ST. PAUL, Minn. - Federal prosecutors are announcing the indictment of 4 alleged members of a Mexican drug cartel for their role in a large-scale meth ring and a violent kidnapping that took place in St. Paul.

The indictments were handed down by a grand jury Monday and announced by U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger Tuesday morning. Named in the documents were Jesus Ramirez, 31, of Los Angeles, CA; Jonatan Delgado Alvarez, 22, of Los Angeles, CA; Juan Ricardo Elenes Villalvazo, a.k.a. Chapo, 32, of St. Paul, MN; and Antonio Navarro a.k.a. Tony Sanchez, 19, of St. Paul, MN.

Authorities allege that Ramirez, Alvarez, Villalvazo, and Navarro participated in a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, and say Navarro and Villalvazo maintained a stash house in St. Paul for storing large amounts of methamphetamine for distribution as part of the conspiracy.

Investigators say on April 14, 2014, defendants Ramirez and Alvarez flew from Los Angeles to Minnesota after hearing from their associates approximately 30 pounds of methamphetamine had been stolen from the stash house two days earlier. On that evening the four defendants allegedly kidnapped two victims at gunpoint and held them captive against their will at the stash house. The indictments say the suspected meth thieves were bound, beaten and violently threatened while the defendantts demanded information about the stolen drugs. Prosecutors say Villalvazo cut one of the victim's fingers,
nearly severing it, while Ramirez held the victim down. After determining that the victims had no information about the missing drugs, they were released.

Police had been called while the victims were being held captive and the stash house was surrounded. Two suspects were arrested as they attempted to leave the house, while another managed to escape and flew to Los Angeles. There, he was arrested after leading police on a high-speed chase.

All four defendants are charged with one count of Conspiracy to Distribute methamphetamine, while Ramirez is charged with carrying a firearm and using it to kidnap and threaten the victims.
If convicted, all four defendants could face a potential maximum penalty of life in prison.