Jackson Heights resident Joseph Barahona was indicted by a Queens grand jury on murder charges and other crimes in the death of a Flushing teenager during a botched drug heist in East Elmhurst last month, according to Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz.
Barahona, 19, of 35th Avenue, was arraigned Friday, March 26, before Queens Supreme Court Justice Kenneth Holder on a six-count indictment charging him with murder, burglary and attempted robbery. Barahona, along with two others, allegedly tried to steal marijuana from an 18-year-old man by holding him at gunpoint, but he was killed when the plan went awry.
According to the charges, just before 7 p.m. on Feb. 10, Barahona went to an apartment in East Elmhurst in an alleged attempt to buy marijuana. The defendant was escorted inside by Gregory Campos. After settling on a price, the defendant left the apartment with a sample of the marijuana to allegedly show his friends who were outside. Campos escorted Barahona back outside and held the apartment building door open for Barahona to come back in to make the buy. However, two masked men immediately appeared at the building entrance with Barahona. Campos had a gun shoved into his back and was forced upstairs by the masked men and Barahona toward the apartment they had just come from moments earlier.
Then, at the apartment door, someone inside saw the attempted robbery unfolding in the stairwell, quickly slammed the door shut and yelled “get the strap,” according to Katz. Seconds later, a pistol was fired from inside the apartment and through the wall adjacent to the stairwell where the 18-year-old Campos was being held at gunpoint. The bullet struck the teenager in the torso, causing his death.
“As alleged, the defendant participated in a scheme to steal thousands of dollars’ worth of marijuana,” Katz said. “The armed heist delved into chaos when a gun was fired and the victim, who was being held at gunpoint, was killed. Now a young man is being mourned by his family and this defendant faces very serious charges for his alleged actions.”
Justice Holder set the defendant’s return date for March 29. If convicted, Barahona faces up to 25 years to life in prison.