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Passaic County Jury Finds Two Guilty of Deadly Drive-by Shooting

By rlsmetro on

Passaic County Prosecutor Camelia M. Valdes announces that Mr. Nelson Vargas, 29, and Mr. Christopher Reynoso, 22, both from Passaic, were found guilty after a jury trial before the Honorable Justine A. Niccollai, J.S.C. on June 13. 

The Jury found both men guilty of one count of first-degree Murder, one count of first-degree Attempted Murder, one count of first-degree Conspiracy to Commit Murder, two counts of second-degree Possession of a Firearm for an Unlawful Purpose, and one count of second-degree Unlawful Possession of a Weapon. 

Officials said on May 15, 2017, the Passaic Police Department responded to a residence in the area of 37 Federal Street, Passaic, on a report of a drive-by shooting. Mr. Hansel Castillo, 23, of Passaic, was shot and later pronounced dead at St. Joseph’s University Medical Center in Paterson. 

A second victim, Mr. Bryan Cabrera, 20-years-old of Woodland Park, was shot and subsequently treated at the hospital for non-life-threatening injuries and released. 

Passaic Police located numerous surveillance cameras identifying the vehicle used during the commission of the crime, and they were able to identify Mr. Vargas and Mr. Reynoso as the individuals who committed the drive-by shooting.

On June 13, 2022, a Passaic County petit jury convicted Mr. Vargas and Mr. Reynoso on all counts of Passaic County Indictment Number 18-01-0078-I. 

Sentencing is to be scheduled before Judge Niccollai on a date and time to be determined by the Court.

Passaic County Senior Assistant Prosecutor Nubar C. Kasaryan represented the State during the jury trial before Judge Niccollai. Mr. Vargas was represented by Nicholas Patullo, Esq., and Mr. Reynoso was represented by Ronald Hunt, Esq.