4 face drug charges after St. Paul chase

  • Article by: ANTHONY LONETREE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 20, 2012 - 8:54 PM

One of the suspects was shot by officer during pursuit.

Miguel Lorenzanovilla

Four men face drugs and conspiracy charges in the wake of a St. Paul police chase Tuesday night that ended with one suspect being shot and wounded by an officer.

Authorities recovered 30 pounds of marijuana and 6 pounds of suspected methamphetamine in a search of one of two vehicles being pursued that night, according to the charges filed Friday in Ramsey County District Court.

Authorities put the street value of the drugs at $265,000.

Charged with conspiring to sell the drugs were: Miguel Lorenzanovilla, 23; Albert D. Huerta, 24; Juan Ayala Gutierrez, 27; and Basurto M. Estaquio, 27. They also were charged with possessing methamphetamine and possessing the drug with intent to sell.

About 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, police began pursuing two vehicles -- a black Yukon and a white Chevrolet Impala -- that had been seen leaving a residence that investigators were monitoring for suspected methamphetamine and marijuana trafficking.

After officers turned on their squad car lights, the Yukon stopped, and Lorenzanovilla and Huerta -- both armed -- took off on foot, according to the charges.

Huerta, who later said that he had been given a gun and ordered to run by Lorenzanovilla, dropped the weapon and surrendered to police.

Lorenzanovilla was shot in the buttocks by officer Brian Wanschura after jumping over a fence along Interstate 94. He was charged Thursday with first-degree assault and second-degree assault after allegedly pointing a gun at Wanschura during the chase.

Authorities say Estaquio and Gutierrez were believed to have been riding in the Impala, which was left in a school parking lot in the 200 block of Western Avenue N. They hitched a ride to an East Side restaurant, where they were arrested.

The marijuana and methamphetamine -- as well as $20,000 in cash -- were recovered from the Yukon, the charges say.

In statements to police:

Huerta said that he had been in Minnesota for six days and was looking to Lorenzanovilla to get him a restaurant job.

Lorenzanovilla said that he was from Mexico and had been in Minnesota for about a year. He denied having a gun.

Gutierrez denied having a car or knowing anything about an abandoned Impala.

Estaquio said he had been in St. Paul for two days and was hoping to get a job as a cook.

The four men are being held in the county jail in lieu of $250,000 bail.

Anthony Lonetree • 612-875-0041

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