A couple who each served prison sentences on unrelated manslaughter charges were arrested Friday morning in Egg Harbor Township with guns, drugs and ammunition, officials said.

Donald Capriotti’s Robin Road home in the Cardiff section of the township was searched just before 5 a.m., following an ongoing investigation by the Atlantic City Task Force.

A search of the home revealed nearly 5.5 ounces of crack cocaine with a street value of $6,000 to $7,000, a half-ounce of marijuana, a 12-gauge sawed-off shotgun with 13 rounds of ammunition, a Tech-9 semiautomatic assault rifle also with 13 rounds of ammunition and a high-capacity magazine, Deputy Attorney General Jim Ruberton said. There was also packaging material for drugs, including scales and baggies.

Capriotti, 39, was charged with first-degree drug possession, which carries a possible sentence of 10 to 20 years in prison, along with drug and weapons offenses.

Also charged was Chinyere Onuba-Gardner, 32, whose last known address was in Camden.

It was unclear how the two met or what their relationship is, but Capriotti at times has gone by Donald or Ronald Gardner, the same last name Onuba added to her own surname, state Department of Corrections records show.

Ruberton said he could not comment on the couple’s criminal history, which includes each having served prison terms for killings, apparently before the two met.

Capriotti — then known as Gardner — was 19 when he shot and killed friend Devon Whitehead, also 19, in the Thompson Avenue gravel pit in Egg Harbor Township. Capriotti shot Whitehead, who lived in Pleasantville, and left him to die in the bushes about 10:30 a.m. June 12, 1993. Capriotti was angry after two others told him Whitehead had said bad things about him, investigators said at the time.

He pleaded guilty to aggravated manslaughter and, at his sentencing, said Whitehead was a “good friend” and that he had made a “human mistake," according to a story in The Press of Atlantic City at the time.

Capriotti received a 30-year prison term and was released May 23.

Onuba-Gardner served seven years in prison for the death of her 5-month-old son. On Dec. 13, 2002, the boy died from starvation. She and the baby’s father pleaded guilty to manslaughter, and each was sentenced to nine years in prison. Both were released Aug. 6, 2010. At the time of their sentencings, an older son, who was 2 at that time, was said to be living with relatives out of state. It was unclear where that child is now.

Ruberton did not give details about what led to the investigation but said it began with the task force, which is comprised of members of the State Police, Atlantic County Sheriff’s Office, Atlantic City Police Department, Department of Criminal Justice and the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office. Egg Harbor Township police assisted with the search.

Contact Lynda Cohen:

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