Huge Gun and Drug Bust in Essex County, New Jersey
On May 8, 2017, Newark Public Safety Director Anthony F. Ambrose announced that 46 people were charged in connection with various gun and drug crimes in Essex County, NJ. In fact, police announced that they not only arrested 46 people but also that they recovered four firearms – including one replica firearm – and confiscated 383 decks of heroin, 309 vials and/or bags of cocaine, 50 plastic bags of marijuana, and 38 prescription pills. The seizures were made in an operation that was largely based in Newark, NJ.
Ambrose issued a statement about the massive gun and drug bust, stating that “this continuing operation began as a result of citizens coming forward and voicing their concerns.” Ambrose further noted that Newark law enforcement is “actively addressing” gun crimes and drug distribution offenses in an effort to make city streets safer for residents.
Among the people arrested for the unlawful possession of a weapon and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose were a 27-year-old East Orange NJ man, a 24-year-old Newark man, and a 17-year-old juvenile from Newark.
Under New Jersey gun laws, the unlawful possession of a handgun and the possession of a firearm for an unlawful purpose are both second degree felonies. N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5(b)(1) specifically states that any person who has in his possession any handgun without first having obtained a permit to carry the same is guilty of a crime of the second degree. Additionally, pursuant to N.J.S.A 2C:39-4(a)(1), any person who has in his possession any firearm with a purpose to use it unlawfully against the person or property of another is guilty of a crime of the second degree. Generally, second degree crimes are punishable by a sentence of 5-10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $150,000.
Beyond that, when it comes to second degree gun charges, there are also mandatory minimum prison sentences set forth in N.J.S.A. 2C:43-6(c), also known as the Graves Act. Pursuant to the Graves Act, a conviction for the illegal possession of a handgun or a conviction for the possession of a handgun for an unlawful purpose requires a mandatory term of imprisonment, as well as parole ineligibility, even for those defendants without a prior criminal record. (Unless a Graves Act waiver is granted.)
If you are facing gun charges in New Jersey, the consequences are severe. That’s why you should not hesitate to contact the experienced firearms defense team at the Tormey Law Firm. We are fully familiar with New Jersey gun laws, including the Graves Act. Moreover, we have successfully defended clients in gun cases throughout New Jersey and we are ready to help you no matter what gun charges you may be facing.