The Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area is a long way away from the home turf of Mexico’s Sinaloa drug cartel, but that didn’t stop three cartel enforcers from making their way up the region in an attempt to hunt down two teenagers they accused of stealing drugs and money from a stash house.

The three enforcers were allegedly sent from Los Angeles to St. Paul on orders from the Sinaloa cartel to find the people who stole 30 pounds of methamphetamine and $200,000 from a stash house in St. Paul. The two teens that the cartel hit men snagged were tortured, had their lives and that that of their families threatened and were told to find the missing drugs or come up with $300,000 to compensate the cartel, according to court documents obtained by the (Minneapolis) Star Tribune newspaper.

“The kidnappers told [the 19-year-old] that if he didn’t return the drugs or come up with the money, he and his entire family would be killed,” according to court documents.

Despite indictments pending and two of three enforcers taken into custody, the story has people in the Twin Cities area shocked and worried as law enforcement deals with a spike in drug trafficking and heroin overdoses.

Federal authorities told the Star Tribune that they are not shocked that the Sinaloa cartel would go to such lengths to retrieve their money and drugs, especially in the lucrative Midwest heroin market. What worries them is that instead of using their own people, the cartel apparently hired the hit men from the feared Mara Salvatrucha 13 street gang (MS-13).

One of the men, 22-year old Jonatan Alvarez Delgado, was arrested in Minnesota and confessed to the crime. Another, Jesus Ramirez, 31, was captured in California after leading FBI agents on a chase through downtown Los Angeles and the third, known only as “Chapop,” is still at large.

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