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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Western District of Wisconsin
For Immediate Release
Timothy M. O’Shea, United States Attorney
www.justice.gov/usao-wdwi
Wednesday, November 29, 2023

La Crosse Man Sentenced to 6.5 Years for Possessing Methamphetamine for Distribution & Illegally Possessing A Firearm

MADISON, Wis. — Timothy M. O’Shea, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that Issac Santana, 26, La Crosse, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge William M. Conley to 6.5 years in prison for possessing with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine and possessing a firearm as a convicted felon. Santana pleaded guilty to these charges on Aug. 30. This period of incarceration will be followed by five years of supervised release.

On Nov. 19, 2022, officers in La Crosse checked on a vehicle that had been parked and running for approximately three hours. Officers found Santana asleep in the driver’s seat. Officers searched Santana and his vehicle and found approximately 193 grams of methamphetamine and over 30 grams of fentanyl packaged for distribution. They also found ammunition and over $1,500 in cash.

Santana was arrested and charged in La Crosse County Circuit Court for felony drug crimes and was released on a signature bond on Jan. 9. He failed to appear for a hearing in March, and a bench warrant was issued for his arrest.

Officers attempted to arrest Santana on this warrant on April 6. Officers saw the defendant leave his house on a scooter and attempted to stop him. Santana fled from the officers, and after a pursuit, officers arrested Santana. Santana was carrying a loaded 9 mm semiautomatic handgun, along with over 100 grams of methamphetamine and 6 grams of fentanyl, all packaged for distribution. Santana also had over $1,250 in cash. He admitted to selling both methamphetamine and fentanyl in a post-arrest interview. Santana admitted that he knew he was prohibited from possessing a firearm because he had a previous felony conviction.

At the sentencing hearing, Judge Conley remarked on the danger Santana posed to the community by combining drug dealing and carrying a loaded firearm. Judge Conley further noted that Santana was selling the same dangerous drugs that Santana had been addicted to most of his life. The judge found that Santana’s actions had made him a true threat to society.

The charges against Santana were the result of an investigation conducted by the La Crosse Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kathryn Ginsberg prosecuted this case. 

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department of Justice launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities and measuring the results.

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