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Waldwick Carjacker Gets 3 Years In Fed For Smashing Cabbie With Beer Bottle

Four of Cruz's convicted co-defendants (clockwise from top left): Guillermo Carrillo-Iraheta, Oscar Avalos-Cortez, Wilbur Barahona, Jostin Reyes
Four of Cruz's convicted co-defendants (clockwise from top left): Guillermo Carrillo-Iraheta, Oscar Avalos-Cortez, Wilbur Barahona, Jostin Reyes Photo Credit: MUGSHOTS: Various jurisdictions

WALDWICK, N.J. -- A Waldwick gang member was sent to federal prison for three years Wednesday for smashing a carjacked cab driver in the head with a beer bottle before his accomplices dumped the victim on the side of the New York State Thruway in Orange County.

Arlyn Jowany Carrasco Cruz, 28, will have to serve just about all of the sentence because there is no parole in the federal prison system.

Cruz and five accomplices carjacked the driver of a 2008 Dodge Caravan in the early morning hours of Dec. 26, 2016, in Ridgewood forcing him into the back of the vehicle, authorities said.

As they drove toward Waldwick, Cruz "struck the victim in the head with a beer bottle," U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito said.

The others dropped off Cruz and continued driving the cab to New York, where one of them sliced the cabbie's throat before dumping him on the side of the Thruway near Woodbury, he said.

The taxicab driver survived.

The case was cracked by a multi-agency task force 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.

Including Cruz, five defendants in all pleaded guilty to their roles in the carjacking and subsequent kidnapping, as well as an earlier bar robbery in Hawthorne.

Guillermo Carrillo-Iraheta and Juan Chiliseo-Vega, both of Suffern, were sentenced to 150 and 168 months in prison, respectively.

Oscar Avalos-Cortez of New City, meanwhile, pleaded guilty to being the getaway driver in the Hawthorne bar robbery.

Carpenito credited the law enforcement agencies involved for their work in the case.

Handling the prosecution are Assistant U.S. Attorneys Elaine K. Lou and Karen D. Stringer of Carpenito’s Criminal Division in Newark.

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