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Press Release

Sinaloa Cartel Drug Trafficker Extradited From Italy

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of California
Case Marks the Most Recent Successful Extradition of a Cartel Member in Long-Running Investigation

NEWS RELEASE SUMMARY – November 19, 2020

SAN DIEGO – Ramon Santoyo-Cristobal, aka Dr. Wagner, a former Mexican Federal Police officer and alleged Sinaloa Cartel drug trafficker, was extradited to the United States from Italy yesterday.

On August 19, 2016, a federal grand jury sitting in the Southern District of California returned an indictment charging Santoyo-Cristobal with participating in a long-running worldwide conspiracy to traffic substantial quantities of methamphetamine, cocaine, and heroin from Mexico into the United States, as well as laundering millions of dollars in drug proceeds.

A fugitive for almost three years, Santoyo-Cristobal was apprehended by Italian authorities in August 2019 while visiting Rome. Santoyo-Cristobal contested extradition in the Italian courts,   but in July 2020, the Supreme Court of Cassation rejected his arguments, and the following month the Ministry of Justice authorized his extradition to the United States. He arrived in San Diego on November 18, 2020, and made his initial appearance today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Andrew Schopler. He is scheduled for a detention hearing before Judge Schopler on November 24, 2020 at 10:30 a.m.

“This extradition ruling by the Italian courts demonstrates that those who violate U.S. laws and seek to evade justice will find no place to hide,” said U.S. Attorney Robert Brewer. “The Department of Justice appreciates the cooperation of the Italian authorities in this matter. With the assistance of our law enforcement colleagues at home and around the world, we will aggressively pursue every avenue available in bringing drug traffickers to justice.” Brewer praised prosecutor Matthew J. Sutton and DEA agents for their excellent work on this case.

“DEA and our law enforcement partners will continue to use all available resources to bring drug traffickers to justice,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge John W. Callery. “This extradition should serve as a warning to other members of the Sinaloa Cartel: we will find you no matter where in the world you try to hide and we will bring you back to the United States for prosecution.”

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California and the Drug Enforcement Administration led the United States’ extradition effort. The Justice Department extends its gratitude to the Italian Ministry of Justice, and prosecutorial and law enforcement authorities for making the extradition possible. The Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs provided significant assistance in securing the defendant’s extradition from Italy. The U.S. Marshals Service assisted in bringing the defendant back to the United States.

This case is part of a five-year investigation led by the Southern District of California, that, in total, has resulted in charges against over 125 people and has had a significant impact on the worldwide operations of the Sinaloa Cartel. This investigation has also offered one of the most comprehensive views to date of the inner workings of one of the world’s most prolific, violent and powerful drug cartels. Cartel members and associates were targeted in this massive investigation involving multiple countries, numerous law enforcement agencies around the United States, a number of federal districts and over 250 court-authorized wiretaps in this district alone.

This prosecution is also part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) Strike Force Initiative, which provides for the establishment of permanent multi-agency task force teams that work side-by-side in the same location. This co-located model enables agents from different agencies to collaborate on intelligence-driven, multi-jurisdictional operations to disrupt and dismantle the most significant drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations.

The United States is represented in court by Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew J. Sutton.

The public is reminded that an indictment is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Defendant Information


Defendant Number: 4                                                                  Criminal Case No: 16-cr-1896-DMS

Name: Ramon Santoyo-Cristobal, aka Dr. Wagner

Age:  44

Hometown: Mexico City, Mexico


Summary Of Charges

Conspiracy to Distribute Controlled Substances for Purpose of Unlawful Importation, in violation of Title 21 U.S.C. §§ 959, 960 and 963. Term of custody including a mandatory minimum 10 years and up to life imprisonment, $10 million fine.

Conspiracy to Import Controlled Substances, in violation of Title 21 U.S.C. §§ 952, 960 and 963. Term of custody including a mandatory minimum 10 years and up to life imprisonment, $10 million fine.

Conspiracy to Launder Monetary Instruments, in violation of Title 18 U.S.C. 1956(h). Term of custody up to 20 years in prison, a fine of $500,000 or twice the value of the monetary instrument or funds involved.


Drug Enforcement Administration

Customs and Border Protection, Office of Field Operations Customs and Border Protection, Office of Border Patrol United States Marshals Service

Internal Revenue Service

Department of Justice, Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces Department of Justice, Office of Enforcement Operations

Department of Justice, Office of International Affairs


Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew J. Sutton (619) 546-8941

Updated November 19, 2020

Drug Trafficking
Release Number: CAS20-1119-Santoyo-Cristobal