Man pleads guilty to torturing teens in cartel's St. Paul drug house

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One of four men accused of kidnapping and torturing two Minneapolis teens in an attempt to extract information about a Mexican cartel's missing drug stash pleaded guilty to a drug conspiracy charge, the Pioneer Press reports.

Jonatan Delgado Alvarez, 22, of Los Angeles, pleaded guilty Monday in a Minneapolis courtroom to federal charges of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.

Alvarez reportedly said during his plea he was hired to fly from Los Angeles to the Twin Cities in April to retrieve stolen money. Court documents say when Alvarez arrived, he learned that he was to track down about 30 pounds of methamphetamine.

Various media outlets reported in May that during the attempted recovery, a 16-year-old and 19-year-old were kidnapped at gunpoint by the four suspects in south Minneapolis, and taken to a stash house in St. Paul's West Seventh neighborhood. It was there that teens were reportedly tied up, beaten and had their families threatened, and where one of them nearly had his finger cut off by one of the suspected assailants.

According to reports, the four suspects eventually determined the teens didn't have knowledge about the theft and were let go, bloodied and bruised, after a day.

Alvarez and the other suspects in the case – Ricardo Elenes Villavazo 32, and Antonio Navarro, 19, both of St. Paul; and Jesus Ramirez, 31, of Los Angeles – were charged in Ramsey County District Court last month with kidnapping, robbery and assault.

Alvarez and Navarro were arrested outside the house, and Ramirez was arrested days later in Los Angeles after police chase. Villavazo – whom Alvarez said in testimony attempted to cut off one of the teens' fingers – is still at large.

The Star Tribune said Navarro pleaded guilty in federal court to conspiring to distribute methamphetamine last month.

Alvarez faces 14-21 years in prison, and his charge carries a minimum of 10 years, according to federal sentencing guidelines. Navarro faces anywhere from 10 to 17 years in prison.

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