Brian Hinkel, a former Vineland police officer, has pleaded guilty to possession of assault rifles and illegal ammunition magazines which were seized when state troopers discovered 258 guns, in his Newfield home in 2009, state Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa announced Friday.
Hinkel, 62, pleaded guilty before state Superior Court Judge M. Christine Allen-Jackson in Woodbury to four counts of third-degree possession of an assault rifle and 21 counts of fourth-degree possession of a prohibited device. The prohibited devices were 21 illegal large-capacity ammunition magazines.
Under a plea agreement, the state will recommend that Hinkel be sentenced to five years in state prison.
Deputy Attorney General Jill Mayer prosecuted the case. The charges were contained in an Aug. 30, 2010 indictment stemming from a state police investigation. Sentencing is set for June 1.
Hinkel was arrested on Jan. 26, 2009, when troopers went to his house to question him in an unrelated investigation and discovered numerous firearms in plain view. The troopers than executed a search warrant and discovered the cache of weapons, including the illegal assault rifles.
In pleading guilty, Hinkel admitted to illegally possessing 21 large-capacity magazines for semi-automatic rifles, as well as these illegal assault weapons: a Calico .22-caliber long rifle semi-automatic carbine, a 7.62x39mm Norinco semi-automatic rifle, a .223-caliber Colt semi-automatic rifle, and a .30-caliber National Ordnance semi-automatic carbine.
Det. Sgt. Michael Peterson and Trooper Daniel Cunning led the investigation.
—TOM HESTER SR., NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM