KANSAS CITY, Mo. – An Olathe, Kansas man indicted for leading police officers on a high-speed chase down a Kansas City airport runway and possessing drugs and an illegal firearm was arrested Tuesday.
On Feb. 1, Kansas City, Missouri police officers were notified of a suspicious vehicle that was running and parked near a gate at the Charles B. Wheeler Downtown Airport. Once officers arrived, they found Efren Torres-Rodriguez, 34, unconscious in the driver’s seat, according to a press release from the U.S. attorney’s office for the Western District of Missouri.
After officers opened the car door and shut the vehicle off, Torres-Rodriguez woke up and refused officers’ demands to get out of the car. He then started the vehicle and sped off, crashing through the gate to the west side of the airfield.
Torres-Rodriguez proceeded to lead officers on a high-speed chase down the airport runway, driving at speeds of up to 100 miles per hour, the press release states. He then attempted to cross over the airstrip into a grassy area when his vehicle became inoperable.
After the vehicular pursuit ended, officers arrested Torres-Rodriguez and allegedly found a clear plastic bag containing methamphetamine in his pants pocket. During the ensuing search of the Dodge Charger Torres-Rodriguez was driving, officers reportedly found a Glock .40-caliber handgun with an extended magazine under the driver’s seat.
Although the handgun and extended magazine were unloaded, officers did find “several rounds” of ammunition in the vehicle, along with drug paraphernalia.
After his initial arrest, officers found out Torres-Rodriguez had a Kansas warrant for a probation violation, causing him to be extradited to Johnson County to face authorities there, according to Public Affairs Officer Don Ledford of the Western District of Missouri U.S. Attorney’s office.
Torres-Rodriguez was later set free after paying a $10,000 bond on March 10, 2022. Once a federal grand jury returned a four-count indictment for the February airport incident on May 18, a federal warrant was issued for his arrest, which was executed Tuesday.
Under federal law, it is illegal for a felon to be in possession of any firearm or ammunition. Torres-Rodriguez has been convicted in the past for doing exactly that. Other prior felony convictions include robbery and possession of a firearm with a prior violent offense.
The federal indictment of Torres-Rodriguez includes one count of damaging and interfering with an air navigation facility; one count of damaging and disrupting an international airport; one count of being a felon and drug user in possession of a firearm; and one count of possessing methamphetamine.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri Trey Alford.