2 suspects in Lubbock-area aggravated kidnapping case arrested in Arizona mountains

2 suspects in Lubbock-area aggravated kidnapping case arrested in Arizona mountains
Damian Villarreal, 25, of Lubbock was arrested in Gila County, Arizona on warrants out of Lubbock. He is a suspect in the 2017 Picante's restaurant aggravated robbery and in a 2020 aggravated kidnapping case. (Source: West Texas Most Wanted)

LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Two suspects in an aggravated kidnapping case have been arrested in the Pinal Mountains in Arizona. The kidnapping happened in Lubbock almost three weeks ago.

Officials with the Lubbock Police Department say the victim, 19-year-old Ryan Lara, received a text message from 23-year-old Dakota Valderas on Jan. 11 asking him to meet her at an apartment in the 4600 block of 71st Street so she could give him a phone. When he arrived, Valderas asked Lara to wait at the apartment while she got the phone.

Damian Ray Villareal, 25
Damian Ray Villareal, 25 (Source: Gila County Sheriffs Office)

While at the apartment, police say Lara was attacked by 25-year-old Damian Villarreal, who bound Lara with duct tape. Police say more people then came into the apartment and beat Lara. After several hours, Villarreal took Lara to his vehicle, placed a pillow case over his head, and drove him to another location.

Dakota Noel Valderas, 23
Dakota Noel Valderas, 23 (Source: Gila County Sheriff's Office)

After several hours, Villarreal moved Lara back into the vehicle, still blindfolded and bound. Eventually, Lara was able to break partially free from his bindings and jump out of the moving vehicle.

Someone stopped and picked Lara up from the roadway and took him to his father’s house. He was taken to Covenant Medical Center for treatment.

Damian Villarreal, 25, of Lubbock was arrested in Gila County, Arizona on warrants out of Lubbock. He is a suspect in the 2017 Picante's restaurant aggravated robbery and in a 2020 aggravated kidnapping case.
Damian Villarreal, 25, of Lubbock was arrested in Gila County, Arizona on warrants out of Lubbock. He is a suspect in the 2017 Picante's restaurant aggravated robbery and in a 2020 aggravated kidnapping case. (Source: West Texas Most Wanted)

LPD Persons Crimes was able to identify and obtain aggravated kidnapping warrants for Valderas and Villarreal.

On January 27, 2020 at approximately 11:15 a.m. the Gila County Sheriff’s Office received a call from the Forest Service stating their employees found a vehicle believed to be driven by wanted suspects. Gila County Sheriff’s Deputies, Gila County Drug, Gang and Violent Crimes Task Force and Forest Service Law Enforcement conducted a high risk stop on Forest Service Road 112 in the Pinal Mountains near Globe, AZ.

Villarreal and Valderas were taken into custody without incident.

Villarreal was arrested on a felony warrant out of Texas for aggravated robbery and will be charged with possession of marijuana, two counts of possession of drug paraphernalia, misconduct involving a weapon in a drug offense, and misconduct involving a weapon as a prohibited possessor.

Valderas was arrested on a felony warrant out of Texas for aggravated kidnapping with bodily injury and will be charged with possession of drug paraphernalia

Both Valderas and Villarreal are held on a bond of $200,000 each. Villarreal also had an additional warrant from an aggravated robbery in 2017.

Damian Villarreal was indicted on charges of aggravated robbery by a Lubbock grand jury in 2017. Police say he and two other men entered Picantes Restaurant on 34th Street in January 2017. They say one flashed a gun and told everyone to get on the ground. They demanded money, and then ran from the restaurant.

The investigation into other individuals involved is ongoing.

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