U.S. Department of Justice
United States Attorney
Northern District of California
For Immediate Release
June 7, 2010
Joseph P. Russoniello, United States Attorney
Contact: Jack Gillund
Salinas Man Found Guilty of Gun, Drug Charges After 2 Week Trial
SAN JOSE, Calif. — A federal jury convicted a Salinas, Calif., drug dealer of six drug trafficking offenses and one firearm count, United States Attorney Joseph P. Russoniello announced. The guilty verdict on Friday followed a two-week jury trial before U.S. District Court Judge James Ware in San Jose.
Evidence at trial showed that Dalmacio Ramirez Santos, 37, from Salinas, sold methamphetamine to government agents on at least four different occasions in 2008 and 2009. On Feb. 25, 2009, Salinas Police Department officers pulled over Santos’s truck across the street from an elementary school after they saw him make an incomplete stop at a stop sign. In a search of Santos’s truck, they found in a black computer case directly behind the driver’s seat packaged methamphetamine, cocaine, a handgun loaded with nine rounds of ammunition, and a digital scale.
At trial, three Salinas Police Department officers testified about the traffic stop and a search of Santos’s Salinas home later that same day. Agents from the FBI and ATF testified about the drugs sold by Santos and the gun and ammunition found in his truck. Four chemists from the DEA’s San Francisco drug laboratory testified about the drugs distributed and possessed by Santos. In total, the jury determined that Santos distributed or possessed 209.2 grams of methamphetamine and 259.3 grams of a mixture or substance containing cocaine.
The jury, after deliberating eight hours, found that Santos illegally distributed methamphetamine four times, and possessed methamphetamine, cocaine, and a loaded nine-millimeter semiautomatic handgun in the backseat of his truck when he was stopped by Salinas Police Department officers.
This successful prosecution demonstrates that the strategy of promoting coordination among federal, sate and local law enforcement agencies is the most effective and efficient way to meet and defeat the danger of violence and fear drug traffickers bring to our communities, U.S. Attorney Russoniello said.
The federal government is committed to continuing its support of our colleagues in local law enforcement who face that challenge every day.
This case is the first federal prosecution of drug traffickers in Salinas to go to trial since the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced in October 2009 that it was working with the Salinas Police Department and other local, state, and federal agencies to enhance investigations and prosecutions of violent criminal street gangs in Salinas.
This conviction sends a strong signal, said Salinas Mayor Dennis Donohue.
Individuals who accept our outstretched hand and move towards the community will be helped. Those who choose not to accept our outstretched hand will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
The dangers of methamphetamine and cocaine are well know. Hopefully this conviction brings even more awareness to these highly potent and deadly drugs, stated DEA Special Agent in Charge Anthony D. Williams.
In addition to the drug trafficking and firearm convictions, the jury determined that Santos should forfeit $4,018 cash found in his pockets, as well as the loaded handgun and ammunition found in his truck. The jury deadlocked on one count of distribution of methamphetamine, one count of possession of a firearm and ammunition by an alien, and one count charging the knowing possession of a sawed-off shotgun with an obliterated serial number.
The counts of conviction result in a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 15 years and a maximum of life. The government filed an information before trial under Title 21 United States Code section 851 alleging a prior felony drug offense conviction that may increase the Santos’s mandatory minimum prison sentence to 25 years. The defendant’s sentence will be determined at his Sept. 13, 2010, sentencing hearing before Judge Ware. Santos’s sentence will be decided by the Court after consideration of federal sentencing statutes and guidelines.
Santos was initially arrested on state charges by the Salinas Police Department on Feb. 25, 2009. He was indicted by a federal grand jury in San Jose on March 18, 2009. On April 7, 2010, the grand jury returned a superseding indictment adding additional firearm charges. He has been in continuous custody since his arrest and will remain in federal custody until his Sept. 13, 2010 sentencing before Judge Ware in San Jose.
Allison Marston Danner and Nat Cousins are the Assistant U.S. Attorneys who prosecuted the case at trial with the assistance of legal technicians Nina Burney and Tracey Andersen. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Shawna Yen and Daniel Kaleba prosecuted the case prior to trial. The prosecution is the result of a joint investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF); and the Salinas Police Department; with the assistance of the Drug Enforcement Administration; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE); and the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office.
Case #: CR 09-0277 JW
A copy of this press release may be found on the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s website at www.usdoj.gov/usao/can.
Electronic court filings and further procedural and docket information are available at https://ecf.cand.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/login.pl.
Judges’ calendars with schedules for upcoming court hearings can be viewed on the court’s website at www.cand.uscourts.gov.
All press inquiries to the U.S. Attorney’s Office should be directed to Jack Gillund at (415) 436-6599 or by email at Jack.Gillund@usdoj.gov.