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Press Release

Four Gang Members Charged With Armed Robbery Of New Jersey Bar, Violent Kidnapping Of Taxi Driver

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Jersey

NEWARK, N.J. – Four 18th Street gang members from Bergen County, New Jersey, and Rockland County, New York, were charged today with various offenses arising from their armed robbery of a Hawthorne, New Jersey, bar and the violent carjacking of a taxi that took place shortly afterwards, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Wilbur Jonathan Barahona, 20, of Ridgewood, New Jersey, Guillermo Carillo-Iraheta, 19, of Suffern New York, Juan Chiliseo-Vega, 19, of Suffern, and Jostin Reyes, 21, of Waldwick, New Jersey, were charged by complaint with conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act Robbery, carjacking, use of a firearm during a crime of violence, and kidnapping. All four appeared this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Cathy L. Waldor in Newark federal court. 

Balmore Carillo-Iraheta, 19, of Suffern, and Oscar Avalos-Cortez, 22, of New City, New York, are also charged in the same complaint with conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act robbery. They had their initial appearances before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark Falk on Nov. 1, 2016 and U.S. Magistrate Judge James B. Clark on Nov. 10, 2016, respectively. All six defendants, with the exception of Avalos-Cortez, have been detained. Avalos-Cortez was released on a $150,000 unsecured bond.

According to the complaint:

On Dec. 25, 2016, Barahona, Guillermo Carillo-Iraheta, Chiliseo-Vega, Reyes, Balmore Carillo-Iraheta, and Avalos-Cortez robbed a bar at gunpoint in Hawthorne, New Jersey, while Avalos-Cortez operated the getaway vehicle.

Later that evening, Barahona, Guillermo Carillo-Iraheta, Chiliseo-Vega, and Reyes robbed a taxicab driver at gunpoint, hit the taxicab driver in the head with a beer bottle, and sliced his throat with a knife before leaving him on the side of the New York State Thruway near Woodbury, 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. The charge of brandishing a weapon in connection with the carjacking offense carries a mandatory penalty of seven years in prison.

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Timothy Gallagher in Newark, as well as the Ridgewood and Hawthorne Police Departments, with the investigation leading to the charges.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Karen D. Stringer of the U.S. Attorney’s Office General Crimes Unit in Newark.           

The charges and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Updated December 20, 2016

Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 16-321