A convicted murderer from Trenton is headed to federal prison for four years for selling an illegal semi-automatic rifle and an extended magazine to a buyer who turned out to be a State Police cooperator.
Edwin Gaines, 59, must serve all of the plea-bargained term approved Wednesday by a U.S. District Court judge in Trenton because there’s no parole in the federal prison system.
U.S. District Judge Peter G. Sheridan also sentenced Gaines to three years of supervised release under the terms of the deal.
The former Jersey City ex-con was among dozens of gun- and drug-running gang members nabbed in a pair of August 2019 State Police takedowns dubbed “Operation West End” in Trenton and “Operation 4K Boyz” in Paterson, authorities said.
Gaines pleaded guilty to felony murder in 1982 and was sentenced to 25 years in prison, nearly 20 of which he served, records show.
After the State Police gun arrest went federal, Gaines took a deal from the government, pleading guilty plea via video conference last July to being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm.
Gaines admitted that he sold a .22-caliber Ruger rifle and the magazine to a buyer using money provided by law enforcement "in a video- and audio-recorded transaction in the basement of a Trenton residence," Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig said.
Honig credited special agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives Newark Division’s Trenton Field Office, detectives from the New Jersey State Police and Trenton police with the investigation leading to the plea, secured by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Katie Lee of her Criminal Division in Trenton.
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