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'Incredibly dangerous' man charged in violent Colorado Springs carjacking

November 7, 2017 Updated: November 7, 2017 at 5:02 pm
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Miguel Lema Cruz. Photo courtesy Colorado Springs Police Department.

A man arrested in June following a violent carjacking and police chase was formally charged Tuesday by a grand jury with drug distribution and firearms-related crimes.

Miguel Lerma Cruz, 37, faces two counts of possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance, multiple counts involving the use of firearms during a drug trafficking crime, carjacking, and possession of a firearm by a prohibited person. If convicted of all counts, the defendant faces a mandatory minimum of 32 years in federal prison.

He is being held without bond pending a resolution of his case.

On May 29, Cruz threatened a woman and her husband inside the El Ranchito Meat Market in Colorado Springs, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. When police arrived, Cruz rammed into a police cruiser before leading officers on a chase.

Police said Cruz eventually drove through a red light and hit two cars, one of which was occupied by two elderly people who were hospitalized.

Cruz's truck was disabled in the crash, whereupon police say he got out of the car with an assault-type rifle and ordered a woman in a nearby Acura sedan to get out of her car.

Police lost sight of Cruz but learned that two of the vehicles in the meat market parking lot - a silver Saturn sedan and the Dodge pickup truck - were his.

A search of the Dodge yielded a 9 mm handgun stolen from a residence in Brattleboro, Vermont, in 2013, approximately 289 grams of heroin, approximately 662 grams of methamphetamine, and up to $30,000 in cash. Inside the Saturn authorities said they found a Ruger mini-14 rifle, ammunition for a AK-47 as well as ammunition for a 12 gauge shotgun. They also found spent .40 shell casings that was connected to a shooting the month before.

Cruz was arrested three days later in the 6800 block of Corporate Drive.

"This was a guy who was incredibly dangerous," Lt. Howard Black said in June. "Detectives and officers were able to get him located and get him into custody without anyone getting hurt."

He had prior convictions for attempt to distribute heroin, distribution of a Schedule 1 controlled substance, and assault, as well as three cases currently pending in state court for firearms and assault charges. He also had been convicted of trafficking a controlled substance in Clark County, Nevada.

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