ROCKLAND COUNTY, N.Y. – A gang member admitted that he participated in carjacking, kidnapping and leaving a New Jersey cab driver for dead after he and fellow crew members -- two of them from Rockland County -- held up a bar.
Jostin Vidal Reyes, 21, of Waldwick, NJ became the third defendant of five charged to take a plea deal from federal prosecutors in Newark.
He told a U.S. District Court Judge there on Monday 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 – Reyes said he and the other 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.
Also arrested were Guillermo and Balmore Carrillo-Iraheta, both of Suffern; Juan Chiliseo-Vega, also of Suffern and Wilbur J. Barhona of Ridgewood. Another defendant, Oscar Avalos-Cortez of New City, drove the getaway car in the Hawthorne holdup, authorities said.
Guillermo Carillo-Iraheta admitted his role in the crimes three weeks ago.
Chiliseo-Vega pleaded guilty a week earlier.
Charges against Barahona for both crimes and against Balmore Carrillo-Iraheta and Avalos-Cortez for the bar robbery were still pending.
A federal judge scheduled an Aug. 2 sentencing for Reyes on his guilty pleas to conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act Robbery, carjacking, and kidnapping.
Acting U.S. Attorney William E. Fitzpatrick 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 and Karen D. Stringer of his General Crimes Unit in Newark.