A. Cynthia Santana
Assistant Special Agent in Charge
Las Vegas Field Office
I entered the FBI as a special agent in January 2001 and worked public corruption and health care fraud cases. I became a certified crisis negotiator, and in 2014, I was promoted to supervisory special agent overseeing a health care fraud and complex financial crimes squad as well as a human intelligence squad.
In May 2020, I was chosen to be assistant special agent in charge of the Las Vegas Field Office assigned to national security and intelligence.
What is the best career or life advice you’ve been given?
One piece of advice that resonates with me to this day came early in my career when a senior female agent told me “always be true to yourself.” She said that just because you are working in a male-dominated field, it does not mean you need act or behave as your male counterparts do.
Because of her sage advice, I approached being a special agent, supervisory special agent, and now an assistant special agent in charge guided by my own values and a balanced management style.
Share the thing you’re most proud of from your FBI career.
When I joined the FBI as a special agent, I believed this was the pinnacle of any career and assumed I would remain an agent until I retired. I had no aspirations to go into management. Had it not been for colleagues, friends, and managers encouraging me to seek out career advancements, I don’t know if I would have done so on my own. They provided me with the information and inspiration I needed to be willing to raise my hand and take the next steps.
I am hoping I can be a role model, not only for other female agents coming into the FBI, but to young women who may one day want to join the FBI. I want them to see in me a reflection of themselves and realize, as a woman and ethnic minority, the FBI will benefit from your experience and provide a great opportunity to shine.
Describe your most memorable case or investigative success.
My most memorable case was my first health care fraud investigation. It involved a group of individuals involved in a prescription drug ring where they used stolen prescription pads from various doctor offices to forge approximately 175 prescriptions. These forged prescriptions were used to obtain controlled substances, including Percocet and Oxycodone. The subjects used stolen identification documents and information on the forged prescriptions to have them filled in over 50 pharmacies. As a result of our efforts, five search warrants were executed and seven individuals were prosecuted.
We even received help from the sister of one of the main subjects. She was willing to provide information in the hopes of getting help for her sister’s drug addiction. Although her assistance strained their relationship, she was grateful for the work we did on the case. It led to her sister getting the help she needed and entering a drug rehabilitation program.