Advocate for Tougher DUI Laws Arrested in Drug Bust

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A woman who had grown into a staunch advocate for more strict DUI laws now finds herself at the center of a news story involving a different substance.

Keloland News in South Dakota has the story of 47-year-old Rhonda Stoddard, who faces charges related to marijuana and methamphetamine found in her house and juvenile drug use.

Stoddard lost her husband in a drunk driving accident nine years ago. In response to her husband’s death, she spoke out against drunk driving. “You are putting yourself in danger,” she said in an interview in 2002, “but you are putting other people in danger too. It doesn’t just affect your life; it affects lots of other people’s lives.”

She also supported a law that would lower the South Dakota legal blood-alcohol content limit to drive a motor vehicle to .08, rather than the .10 percent that it was at the time.

“I hope it makes people stop and think, you know about drinking and driving,” she said in that interview, which was with Keloland News, “but I’m afraid in a lot of cases it won’t matter.”

Now, years after the tragedy that caused her to speak out, Stoddard was arrested recently and has been charged with having methamphetamine and marijuana in her home, according to the report from Keloland News. Police arrested three adults and one juvenile at the scene of the drug bust at Stoddard’s home. Police believe that Stoddard let minors buy, sell and use drugs out of the home.

In addition to the meth and marijuana charges, Stoddard faces six counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Court records indicate that there were a number of calls to her home over the last six months. The calls involved disorderly youths, drugs and allegations of underage drinking. Given the volume of calls coming in surrounding the Stoddard home, police began an investigation, according to Keloland News.

Police at one point removed three garbage bags from Stoddard’s home. They found a broken glass pipe in the bag, as well as a straw with residual methamphetamine detected on it. When a nearby business complained that someone was illegally dumping trash into one of their dumpsters, police found mail from Stoddard’s home alongside buds and stems from marijuana plants. The police obtained a search warrant, and when they entered Stoddard’s home they found nine people, six of whom were juveniles. One of those, a senior in high school, admitted that he had been selling pot out of the home.

Police found baggies of meth and snorting tubes in Stoddard’s bedroom. According to the report, she never denied possessing the meth to police. Stoddard now faces up to 15 years in prison on drug charges.


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