Cop Admits Stealing NYPD Guns for Drug Dealer to Support Habit
MANHATTAN SUPREME COURT — A drug addicted NYPD officer admitted to stealing department-issued handguns and bulletproof vests from his fellow cops' East Village precinct lockers and selling them to his drug dealer — saying he did it to settle his debts.
Police Officer Nicolas Mina, 31, assigned to the 9th Precinct in the East Village, confessed to stealing four loaded 9 mm semi-automatic handguns to his drug dealer, Ivan Chavez, 24, over the course of two months, prosecutors said during Mina's Supreme Court arraignment Friday.
Mina, of Long Island, worked overnight as part of a 24-hour security detail assigned to guard the precinct's seventh-floor locker room when the thefts began in February, sources said. He allegedly swiped the officers' guns out of the locker room and whisked them from the precinct.
Mina also allegedly stole a bulletproof vest, prosecutors said.
Mina was arrested Thursday following an undercover investigation by the NYPD's firearms investigative unit. He was indicted on charges of criminal possession of a weapon, criminal sale of a firearm, criminal possession of a controlled substance, conspiracy and grand larceny.
"It shocks the conscience that the ... undercovers had to put their lives in danger to stop a fellow cop from putting guns on the street," said prosecutor Chris Prevost. "Over two months, in five separate thefts, he stole four separate loaded 9 mm semi-automatic weapons and a ballistic vest from fellow officers in the Ninth Precinct."
Mina was ordered held without bail.
"I don't believe there is any bail that will assure this person's appearance in this courtroom, ever," said Judge Edward McLaughlin.
Mina said nothing during his arraignment. He sat gaunt-looking in a dirty white t-shirt as prosecutors detailed the charges against him.
Prosecutors said Mina was addicted to Oxycodone pain pills, which he popped himself and also resold to others.
Chavez, who was also arrested and charged with conspiracy and related crimes, was the mastermind behind a lucrative drug- and gun-running operation that supplied illegal weapons to the black market.
Yesterday, prosecutors said, cops raided his home and found thousands of prescription pills, heroin, IDs, credit cards, and counterfeit cash.
Charges related to the drug-ring are pending, prosecutors said.
Chavez was also ordered held without bail.
Prosecutors also indicted Chavez's alleged henchmen and women Marcos Echeverria, 22, Meryl Lebowitz, 64, and Jennifer Sultan, 38. They were charged with crimes that included criminal sale of a firearm.
Mina, who has been on the job for six years, was taken into custody Friday within the confines of the 5th Precinct, which polices Chinatown, Little Italy and NoLita. Cops declined to say where exactly he was arrested.
Cops who know Mina said they were blindsided by the charges.
"He was an excellent young cop," a source said. They added that Mina — known for carrying a cup for his tobacco chew — mostly kept to himself. "He's a nice kid," the source added. "Very low key."