LANCASTER (AP) — Two brothers who run a Southern California martial arts school were arrested on suspicion of kidnapping an Antelope Valley teenager, torturing him with cigarettes and cutting him with samurai swords, authorities said Friday.
Ston Lee, 34, and Skoth Ly, 33, were arrested Thursday on suspicion of kidnapping, torture and cultivating marijuana while a third man, Anthony Valdizia, 36, was arrested on suspicion of being a felon with a firearm, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said.
All three remained jailed Friday.
The brothers are suspected of kidnapping an 18-year-old man in Lancaster on Sept. 25 who was “tortured with lit cigarettes, cut with samurai swords and beaten” before being released, according to a statement from sheriff’s Deputy Miguel T. Ruiz.
Investigators did not immediately release a motive for the alleged attack.
However, on Thursday, detectives and members of burglary and robbery suppression teams served a search warrant on a home where they found Lee, Valdizia, a gun, drug paraphernalia and marijuana that was being grown indoors, Ruiz aid.
Skoth Ly was found at another home. Authorities said samurai swords were recovered there and at the brother’s Ston Skoth martial arts academy.
Lee and Ly grew up in the Mojave Desert community northeast of Los Angeles and began learning martial arts as youngsters, later founding their studio, said Anthony Martinez, a longtime acquaintance.
“I was their first student 13 years ago,” Martinez said in a telephone interview.
Martinez, 38, said he eventually ran the academy for the brothers but last saw them about six months ago when he left to teach martial arts on his own.
It was “mind-blowing” to hear of their arrests, he said.
“These guys are very humble martial artists. They’re good, respectful people” who worked hard to teach youngsters various forms of martial arts, Martinez said.
“Those were my masters,” he said. “If anything, they were there to help people out.”
Having swords was not unusual, he added.
“Mostly every martial arts (school) you go to, you’re going to see samurai swords. That’s part of your training, and part of what we practice in,” he said. “Everybody has samurai swords.”
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