ST. PAUL, Minn. – Four men accused of working for a Mexican drug cartel have been indicted on federal charges after they allegedly kidnapped and tortured two men inside a Twin Cities home.
According to federal officials, four men working for a cartel kidnapped two teens last month after they thought they stole 30 pounds of methamphetamine from a home on the 900 block of Palace Avenue. Investigators believe the men were stashing drugs there.
Court documents say the suspects tortured the teens, even nearly severing one of their fingers demanding the drugs back or pay them money for it. They eventually let them go after they told them they knew nothing about the missing drugs, according to investigators.
"This is behavior that one might expect to see elsewhere in the country, but now it's here and it's something we have to deal with," said U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger.
Luger told KARE 11 the victims' family members called police after the suspects threatened them, as well, if the drugs were not returned.
Police arrested two of the men at the house in St. Paul in mid-April and another in Los Angeles after taking officers on a high speed chase last month. The fourth suspect is still on the loose.
"That's dangerous. That's too close for comfort," said Allen Sipe.
Sipe lives near the home. He said three weeks ago police blocked of his road and told neighbors to stay in their homes as they raided the home.
"That is scary, that is scary. I don't think that's something anyone wants in their neighborhood," he said. "It was something I never want to go through again. I mean it was scary. I have grandchildren here."
Neighbors did not know much about the people who used to live in the home, which is now condemned. They told KARE 11 they would often see people park expensive vehicles outside of the house, go inside for a short time and then leave again.
Mexican drug cartels operating in Minnesota isn't new, according to law enforcement. It is an issue KARE 11 profiled by going to the southern border last year.
"They make sure their market is theirs and they do everything they can to make it that way. And they make a lot of money doing it," said Chief Deputy Tim Leslie with the Dakota County Sheriff's Office.
Leslie told KARE 11, not only are cartels operating in the upper Midwest, they are organized, and ruthless.
"They don't care if it's Dakota County, Hennepin County, Ramsey County, they move where the market is," he said.