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Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Columbia

Friday, December 3, 2021

Two District of Columbia Men Sentenced to Prison Terms for Carjacking Spree

Defendants Committed At Least Six Armed Carjackings Within a 12-Hour Span

            WASHINGTON – Cristian Santay-Rosales and Diego Rigoberto Lopez, both 19 and from Washington, D.C., were sentenced today for committing a series of armed carjackings across the District of Columbia within a 12-hour period in the fall of 2020. Santay-Rosales was sentenced to 121 months in prison and Lopez to 108 months for their roles in the crimes.

            The announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves, Wayne A. Jacobs, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Washington Field Office Criminal Division, Pamela A. Smith, Chief of the U.S. Park Police, and Robert J. Contee III, Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).

            Santay-Rosales and Lopez pled guilty on April 15, 2021, in the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia, to one count of conspiracy to commit federal carjacking and two counts of federal carjacking. They were sentenced by the Honorable Royce C. Lamberth. Following completion of their prison terms, both men be placed on three years of supervised release.

            According to the government’s evidence, the defendants used carjacked vehicles to block in and carjack additional vehicles, a pattern that they continued until they were ultimately apprehended by law enforcement. The indictment alleged that, as part of the carjacking conspiracy, a firearm was brandished and pointed at numerous individuals, including minor children.  A third co-defendant in the case, Romeo Francisco-Ramirez, also 19, of District Heights, Maryland, has also pleaded guilty and is being detained pending sentencing. 

            The series of crimes took place between 1:55 p.m. Oct. 26, 2020, and 1:25 a.m. Oct. 27, 2020, with the defendants seizing a Porsche, Mercedes-Benz, and other vehicles. Both defendants carried out carjackings in the 5200 block of Upton Terrace NW, the 2800 block of O Street NW, the 6300 block of Luzan Avenue NW, the 3800 block of 12th Street NW, 17th and Franklin Streets NE, the 1300 block of Parkwood Place NW, and Rock Creek Park. Santay-Rosales and Lopez were arrested after they crashed the Mercedes-Benz the night of Oct. 26, 2020. Ramirez, meanwhile, was arrested after committing yet another carjacking early Oct. 27, 2020.  

            In announcing the sentence, U.S. Attorney Graves, Special Agent in Charge Jacobs, Chief Smith, and Chief Contee commended the work of those who investigated the case from the FBI, U.S. Park Police, and Metropolitan Police Department.  They also expressed appreciation to those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Paralegal Specialists Rommel Pachoca and Genevieve de Guzman.  Finally, they commended the work of Assistant U.S. Attorney James B. Nelson, who investigated and prosecuted the case.


Updated December 3, 2021