Two suspects charged in drug dealer kidnapping and torture case

Contributed Photo/Courtesy GCSO: Bryan Medina, 18, left, and Venicia Montez, 24, have been charged for their reported roles in the kidnapping and torture of an alleged drug dealer.

Two main suspects still being investigated

By Jon Johnson

GRAHAM COUNTY – Two suspects in a reported December 2018 kidnapping and torture of an alleged drug dealer have been charged with their roles while cases against the two main suspects are still pending.

Venicia Montez, 24, was picked up on a warrant April 4 and has been charged with armed robbery, kidnapping, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and conspiracy to commit kidnapping. 

Bryan Antonio Medina, 18, was previously charged in December on a single count of kidnapping for his role in the event and last had a pretrial conference Feb. 12. 

According to Graham County Sheriff’s Office reports, Montez allegedly lured the victim to her residence in a small community of manufactured homes off Calle Mesa Verde just north of Airport Road on Dec. 6 under the guise of drinking some beer and watching some movies. 

Shortly after the victim’s arrival, Montez excused herself to take some clothes to the next-door residence where her son was staying, and just after she left two Hispanic men wearing ski masks came out of a back bedroom and ordered the victim to the ground at gunpoint, according to the Sheriff’s Office reports. 

The kidnappers were identified as being Serjio Ezekiel Garcia, 24, and Johnny Ray Morales Casas, 26. However, neither Garcia or Casas has yet to be charged in the case. 

Contributed Photo/Courtesy GCSO: Sergio Garcia has been identified as one of the two main kidnappers. The case against Garcia is still pending.

The victim said the men took his shoes and wallet and beat him with a cane and the gun, which he described as being a black handgun “Walther P-22 style”. 

After zip tying his hands behind his back and placing a mask on his head, the men forced the victim into a car that had pulled up outside and they drove him to another residence where they allegedly beat him and threatened to burn his eyes with a blow torch if the victim didn’t give them his money and “stuff”, according to the victim. 

The victim said the men might have gotten the idea that he had money due to a Facebook post he made. He said they perpetrators stole his two cell phones, necklace, watch, baseball cap, and his wallet, which had $50 in cash and various cards. During the ordeal, one of the men allegedly told the victim, “You’re going to (expletive deleted) die tonight.”

Contributed Photo/Courtesy GCSO: Johnny Ray Casas has been identified as the second main kidnapper. His case is still pending.

At one point, the men took the victim back into the car and drove to another location where one of the abductors went into another residence while leaving the driver, later identified as Medina, to hold the gun on the victim in the car. 

The group then went back to the initial area of the abduction, and as they were walking the victim back into a residence when the victim said he took off running to another house and yelled for help. At that time, an occupant at the house the victim ran to cut the zip ties off the victim’s wrists and the police were called. Coincidentally, according to a Sheriff’s Office report, Casas was currently staying at the residence the victim ran to for help and the woman who the victim initially began the evening with has a child in common with the other kidnapping suspect, Garcia.  

The victim posted this picture of him holding what appears to be a stack of $50 bills on to his Facebook page. He said he believed this is what the perpetrators were after.

Deputies were dispatched to the residence at about 10:07 p.m. After contacting the victim and hearing his tale, deputies and the victim went back to the originating residence and located Montez, who the victim had started the evening with.

Montez initially said she and her son were the only ones in the house, but a search of the residence yielded her brother and cousin, Medina, in a back bedroom. 

When Medina was contacted, he initially denied being in the area at the time of the abduction and denied having a car – he would later find to be lying on both counts. 

The victim recognized a necklace Medina was wearing and identified him as the driver. A key fob to Medina’s red, 2001 Honda Civic was found in his pocket and the vehicle was located parked outside. The car was identified by the victim as the one he was forced to get into and the victim’s stolen wallet was located inside the vehicle. 

After initially denying knowing the abductors, a few days later Medina, who had been jailed for the incident, advised that his cousin (Montez) was in on the crime and that the two men who accosted the victim were Casas and Garcia. Medina advised Garcia was the one who held the gun for most of the night and that the men were trying to get the victim to tell them where his stash of two ounces of heroin was. Medina said the victim told them he would get it for them if they let him live, but that they had to let him go for him to get it. 

Montez has yet to have her preliminary hearing as her original appointed attorney was granted a motion to withdraw from the case Thursday, and a new attorney has yet to be appointed.