2 Men Face Life In Prison After Kidnapping New Jersey Resident

Two men have been charged in connection with their respective roles in an armed kidnapping for ransom of a Paterson, New Jersey, resident, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced.

Julio Cesar Paniagua, 27, is charged by complaint with one count of kidnapping. Paniagua appeared today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jessica S. Allen in Newark federal court and was detained.

Joel Ramon Garcia, 33, was previously charged by complaint with one count of kidnapping. Following his arrest on Nov. 20, 2023, Garcia made his initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Cathy L. Waldor in Newark federal court and was detained.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

On Nov. 15, 2023, Paniagua and Garcia kidnapped the victim in Paterson and then drove the victim to Massachusetts, where they held the victim for ransom. During the kidnapping, Paniagua and Garcia both brandished firearms. Shortly after the kidnapping, the kidnappers contacted the victim’s father and threatened that the victim’s fingers would be cut off if the ransom was not paid. The kidnappers ultimately released the victim on Nov. 17, 2023.

The charge of kidnapping carries a maximum penalty of life in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000.

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