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Press Release

El Paso Man Charged with Kidnapping

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Texas

EL PASO – A federal grand jury in El Paso returned an indictment today charging an El Paso man with kidnapping.

According to court documents, Matthew Joseph Contreras, 25, is accused of taking the victim from El Paso to Alamogordo, New Mexico while on his way to his new job at a detention facility. The victim told FBI agents that while they were in El Paso, Contreras held a knife to her throat in the early morning hours of March 14 after she returned from work. She also said Contreras punched and kicked her several times and then poured bleach on her. Contreras also allegedly hit the victim with a gun and then held it to her head. Law enforcement officers retrieved a 9mm handgun from the vehicle that Contreras used to drive the victim to New Mexico.

Contreras also faces a federal charge for possessing a firearm as a prohibited person due to a prior conviction. 

Contreras is charged with one count of kidnapping and one count of possession of a firearm by a prohibited person. The defendant is scheduled for an arraignment next week.  If convicted, he faces up to life in prison on the kidnapping charge and up to 10 years in prison on the firearm charge. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Contreras has remained in federal custody since his arrest on March 16, 2022.

U.S. Attorney Ashley C. Hoff of the Western District of Texas and FBI Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey R. Downey, El Paso Field Office, made the announcement.

The FBI, with assistance from the El Paso Police Department, is investigating the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Patricia Aguayo is prosecuting the case.

An indictment is merely an allegation and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.


Updated April 7, 2022

Violent Crime