|TRENTON – Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa announced that a Trenton man was sentenced to prison today as a result of an undercover investigation by the New Jersey State Police that led to charges against him and three other men who conspired to sell guns in the city. The investigation was conducted by the State Police Intelligence Section Weapons Trafficking North Unit under the Attorney General’s initiative to fight gun trafficking and violence.
Reuben Rios, 22, of Trenton, was sentenced today to nine years in state prison, including 4 ½ years of parole ineligibility, by Superior Court Judge Mark J. Fleming in Mercer County. Rios pleaded guilty on Dec. 17, 2012 to a second-degree charge of illegally possessing a .38-caliber handgun. The handgun was illegally sold to another individual on Sept. 22, 2011 in Trenton.
The Division of Criminal Justice obtained an indictment in April 2012 charging Rios and three other Trenton men – Francisco Gonzalez, 35, Edward Ramos, 22, and Juan Rivera, 23 – with conspiring to traffic firearms and ammunition, including body armor penetrating rounds, throughout Trenton. During an undercover investigation by the New Jersey State Police in 2011, the defendants illegally sold a rifle and four handguns, including handguns that were stolen and had defaced serial numbers.
The other three defendants previously pleaded guilty and were sentenced as follows:
Gonzalez pleaded guilty to second-degree possession of a handgun and was sentenced on March 12 by Judge Fleming to five years in state prison, including three years of parole ineligibility.
Ramos pleaded guilty to second-degree possession of a handgun and eluding police and was sentenced on Aug. 15, 2012 by Superior Court Judge Thomas Brown to five years in state prison, including three years of parole ineligibility. He was charged with eluding because, when State Police detectives pulled his car over on Nov. 2, 2011, and were approaching his car on foot, he abruptly reversed the car, turned around and sped away.
- Rivera pleaded guilty to second-degree conspiracy and was sentenced on March 5 by Judge Fleming to five years in state prison, including one year of parole ineligibility.
Deputy Attorney General Erik Daab prosecuted the defendants and handled Rios’ sentencing for the Division of Criminal Justice Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau.
The four defendants were among 57 individuals indicted last year in an initiative launched by Attorney General Chiesa in which the Division of Criminal Justice and the New Jersey State Police are aggressively targeting gun violence through strategic investigations focused on seizing existing weapons in violent areas, disrupting weapons trafficking into those areas, and aggressively prosecuting criminals involved in the illegal sale and possession of weapons. Last year, the State Police Intelligence Section more than doubled the number of detectives assigned specifically to weapons trafficking, forming new Weapons Trafficking North and South Units and tripling annual gun seizures by the section.