A year-long, multi-agency investigation into organized criminal activity in South Jersey has resulted in a lengthy prison sentence for a Collingswood man as well as prison time for his cohorts.
Nicholas C. Stens, 26, of Collingswood, pleaded guilty March 12 to first-degree cocaine distribution and second-degree unlawful possession of a handgun, and will spend 12 years in state prison as part of the plea.
Stens will be ineligible for parole for four-and-a-half years on the narcotics charge while serving a concurrent five years (with three years of parole ineligibility) on the gun charge.
Stens admitted selling an undercover Voorhees police officer a .40-caliber handgun and ammunition for $800 in January 2011, and later selling that same officer a 12-gauge shotgun and distribution quantities of cocaine.
“Through our multi-agency investigation, we have secured a lengthy prison sentence for the leader of this cocaine distribution network, who also illegally sold guns,” Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa said in a statement. “We’ll continue to join forces across all levels of law enforcement to target the criminals who bring narcotics and deadly weapons into our communities in New Jersey.”
Also implicated in the case were Maple Shade residents Dominick M. Leonetti Jr., 48, and Robert A. Schafer, 25, who have already pled guilty to second-degree conspiracy to distribute cocaine, and 30-year-old Westmont resident Joseph P. Hackney, who has pled guilty to a third-degree conspiracy to distribute cocaine charge.
The state will recommend a maximum sentence of seven years for Leonetti, five years for Schafer, and 180 days in jail for Hackney.
, and Roberto L. Ortiz, 27, of Haddon Township are awaiting trial in the matter on second-degree conspiracy to distribute cocaine charges.
Evidence presented against the defendants included 22 ounces of cocaine with a street value of $20,000, cash totaling $15,000 and a vehicle used in the commission of related offenses, all of which were seized in the coordinated execution of warrants last year.