Skip to main content
Press Release

California Man Convicted of Drug Trafficking Charges

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of South Dakota

SIOUX FALLS - United States Attorney Alison J. Ramsdell announced that a jury has convicted Victor Alfonso Leon-Pacheco, age 33, of Bakersfield, California, of Conspiracy to Distribute (fentanyl), Conspiracy to Distribute (methamphetamine), and Use of a Communications Facility to Facilitate a Drug Trafficking Crime, following a three-day jury trial in federal district court in Rapid City, South Dakota. The verdict was returned on September 7, 2023. U.S. District Judge Karen E. Schreier presided over the trial.

The charges carry a maximum penalty of life in custody and/or a $10,000,000 fine, five years of supervised release, and a $300 special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund. 

Leon-Pacheco was indicted by a federal grand jury in June of 2022.  Since 2016, Leon-Pacheco was in custody in Oklahoma. He obtained a contraband cell phone and used the phone to operate a drug trafficking organization across the United States. Leon-Pacheco arranged for family and friends in California to send packages of drugs to various places, including western South Dakota, through the US Postal Service. Those people also received money wire transfers and cash on behalf of the defendant. The methamphetamine and fentanyl were then further distributed by people in the area.  Law enforcement was able to introduce an undercover agent, who communicated with the defendant by an encrypted application over the course of several months. The defendant sent approximately 6,000 fentanyl pills and 10 pounds of methamphetamine to law enforcement. During a search of his cell by Oklahoma officials, the contraband phone was located. A co-conspirator, Eduardo Acosta, has already pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 36 months custody.

This case was investigated by the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Oklahoma Department of Corrections. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kathryn N. Rich prosecuted the case.

A presentence investigation was ordered, and a sentencing date will be set. The defendant was remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.

Updated September 10, 2023

Drug Trafficking