Charges were filed Thursday after a Ramsey officer pulled over a minivan carrying a woman in labor and seven children — some with packing tape over their mouths.
The officer also found two other adults inside the minivan, which was stolen in Missouri, and a gun under the seat.
Deszion Marquese Wraggs, 26, who was identified as the father of the children, was charged with felony auto theft and child neglect, a gross misdemeanor, according to a criminal complaint in Anoka County District Court.
On Thursday the investigation continued into what Ramsey Police Chief Jeff Katers described as a “bizarre” case. Besides the Ramsey Police Department, Anoka County Child Protection is also investigating.
It unfolded just after midnight when the officer spotted the minivan swerving and making illegal turns in the area of Xkimo Street and St. Francis Boulevard NW. A strong odor of burned marijuana was coming from the vehicle when the officer spoke with the female driver, who was going into labor. The woman, who is believed to be the mother of the seven children, was taken to a hospital, Katers said.
Wraggs was in the passenger seat while the children slept in the back. Some of the children had clear packing tape over their mouths, but told officers they were just playing with the tape, the complaint said. Five of the children are under age 5. The others are 6 and 9.
The children were examined by paramedics at the scene, deemed to be fine and released to other family members, Katers said.
Officers found a .40 caliber handgun under the second row of seats and near the feet of some of the children. Wraggs admitted that it was his gun and that he did not have a permit to carry a firearm.
Wraggs also told officers that he had rented the minivan about a month ago but believed that he didn’t have any money left on the credit card he used to rent the vehicle, the complaint said.
A third adult in the minivan was initially detained. It was not immediately clear if he would be charged.