Three indicted in kidnapping for ransom case

Local News

[images from left to right Stephen Gabriel Martinez, Paul Reyes-Cantu and Justice Jai Manahan/ provided by court records]

LUBBOCK, Texas– Three men were indicted on Tuesday for aggravated kidnapping for a reward in August 2020.

The case started as a drug deal that quickly escalated into a kidnapping, and ended with a two-vehicle crash, according to a Lubbock Police report.

The first victim went to meet with Steven Gabriel Martinez, 22, at his girlfriend’s house so he could purchase marijuana from him, according to police.

When the victim got there, Martinez, Justice Jai Manahan, 23, and Paul Anthony Reyes-Cantu, age 20 at the time of the incident, were all standing in front of the house.

Martinez told the victim that his brother owed him money, and he needed to pay him back for the money that his family owed him. The victim told Martinez he did not have the money to pay him back.

The victim then called his brother and told him he needed to come to the location he was at so he could pay him.

However, all three men told the victim to “get in the car.”

That is when the victim called his stepfather and told him he was going to 45th Street and University Avenue and said they were traveling eastbound in the 5000 block of Slide Road.

His stepfather told police he began following Martinez’s vehicle, as he was leaving the residence the victim went to buy the marijuana, according to the report.

The victim’s stepfather said when he got to the 5000 block of 19th Street in the eastbound lanes, he attempted to get in front of Martinez’s vehicle in an attempt to stop it. Martinez swerved left, and the victim’s stepdad also swerved left. Then, both vehicles collided in the 4800 block of 19th Street.

Police then arrived on the scene and arrested Martinez, Manahan and Reyes-Cantu. They were booked into the Lubbock County Detention Center after the incident.

However, all three posted bond by Tuesday.

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