An Atlantic City man arrested shortly after buying stolen guns in 2011 pleaded guilty this week to unlawful possession of a weapon.
Vincent Owens, 45, faces an eight-year prison sentence without parole for four years when he is sentenced in April.
Members of the Atlantic City Task Force arrested Owens and four others as they left his Columbia Avenue apartment Nov. 29, 2011, after he and Wilbert Toombs bought two guns taken in an Ocean County home invasion, Deputy Attorney General Jim Ruberton said.
Steve Caruthers, Mellisa Chilson and Melissa Haugh are charged in that robbery, during which two .44-caliber Colt revolvers — valued at $8,000 each — were taken.
The Task Force was able to get information that the three were headed to Atlantic City to sell the guns, and arrested them as they left in two cars, Ruberton said.
Owens pleaded guilty Tuesday before Superior Court Judge Kyran Connor in an agreement made by Assistant Prosecutor Erik Bergman.
Owens, who also was found with seven bags of heroin at the time of his arrest, has a criminal history dating to at least 1986, which includes several gun convictions, court records show. He will be sentenced April 12.
Caruthers, Chilson and Haugh have pleaded guilty to transporting the guns, but the Ocean County charges — which are being transferred to Atlantic County — are still pending, Ruberton said. Toombs pleaded to fourth-degree transporting of firearms. Fourth-degree crimes usually do not result in jail time.
The Task Force is made up of members of the State Police, Attorney General’s Office, Atlantic County Prosecutor’s and Sheriff’s offices, the Atlantic City Police Department and the Division of Criminal Justice.
The heads of all of those departments “are dedicated to stopping guns from getting into and being used in Atlantic City,” Ruberton said. In this case, “the Atlantic City Task Force was able to track these guns as they were coming into the city and take down all of the parties, stopping (the guns) from ever being used.”
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