MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Two teens are charged with murder in a drug deal gone bad.
A third person is in custody after what was first reported as a deadly hit-and-run crash in Andover.
Monday morning, investigators tracked down 20-year-old Loren Gafner. He is the alleged driver of the car that ran down 17-year-old Tristan Robinson.
Seventeen-year-old Daveon Maddox and 16-year-old Jaden Meadows were arrested not long after investigators determined the death of Robinson Friday night was no accident.
A house near the intersection of 141st and Palm Street in Andover is where police were called Friday night after neighbors heard the sound of screeching tires and saw a lifeless body on the pavement.
“Initially when we responded it was reported to us that it was a hit-and-run,” Anoka County Sheriff’s Commander Paul Sommer said.
Robinson was pronounced dead at the scene. It didn’t take long for investigators to learn things were not as they seemed.
“But fairly, quickly certain tips started coming forward. I think the student body at Andover High School had a lot better information at that time and we just got a lot of tips that this was not in fact a hit-and-run,” Sommer said.
He says those tips helped them determine a motive.
“What we were told is one of the victims was offering marijuana on Snapchat and that the suspects responded on Snapchat and set up a meeting with him,” Sommer said.
Instead of buying the pot, they took it and Robinson was run over trying to stop them from getting away. Meadows turned himself in. Maddox was arrested after the drug task force was told where he was hiding out.
“Gafner had sought refuge with some acquaintances his age or younger, and the homeowners there, who were adults, saw some of the reports and realized hey this is the guy and they contacted law enforcement,” Sommer said.
Gafner took off, but was spotted walking by state troopers in Isanti County. He then ran into a wooded area.
“A perimeter was set up and eventually a canine from the Ramsey County Sheriff’s office responded up there and assisted with the arrest,” Sommer said.
The people Gafner was hanging out with told investigators where the car was that was used in the incident. Investigators say the amount of pot Robinson died over was very small, about equivalent to the cost of a 12-pack of beer.
All three young men face second-degree murder charges.