Man sentenced to 30 years for Picantes Restaurant robbery, Lubbock kidnapping

Man sentenced to 30 years for Picantes Restaurant robbery, Lubbock kidnapping
Damian Villareal has been sentenced to 10 years for aggravated kidnapping and 30 years for the 2017 aggravated robbery of Picantes Restaurant. (Source: Lubbock County Detention Center)

LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - A 26-year-old Lubbock man has been sentenced to 30 years after taking a plea deal for his involvement in the 2017 aggravated robbery of Picantes Restaurant and a 2020 Lubbock kidnapping. Damian Villareal was sentenced to 30 years for the aggravated robbery and 10 years for the aggravated kidnapping. The sentences will run concurrently.

Damian Villareal 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 Villareal 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)

In late Jan 2020, Villareal was arrested in the Pinal Mountains in Arizona on a charge of aggravated kidnapping that happened in Lubbock three weeks prior.

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

Officials with the Lubbock Police Department say the victim, 19-year-old Ryan Lara, received a text message from then 23-year-old Dakota Valderas on Jan. 11, 2020 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 and Dakota Noel Valderas were arrested in Arizona, charged in a Lubbock-area kidnapping.
Damian Ray Villareal and Dakota Noel Valderas were arrested in Arizona, charged in a Lubbock-area kidnapping. (Source: Gila County Sheriff's Office)

While at the apartment, police say Lara was attacked by 25-year-old Damian Villareal, 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 Valderas is charged in connection to an aggravated kidnapping that happened in January 2020
Dakota Valderas is charged in connection to an aggravated kidnapping that happened in January 2020 (Source: Lubbock County Detention Center)

After several hours, Villareal 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.

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

Phillip Marcelino Velazquez is charged with aggravated robbery for the 2017 robbery of Picantes Restaurant in Lubbock
Phillip Marcelino Velazquez is charged with aggravated robbery for the 2017 robbery of Picantes Restaurant in Lubbock (Source: Lubbock County Detention Center)

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.

Villareal and Valderas were taken into custody without incident.

Joseph Gonzalez Jr, 37, of Lubbock has been convicted of aggravated robbery of Picantes restaurant back on Jan. 27, 2017. (Source: Lubbock County Detention Center)
Joseph Gonzalez Jr, 37, of Lubbock has been convicted of aggravated robbery of Picantes restaurant back on Jan. 27, 2017. (Source: Lubbock County Detention Center)

Villareal was arrested on a felony warrant out of Lubbock for the aggravated robbery in 2017 at Picantes Restaurant. Valderas was arrested on a felony warrant for the aggravated kidnapping. Valderas has not yet been to trial. She is currently in the Lubbock County Detention Center, being held on a $200,000 bond.

Three years earlier, Damian Villareal 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.

One of the other men involved in the Picantes Restaurant aggravated robbery, Joseph Gonzalez Jr, was sentenced to 60 years in 2019.

The other man involved, Phillip Marcelino Velazquez, has pleaded not guilty to the aggravated robbery charge. He is set to go to trial on November 16, 2020 in the 364th District Court. He is currently in the Lubbock County Detention Center on a $250,000 bond.

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