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Two Minnesota residents arrested in Mexico on Twin Cities arson charges

The Rochester residents were arrested by Mexican authorities for immigration violations on Feb. 15.

Felan Yousif ATF Photo
In June 2020, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives released photos of Jose Felan Jr. and Mena Dhaya Yousif. The pair were persons of interest in the investigations of several St. Paul business fires on May 28, 2020.
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ROCHESTER, Minn. -- Two Rochester residents have been federally charged in connection to fires that damaged and destroyed a Goodwill retail store, Gordon Parks High School and the 7 Mile Sportswear store in St. Paul in May.

Jose Angel Felan Jr., 34, is charged with three counts of arson. Mena Dhaya Yousif, 22, is charged with a single count of accessory after the fact.

The two were detained on Feb. 15 in Mexico by Mexican authorities for immigration violations after the U.S. Marshals Service located them. The pair made their initial appearances on Wednesday, Feb. 17, before a Magistrate Judge in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of California.

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Felan is accused of maliciously damaging and destroying a Goodwill retail store, Gordon Parks High School and the 7 Mile Sportswear store on University Avenue in St. Paul on May 28, 2020. Yousif is alleged to have assisted Felan in avoiding apprehension.

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A third person, Mohamed Hussein Abdi, of Maplewood, Minn., also is charged with arson in connection to the fire at Gordon Parks High School. A trial for Abdi is scheduled for July.

Abdi and Felan were reportedly seen on surveillance footage breaking into the high school’s cafeteria, pouring liquid onto the floor and then setting a fire before leaving the area, according to the criminal complaint. Items located at the high school were consistent with items found at a fire at the Goodwill on University Avenue West, where Felan was “observed starting a fire several minutes prior to the Gordon Parks fire,” the complaint reads.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives put out a $10,000 reward in June for information leading to the arrest of Felan and his girlfriend, Yousif. At that time, the ATF said they were both persons of interest in the investigations of several St. Paul business fires during the unrest in the aftermath of George Floyd's death in Minneapolis.

Following their appearance in court Wednesday, Felan and Yousif were ordered to remain in custody pending a formal detention hearing on Feb. 23.

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