The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

May 6, 2014

4 indicted in Minnesota drug cartel torture case

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Four men have been indicted on charges alleging they kidnapped and tortured two men they suspected of stealing drugs and money from a St. Paul "stash house," federal prosecutors announced Tuesday.

The kidnappers released their victims, but not before nearly severing one victim's finger while interrogating him in the house, court papers allege.

State prosecutors say the house was controlled by a Mexican drug cartel, though court documents don't say which one and federal prosecutors declined to comment.

All four were indicted on one count of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. One was also indicted on one count of using a gun during a drug crime.

"The allegations in the indictment are a frightening reminder of the violent capabilities of drug traffickers," U.S. Attorney Andy Luger said in a statement.

The indictment unsealed Tuesday and other court papers say the four men suspected the victims stole or knew who stole about 30 pounds of methamphetamine and $200,000 from the stash house last month. It names Jesus Ramirez, 31, of Los Angeles; Jonatan Delgado Alvarez, 22, of Los Angeles; Juan Ricardo Elenes Villavazo, also known as Chapo, 32, of St. Paul; and Antonio Navarro, also known as Tony Sanchez, 19, of St. Paul.

The defendants released the victims after determining they didn't know what happened to the drugs, the documents say.

Navarro and Alvarez were arrested outside the house April 15. Ramirez was arrested after a police chase in the Los Angeles area April 17. Villavazo remains at large, the U.S. attorney's office said.

The indictment alleges Navarro and Villavazo ran the stash house, and that Ramirez and Alvarez flew from Los Angeles on April 14 to try to recover the stolen meth or enough cash to cover it. It alleges they kidnapped two men from behind a Minneapolis residence and beat them, held a gun to their heads, and threatened to kill them and their families.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
State, national news
  • Wetland Loss [Duplicate] Report says Prairie Pothole region losing wetlands BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Federal officials and conservationists say a recent report detailing wetland losses in the five-state Prairie Pothole Region over the past decade highlights the need for increased protection for the region that provides breeding

    July 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • France: Air Algerie flight vanishes over N Mali ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) — An Air Algerie flight carrying 116 people from Burkina Faso to Algeria's capital disappeared from radar early Thursday over northern Mali, the plane's owner and a French government official said. Air navigation services lost

    July 24, 2014

  • Migrant children face test in Dallas immigration court DALLAS — In a packed Dallas immigration courtroom, Elsy Garcia sits next to her 16-year-old brother, Jose. She last saw him when he was 9, when she fled their home in Usulutan in southern El Salvador. Now Jose is facing deportation. His case is conf

    July 24, 2014

  • Poet takes his act to Las Vegas LAS VEGAS — The old poet is dressed in black, his platinum-blond hair rakishly moussed. He stands amid the hubbub, facing a stern test of his crafted words and carnival-barker delivery. The venue is a smoky lounge called Ichabod’s, east of the Strip.

    July 23, 2014

  • Minnesota race track to refund horse owners ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A Minnesota race track manager says the track will refund horse owners after an audit found it shorted race purses by nearly $437,000 over four years. The St. Paul Pioneer Press reports ( ) the Running Aces

    July 23, 2014

  • Bodies of Malaysia jet victims leave Ukraine KHARKIV, Ukraine (AP) — Two military aircraft carrying the first bodies of victims of the Malaysia Airlines crash left the embattled plains of eastern Ukraine Wednesday, while British investigators began work on a pair of "black boxes" to retrieve da

    July 23, 2014

  • Attorney general sues 2 Minn. colleges ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota's attorney general has filed a lawsuit against two colleges, accusing the schools of misleading criminal justice students about their ability to land a job in their field and about transferring credits to other instit

    July 22, 2014

  • sniper wife pic Jurors start considering Ventura case ST. PAUL — An attorney for Jesse Ventura asked a federal jury Tuesday to award the former Minnesota governor millions of dollars in damages for what he claimed is a lie in a memoir by the late military sniper Chris Kyle. Ventura testified during the

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • Target debuts shopping app "In a Snap" will recognize images

    July 22, 2014

  • Feds to monitor Newark police Probe found pattern of unconstitutional policing

    July 22, 2014