David Lee Hippen could get life in prison if convicted on federal drug charges for possession of methamphetamine and marijuana.
A Lawrence man arrested for numerous drug offenses will be tried in a federal court instead of the Douglas County District Court, where the original charges were filed.
David Lee Hippen, 38, was arrested at his residence, 4810 Hallbrook, on Oct. 24. Officers with agencies assisting in an investigation confiscated about two pounds of methamphetamine, about 15 pounds of marijuana, about $30,000 in cash, psilocybin mushrooms and three weapons.
Drug Enforcement Agency officers were part of a team that arrested Hippen, along with members of the Lawrence and Topeka police departments and the Tri-County Drug Force. The involvement of the DEA, a federal agency, allows prosecutors to impose stiffer penalties if Hippen is convicted.
Tim Keck, Hippen's attorney from Hiawatha, said he faces charges of possession of marijuana and methamphetamine with intent to sell, distribution of methamphetamine and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. A grand jury in Topeka indicted Hippen on the charges in November
Keck said the methamphetamine charges carry a possible life sentence under federal guidelines. Had the charges remained in Douglas County District Court, he said, Hippen might face 36 months for each of the charges.
After his arrest, Hippen was released from the Douglas County Jail on $50,000 bond. He surrendered to federal agents in Topeka on Dec. 2 and was placed in a federal detention center in Leavenworth on Dec. 4. He is being held without bond.
A hearing has been scheduled for Jan. 12, and motions in the case are due by Dec. 23. Keck said he would file motions relating to the case, but wouldn't discuss them on Wednesday.
U.S. Atty. Jackie Williams didn't return telephone calls from his Wichita office Wednesday.
Hippen was one of 17 people arrested in March 1981 in Topeka for various drug and weapon violations. An October 1986 arrest made him the first person arrested for possession of crack cocaine in Shawnee County. He and two other men were also charged in August 1987 for their role in a $1 million drug conspiracy that brought more than 60 pounds of cocaine to Topeka from Miami. Sentences for the three ranged from four to 12 years.
Hippen, a paraplegic, was injured in a car accident several years ago.
-- Chris Koger's phone message number is 832-7126. His e-mail address is email@example.com.