Pubdate: Wed, 09 Dec 2009
Source: News Leader, The (VA)
Copyright: 2009 News Leader
Author: Brad Zinn, staff
Bookmark: (Asset Forfeiture)
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine)


His Wife Placed On Three Years Probation

HARRISONBURG -- A United States District Court judge sentenced a
Verona methamphetamine dealer Tuesday to 20 years in federal prison
but spared his wife in a case that saw a regional drug task force
confiscate more than 500 grams of meth, nearly $170,000 and 27 vehicles.

Judge Glen Conrad, labeling the sentence "just," said, "This was just
not a one-time deal."

Authorities arrested Douglas Rankin, 45, and his wife, Lisa Rankin,
41, in January after being tipped off about Douglas Rankin's illegal
meth operation, according to federal court records. WASSP Task Force
members seized drugs from the couple's Parkins Lane home, as well as
23 guns, 27 vehicles and $169,874 in drug proceeds.

At the time of the drug seizure, the Augusta County Sheriff's Office
estimated the meth had a street value of more than $500,000. Rankin
told authorities he'd been selling meth since 2003.

In August, Douglas Rankin pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute
more than 500 grams of methamphetamine, along with a federal firearms
charge. Two additional federal charges were dropped. Lisa Rankin, not
implicated in the drug-dealing scheme, pleaded guilty to possession of
a firearm while in possession of drugs.

In federal court on Tuesday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig "Jake"
Jacobsen said, "The amount of money, drugs and assets seized in this
case were substantial."

He said many of the vehicles confiscated were traded for

Prior to being sentenced, more than two dozen family members and
friends looked on as Douglas Rankin apologized to the court and asked
for leniency.

"I made a mistake," Rankin said, fighting back tears.

Rankin could have received 25 years in federal prison but five years
were knocked off the sentence following a substantial assistance
motion by Jacobsen, filed after Rankin agreed to forfeit the drug
proceeds and all but one of his vehicles. The Rankins were allowed to
keep two Verona properties after it was learned both had little equity.

In sparing Lisa Rankin -- an admitted drug addict who faced the
possibility of 18 months behind bars -- Judge Conrad said, "I don't
think justice would require a prison sentence in this case." She was
placed on three years probation.

In lamenting the amount of hardship methamphetamine caused the couple,
who have two teenage children, Conrad noted, "It is a most evil
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