Pine Ridge drug dealer files notice of appeal 4-14-07

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - Geraldine Blue Bird of Rapid City, who was sentenced to 34 years in federal prison for several drug convictions earlier this month, has filed an appeal to the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Her notice of appeal was filed in U.S. District Court in Rapid City on April 4 - the same day she received her sentence.

Blue Bird, 51, was convicted last fall of conspiracy to distribute cocaine, possession with intent to distribute cocaine, possession of a firearm in relation to drug trafficking and conspiracy to distribute marijuana.

Prosecutors said Blue Bird hosted a conspiracy that trafficked an estimated $2 million worth of cocaine from Denver to Nebraska and South Dakota over three years. Twentyeight people, including family members, were indicted. Most have pleaded guilty, and several testified against the leaders, including Blue Bird.

During her sentencing, Blue Bird said she was being held responsible for many things she didn't do.

Eight summers ago, President Bill Clinton honored Blue Bird for taking in people who needed a meal or a place to stay - despite her own poverty. Twentyeight adults and children lived in her fourroom, dilapidated house and in a trailer when Clinton's visit made her a symbol of the desperate conditions on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

After the presidential visit, donations came pouring in - and Blue Bird got a new doublewide trailer as a result. The light blue house in Pine Ridge was seized by federal agents and now sits unoccupied and boarded up.

Blue Bird's sentencing had been delayed several times because she had been in the hospital.

Her son, Colin Spotted Elk, 26, was sentenced in February to 29 years for his part.