Charleston, South Carolina—- United States Attorney Sherri A. Lydon announced today that Ignacio Sandoval-Acosta, 47, a Mexican citizen currently serving a sentence for drug trafficking in the South Carolina Department of Corrections, and Scott Terrill Hipp, 27, of Goose Creek, South Carolina, were sentenced to federal prison for conspiring to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute methamphetamine.
Evidence presented to the court showed that Sandoval-Acosta, Hipp, and others were involved in a drug trafficking organization that was responsible for importing large quantities of crystal methamphetamine, as well as other drugs, from Mexico for distribution in South Carolina and elsewhere. Sandoval-Acosta coordinated shipments of methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, and marijuana through the use of a contraband cell phone while incarcerated in the South Carolina Department of Corrections. During the course of the investigation, agents seized one package containing 886 grams of crystal methamphetamine that had been shipped to Hipp from Arizona. Agents later seized a package containing 853 grams of crystal methamphetamine that Sandoval-Acosta had arranged to have shipped.
Senior United States District Judge Margaret Seymour sentenced Sandoval-Acosta to 188 months in federal prison, to be followed by 5 years of court-ordered supervision, while Hipp received a sentence of 120 months in federal prison, also to be followed by 5 years of court-ordered supervision. Sandoval-Acosta’s sentence will not begin until he finishes serving his state sentence in 2024. There is no parole in the federal system.
The case was investigated by agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), ICE-Homeland Security Investigations, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the United States Postal Inspection Service, the South Carolina Department of Corrections, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED), the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office, and the City of Charleston Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Nick Bianchi of the Charleston office prosecuted the case.
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