MANHATTAN SUPREME COURT — A pain-killer-addicted ex-NYPD officer was sentenced Wednesday to 15 1/2 years in jail for stealing department-issued handguns and a bulletproof vest from his fellow cops' East Village precinct lockers and then selling 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.
He pleaded guilty to the charges last month.
Mina, wearing a black dress shirt and sporting a beard, said nothing during the sentencing.
His lawyer, Robert Gallo, said his client “takes responsibility for his actions” but also placed blame on the “scourge of prescription drugs.”
Mina became addicted to Percocet and Vicodin after he was involved in a June 2009 accident in his patrol car, Gallo said. The “irony, the saddest part,” said Gallo, was that a police doctor prescribed the drugs after the injury to his back. His need for drugs then spiraled out of control.
“If it can happen to him, it can happen to anyone,” Gallo said.
Mina, from Long Island, was one of five people charged in connection with a lucrative drug- and gun-running operation that sold the illicit goods on the black market. The arrests were made following an undercover probe 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 — and authorities 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 9th 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.