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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of New Jersey

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Bergen County Man Admits Robbery Of New Jersey Bar, Carjacking, And Violent Kidnapping Of Taxi Driver

NEWARK, N.J. – A Bergen County, New Jersey, man today admitted participating in the December 2015 robbery of a North Jersey bar and the violent carjacking and kidnapping that took place shortly afterwards, Acting U.S. Attorney William E. Fitzpatrick announced.

Wilbur Jonathon Barahona, 21, of Ridgewood, New Jersey, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Jose L. Linares in Newark federal court to a three-count information charging him with conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act Robbery, carjacking, and kidnapping.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

Barahona admitted that on Dec. 25, 2016, he and others forcibly robbed a bar in Hawthorne, New Jersey, and subsequently fled with approximately $200 in cash.

Afterwards, in the early morning hours of Dec. 26, 2015, Barahona and others hailed a taxi in Paterson, New Jersey, and forcibly took the taxi from the driver. Barahona admitted that he and others forced the driver into the back of the vehicle and took over driving. Barahona also admitted that during the carjacking, other conspirators caused seriously bodily injury to the driver by hitting him in the head with a beer bottle and slicing his throat with a knife before eventually leaving him on the side of the road in New York. The taxicab driver survived.

The kidnapping charge carries a maximum potential penalty of life imprisonment. The carjacking charge carries a maximum potential penalty of 25 years in prison. The conspiracy charge carries a maximum potential penalty of up to 20 years in prison. Sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 16, 2017.

Balmore Carrillo-Iraheta, 19, of Suffern, New York, who previously was indicted for his role in the Hobbs Act Robbery of the Hawthorne bar, pleaded guilty before Judge Linares in Newark federal court on May 15, 2017, to one count of conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act Robbery. All six men originally charged by complaint for their respective roles in the Hobbs Act Robbery, carjacking, and kidnapping have pleaded guilty and await sentencing.

Acting U.S. Attorney Fitzpatrick credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Timothy Gallagher in Newark, investigators from the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor Gurbir S. Grewal, and the Ridgewood and Hawthorne Police Departments with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Elaine K. Lou and Karen D. Stringer of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Criminal Division in Newark.

Defense counsel: Carol Gillen Esq., Assistant Federal Public Defender, Newark

Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 
Updated May 23, 2017