a top South Dakota Lottery scratch ticket winner, taking home $40,000.
Thompson was caught with 11 pounds of meth and pleaded guilty to bringing in the drugs from California with the intent to distribute them, along with money laundering charges. Thompson also pled guilty to obstruction of justice for taking legal discovery from his attorney’s office, which identified someone cooperating with the case and making it public.
Federal judge Karen Schreier said in court the ring distributed as much as 76 pounds of meth in South Dakota.
Thompson, who has a history of five prior felonies, including three for drugs, could have received life in prison. However, Judge Schreier sentenced him to 33 years because no violence was involved in the distribution of the drugs and no overdose deaths have been linked to the activity.
In court, Thompson said, “I take accountability for my choices. I didn’t try to get to this point in my life. I had no desire to be evil; somebody who is bad. I’ve suffered from addiction along with depression.”
Thompson, who is an enrolled member of the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe, had a difficult childhood. His father was imprisoned and his mother abandoned him. Several members of his extended family testified in court on his behalf.
Four other defendants have been sentenced for their role in the drug ring. Khio Khaoon and William Lee Jensen both got 10 years in federal prison. Det Khaoon was sentenced to nearly 15 years behind bars and Larry Zamora Jr. received a nearly 11-year sentence. Three others, John Radermacher, Omar Perez-Ochoa and Daniel Fiero Navarrette are scheduled to go on trial next month.
KELOLAND News checked with the South Dakota Lottery to see if Thompson was able to claim his winnings, despite the fact that he was awaiting sentencing on federal charges. The Department of Revenue says there is nothing to stop him from keeping the money.