DES MOINES — An Arizona woman was sentenced to six years in prison and now owes millions in restitution for her role in damaging various areas of the Dakota Access Pipeline, including in Wapello and Mahaska County.

Ruby Katherine Montoya, 32, was sentenced to six years in prison and ordered to pay nearly $3.2 million in restitution. Montoya admitted to damaging the pipeline from Nov. 8, 2016 through May 2, 2017 in Wapello, Mahaska and Boone counties in Iowa.

Montoya worked with Jessica Reznicek, a defendant who was sentenced to 8 years in federal prison last June. Each woman pleaded guilty to a single charge of conspiracy to damage an energy facility.

The pair had used an oxyacetylene cutting torch to burn holes in the pipeline, and also set fire to pipeline instrumentation and equipment. Damage ultimately spanned the pipeline, from South Dakota and throughout Iowa.

"The seriousness of the defendant’s actions — that occurred multiple times, at different locations, resulting in over $3 million dollars in restitution — warranted the significant prison sentence imposed by the Court and should deter others who think of engaging in such criminal acts," said U.S. Attorney Richard Westphal.

The Dakota Access Pipeline spans 1,172-miles over North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa and Illinois. The oil pipeline was particularly controversial due to its passing under a lake and Missouri River that provided an important water source for the Standing Rock Sioux tribe in North and South Dakota.

Kyle Ocker is the editor of the Ottumwa Courier and the Oskaloosa Herald. He can be reached at kocker@ottumwacourier.com. Follow him on Twitter @Kyle_Ocker.

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