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Cop Gets 15 1/2 Years for Stealing NYPD Guns For His Drug Dealer

By Irene Plagianos | October 23, 2012 8:51am

MANHATTAN SUPREME COURT —  A pain-killer addicted NYPD officer will serve more than 15 years in prison after he pleaded guilty Monday to charges that he stole department-issued handguns and a bulletproof vest from his fellow cops' East Village precinct lockers and sold them to his drug dealer to settle his debts.

Nicholas Mina, 31, admitted when he was arrested in July that he stole four 9 mm semi-automatic handguns and sold them to his dealer, Ivan Chavez, 24, over the course of two months.

As part the plea bargain Mina accepted Monday, the officer, a six-year-veteran of the 9th precinct, will be sentenced to 15 1/2 years in prison, followed by 5 years probation, said Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Edward McLaughlin.

Mina, who appeared in court in his orange jumpsuit with a shaved head, said little during his court appearance — only answering “yes” or “yes sir” as the judge asked him whether he committed each crime — and if he understood he was waiving his right to appeal.

The former cop, who prosecutors have said was addicted to Oxycodone pain pills, also admitted to selling drugs to another person in June.

Mina, from Long Island, pleaded guilty to nine felonies, including criminal sale of a firearm, criminal sale of a controlled substance, conspiracy, and grand larceny.

McLaughlin said during the hearing that Mina would have faced 20 years in prison if he’d headed to trial.

Mina was one of five people charged in connection to a lucrative drug- and gun-running operation that sold the illicit goods on the blackmarket. The arrests were made following an undercover investigation by the NYPD's firearms investigative unit.

Chavez was the alleged kingpin of the ring — earlier this month he cut a deal with prosecutors and was sentenced to 20 years in prison — authorties had said they found thousands of prescription pills, heroin, IDs, credit cards, and counterfeit cash.

Mina 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, then handed the weapons over to Chavez or one of his associates.

One of Chavez’s accused henchmen Marcos Echeverria, 22, also pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 8 years in prison.

Cases against the two others allegedly involved in the ring, Meryl Lebowitz, 64, and Jennifer Sultan, 38, a former dotcom millionaire, are still pending.

Mina’s sentencing is slated for Nov. 7.

“As a New York City police officer, Nicholas Mina had the duty to protect citizens, but instead, he put their lives, and the lives of his fellow officers, at risk,” District Attorney Cy Vance Jr. said in a released statement. “Despite the continued serious problem of gun violence in our city, this defendant gave criminals easy access to dangerous weapons.”