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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

For Immediate Release

November 16, 2010

Melinda Haag, United States Attorney

Contact: Jack Gillund
(415) 436-6599

Armed Salinas Drug Trafficker Sentenced to 20 Years in Federal Prison

SAN JOSE, Calif. — An armed Salinas drug trafficker was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison yesterday by U.S. District Court Judge James Ware, United States Attorney Melinda Haag announced.

A jury found Dalmacio Ramirez Santos guilty on seven felony drug distribution and firearm charges following a two-week trial that ended in May. Evidence at trial showed that Santos, 37, sold methamphetamine to government agents on at least four different times in 2008 and 2009 in Salinas. Agents from the FBI and ATF testified about the drugs sold by Santos and a gun and ammunition found in his truck on Feb. 25, 2009. 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 trial followed an arrest made by officers from the Salinas Police Department after they stopped and searched Santos’s truck when he ran a stop sign near an elementary school on Feb. 25, 2009. At that time, in addition to the loaded gun that was found inside a bag on the back seat of his truck, Santos possessed more than one-half pound each of cocaine and methamphetamine packaged for sale and a digital scale. Santos also possessed $4,018 in cash rolled in his pockets.

We will not tolerate gangsters, drug traffickers, and violent felons terrorizing our community, U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag said. This case demonstrates the cooperation between federal enforcers and the Salinas Police Department in pursuing and prosecuting the most dangerous offenders.

This drug trafficker will no longer plague our communities with crimes that are inherently dangerous with the use of firearms to further a drug trafficking enterprise, stated Special Agent in Charge Stephen C. Herkins. The success of the investigation is attributed to the outstanding cooperation between the investigating agencies.

As part of his sentence, Santos also must serve five years of supervised release following his prison term, pay a $700 court assessment, and forfeit his gun, ammunition, and $4,018 to the government. Santos was indicted by a federal grand jury in San Jose on March 18, 2009. He has been in custody since his arrest.

Nat Cousins, Allison Danner, and Daniel Kaleba are the Assistant U.S. Attorneys who prosecuted the case, with the assistance of legal technicians Nina Burney and Tracey Andersen. Santos’s sentencing follows a joint investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; and the Salinas Police Department; with the assistance of the Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations, and the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office.

Further Information:

Case #: CR 09-0277 JW

A copy of this press release may be found on the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s website at

Electronic court filings and further procedural and docket information are available at

Judges’ calendars with schedules for upcoming court hearings can be viewed on the court’;s website at

All press inquiries to the U.S. Attorney’s Office should be directed to Jack Gillund at (415) 436-6599 or by e-mail at