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Press Release

California Man Sentenced to 30 Years in Custody for Conspiring to Distribute Methamphetamine and Fentanyl

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

RAPID CITY - United States Attorney Alison J. Ramsdell announced today that U.S. District Judge Karen E. Schreier has sentenced an Arvin, California, man convicted of Conspiracy to Distribute Fentanyl, Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine, and Use of a Communication Facility in the Commission of a Drug Trafficking Crime. The sentencing took place on December 4, 2023.

Victor Leon-Pacheco, 33, was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison, followed by five years of supervised release, and ordered to pay a $300 special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund. The federal sentence runs consecutive to his remaining sentence in Oklahoma.

Leon-Pacheco was indicted for the charges by a federal grand jury in June of 2022. He was found guilty after a three-day federal jury trial concluding on September 7, 2023.

Leon-Pacheco is formerly from California. In 2016 he was convicted of trafficking methamphetamine in Oklahoma and sentenced to 18 years custody. While in a locked facility, he gained access to a contraband cell phone which he utilized to conduct drug trafficking activities. He arranged drug sales to people in several states, including South Dakota.  Leon-Pacheco then recruited others in California, including co-defendant Eduardo Acosta, to accept payments for drug proceeds that were wired through money exchange services. This occurred multiple times between September of 2021 and January of 2022. Acosta also sent packages containing controlled substances to South Dakota at the direction of Leon-Pacheco. Law enforcement was able to introduce an undercover agent to whom Leon-Pacheco organized three shipments of fentanyl and methamphetamine. Leon-Pacheco’s co-defendant, Eduardo Acosta, was sentenced to 37 months in custody on August 11, 2023.

“This trial conviction and resulting sentence should send a clear message to out-of-state drug traffickers who think they can get away with distributing lethal drugs in South Dakota,” said Alison J. Ramsdell, U.S. Attorney for the District of South Dakota. “I am grateful to the many investigative agencies who participated in this case through the local Unified Narcotics Enforcement Team and worked collaboratively to ensure Victor Leon-Pacheco remains in custody for another thirty years.”

This case was investigated by the Unified Narcotics Enforcement Team, which is a local drug task force comprised of law enforcement from the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office, Rapid City Police Department, South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation, South Dakota Highway Patrol, and the South Dakota National Guard, as well as the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Oklahoma Department of Corrections. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kathryn N. Rich prosecuted the case.

Leon-Pacheco was immediately remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.

Updated December 7, 2023

Drug Trafficking