A gang member from Ridgewood was sentenced Wednesday to 65 months in federal prison for his role in carjacking, kidnapping and leaving a local cab driver for dead after he and four others robbed a Hawthorne bar.
Wilbur J. Barahona, 22, was the last of six defendants to accept a plea deal from federal prosecutors in Newark in connection with the separate crimes, which occurred within hours of one another.
Exactly a year ago Wednesday, Barahona told a U.S. District Court judge that he and other members of the 18th Street Gang got into a cab in Paterson around 3 a.m. on Dec. 26, 2015 for a ride to Waldwick.
The crew members took control of the cab in Ridgewood, hit the driver in the head with a beer bottle, then sliced his throat with a knife before leaving him on the side of the New York State Thruway near Woodbury, N.Y., federal authorities said
The taxicab driver survived, they said.
Hours earlier – on Christmas – the gang members robbed a Hawthorne bar at gunpoint.
The total take from the holdup: $200.
A multi-agency task force that cracked the cases was made up of agents from the FBI and ICE, investigators from the New Jersey State Police, New York State Police and Bergen County Prosecutor's Office, and members of the Ridgewood, Mahwah, Hawthorne and Waldwick police departments.
Arrested along with Barahona were Jostin Vidal Reyes of Waldwick; Guillermo Carillo-Iraheta, Balmore Carrillo-Iraheta and Juan Chiliseo-Vega, all of Suffern; and the getaway driver in the bar holdup, Oscar Avalos-Cortez of New City.
All took guilty pleas in exchange for leniency.
U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito credited special agents of the FBI, as well as the Ridgewood and Hawthorne police departments, with the investigation leading to the plea, secured by Assistant U.S. Attorney Elaine K. Lou and Karen D. Stringer of his General Crimes Unit in Newark.
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