TRENTON – Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman announced that a Camden man was sentenced to state prison today for trafficking an assault rifle and five other guns that were purchased during an undercover investigation conducted as part of the Attorney General’s initiative to fight gun trafficking and violence.
Ramon Velez, 37, of Camden, was sentenced to five years in state prison without possibility of parole by Superior Court Judge Michael J. Kassel in Camden County. He pleaded guilty on Sept. 9 to a second-degree charge of possession of a gun as a convicted felon. Deputy Attorney General Martin Z. Steiner handled the sentencing for the Division of Criminal Justice Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau.
Velez was arrested by the New Jersey State Police Weapons Trafficking South Unit and Metro South Unit on Nov. 21, 2012 and charged with selling the following guns to an undercover detective or operative: an SKS assault rifle, a Mossberg 20-gauge shotgun, a Remington 20-gauge shotgun, a Remington 30-06 rifle, a Hi Point 9mm pistol, and a Ruger .45-caliber pistol. He was indicted on March 19, 2013.
Velez is one of 65 defendants who were indicted to date in 2013 in connection with 94 illegal guns as a result of an initiative by the Attorney General’s Office 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 the supply-chain of weapons trafficking into those areas, and aggressively prosecuting criminals involved in the illegal sale and possession of weapons. A total of 122 defendants have been indicted in connection with 181 illegal guns since the initiative began in May 2012. Most of the defendants are subject to the strict penalties applicable to Graves Act gun convictions, requiring mandatory periods of parole ineligibility of up to five years. Last year, under the initiative, 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 seizing over triple the number of guns seized by the Section in each of the two prior years.