By: Richard L. Smith
U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced the charges against two individuals involved in a harrowing armed kidnapping case in Paterson.
The defendants, Julio Cesar Paniagua, 27, and Joel Ramon Garcia, 33, are each facing one count of kidnapping.
Paniagua, who appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jessica S. Allen in Newark federal court, has been detained following the charges.
Garcia was apprehended on November 20, 2023, faced his initial court appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Cathy L. Waldor, and was detained.
The incident, which took place on November 15, 2023, involved the abduction of a Paterson resident by Paniagua and Garcia.
The victim was forcibly taken to Massachusetts, where they were held for ransom.
During the kidnapping, both Paniagua and Garcia were armed and threatened severe harm to the victim.
The kidnappers contacted the victim’s father, demanding ransom and threatening to mutilate the victim if their demands were not met. Fortunately, the victim was released on November 17, 2023.
The kidnapping charge carries a severe penalty, with the possibility of life imprisonment and a maximum fine of $250,000.
The case highlights the serious nature of kidnapping offenses and the rigorous pursuit of justice by law enforcement agencies.