ST. PAUL, Minn. - One of four men accused of keeping a "stash house" for a Mexican drug cartel in St. Paul has pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute methamphetamine.
Antonio Navarro, 19, entered the plea in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis on Tuesday, clearing the way for the state to proceed on charges that include kidnapping, assault and robbery, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported.
Navarro and the three other men are accused of kidnapping and torturing two Minneapolis teens they suspected of stealing drugs and money from the house in a quiet St. Paul neighborhood.
Navarro and Juan Ricardo Elenes Villalvazo, 32, are accused of keeping the "stash house" for the cartel, although court documents don't say which one and federal prosecutors declined to comment. Drugs were delivered to the rental house and hidden there along with cash, prosecutors said.
Jesus Ramirez, 31, and Jonatan Delgado Alvarez, 22, both of Los Angeles, flew to the Twin Cities in April after meth and $200,000 in cash were stolen from the house, the federal indictment said.
Prosecutors say all four men kidnapped two Minneapolis teens suspected in the theft, brought them to the house and tortured them. The teens were released after the men determined they didn't know what happened to the drugs and money, but not before nearly severing one teen's finger with a scissors as they were interrogating him.
Navarro, as well as Ramirez and Alvarez, have been charged in Ramsey County District Court with kidnapping, assault and robbery. That case was put on hold, pending the outcome of the federal charges.
Villalvazo, who prosecutors say was responsible for injuring the teen's finger, was still at large.