Target of drug chases sought for a year or moreJuan Robles maybe had good reason to run from police, something he did three times in two cities at high speeds in at least three different vehicles over the past week.
By: By Stephen J. Lee , Forum Communications, The Jamestown Sun
Juan Robles maybe had good reason to run from police, something he did three times in two cities at high speeds in at least three different vehicles over the past week.
He eluded police Aug. 3 after several hours of chases at speeds up to 100 mph. On Sunday was chased through Grand Forks and was later seen approaching Fargo, where he left a stolen vehicle.
Robles, 31, finally was caught Tuesday just southwest of Grand Forks after he crashed another vehicle in another chase. He is scheduled to appear Friday in state district court in Grand Forks on a list of chase-related felony charges.
But police in Grand Forks have been after Juan Angel Robles for more than a year, since people involved in drug deals began pegging him as the source for marijuana, methamphetamine and cocaine.
The Grafton man, who has been living in Grand Forks and also has a Fargo address, according to investigative affidavits, is in the Grand Forks County jail facing several felony charges — mostly reckless endangerment — in six separate cases, mostly related to his multiple chases.
The latest spate of chases started last Friday in Grand Forks, although police have been chasing Robles since at least May 2011, as drug deals financed by the local narcotics task force, using informants, kept coming back to Robles as the hub.
He lived in an apartment in the 2200 block of 30th Avenue South with girlfriend Marie Stewart. Robles drove a white Chrysler 300, she drove a white Pontiac Grand Prix.
Confidential informants using police money to do drug deals told investigators last year Robles “is a large cocaine distributor and he never runs out of cocaine,” kept his drugs in his bedroom and made regular trips to Texas with Stewart to buy drugs, according to affidavits in the case. An informant said Robles supplied all of Grafton with drugs.
On Aug. 23, 2011, police used a search warrant to go through the apartment of Robles and Stewart, finding cocaine and pot in her purse and pot in a secret compartment in a picture. Both were charged. But the pot possession charge against Robles was dropped by prosecutors. Stewart pleaded to the lesser pot possession misdemeanors and the cocaine possession charge was dropped in January. She served a sentence of community service and drug treatment.
Car tied to deal
On June 11 of this year, another task force-orchestrated drug deal put an informant together with Andy Delacruz, who has a long rap sheet of drug crimes in Grand Forks, to buy 1.5 grams of meth for $100. Delacruz arrived at the Valley Dairy parking lot in south Grand Forks riding in the Chrysler 300 driven by Robles, investigators said in affidavits.
So it was no surprise that when Officer Wesley Vert spotted Robles driving that same Chrysler in Grand Forks on Aug. 3, he followed him. And the chase was on.
When he crashed and abandoned his Chrysler last Friday at 10th Avenue South and Cottonwood Street, Robles left two cell phones and a black briefcase in the car. Investigators said in an affidavit for a search warrant that they figure lots of digital evidence of crimes by Robles, including “pay/owe sheets,” keeping track of drug deals, as well as names and numbers of confederates and customers might be recorded in the phones.
Stephen J. Lee is a reporter
at the Grand Forks Herald, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.