By Associated Press - Thursday, January 23, 2020

LEXINGTON, Va. (AP) - A sheriff’s office in Virginia says a man wanted on drug charges hid in a drainage pipe during a standoff and then died from what appeared to be hypothermia.

A drug task force was trying to arrest Alberto Jose Cornejo-Alvarez, 38, on multiple felony warrants Monday night when he escaped on foot through a creek and concealed himself inside a pipe, a Rockbridge County Sheriff’s Office statement obtained by news outlets said.

Deputies believed Cornejo-Alvarez had a gun and tried to convince him to leave the pipe, but he refused, according to the statement.

After a two-hour standoff, deputies stopped seeing movement inside the pipe and entered it to rescue Cornejo-Alvarez from the cold water, the Staunton News Leader reported on Tuesday. The sheriff’s office said life-saving measures were taken, but Cornejo-Alvarez died at a hospital later that night.

The sheriff’s office said his death was likely hypothermia-related. The medical examiner will determine the cause.

The Augusta County Sheriff’s Office said Tuesday that Cornejo-Alvarez was wanted in the county on methamphetamine distribution charges, possession of a firearm while in possession of meth and meth possession. He was also accused of writing fraudulent checks and obtaining money by false pretenses, as well as failure to appear, in Staunton, the newspaper said. He also faced forgery charges in Waynesboro.

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