Santwan Holt, one of 10 defendants linked to Torrance Hill’s drug organization, was sentenced in federal court Thursday to just less than four years in prison.
Holt pleaded guilty in February to two drug-related offenses — a reduction from the four counts he faced alleging marijuana and cocaine distribution.
U.S. District Court Judge Clay Land questioned why prosecutors chose to hold Holt responsible for only 7 to 10 ounces of cocaine as opposed to 52 pounds.
“He ought to pat you on the back,” Land said to Holt’s attorney, Shevon Sutcliffe Thomas. “He ought to put your picture on the wall and praise you every day.”
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Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason Ferguson told Land that there were a number of reasons for the plea agreement, but he didn’t elaborate.
Torrance Hill link
Holt was linked by authorities to what they termed the largest drug bust in Columbus history. He was initially one of 10 defendants in a Harris County state case, though the state dropped its prosecution in favor of federal prosecutors.
Before the state’s case dissolved, Torrance Hill pleaded guilty in federal court and was sentenced to more than 24 years in prison. Thomas said Thursday that Holt knew Hill through their shared hobby: race cars.
Holt was never part of a drug organization, Thomas said. Instead, he only did a favor when his incarcerated friend called him from jail.
The conversations were recorded and Holt was arrested in September 2007, made bond the next month and rearrested in March 2008, Thomas said.
Thomas asked the judge to sentence his client to the lower end of the suggested sentence, which spanned just more than three years to two months shy of four years.
“That ain’t going to happen,” Land said.
Holt was then sentenced on charges of maintaining a residence to distribute a controlled substance and use of a communications facility with the intent to distribute a controlled substance.
In addition to prison time, Holt must also pay $1,000 in fines.