|TRENTON – Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa announced that a Gloucester County man was sentenced to state prison today for possessing assault rifles and illegal ammunition magazines which were seized when the New Jersey State Police discovered a huge cache of weapons at his home in 2009.
Brian Hinkel, 62, of Newfield, a former Vineland police officer, was sentenced to five years in state prison by Superior Court Judge M. Christine Allen-Jackson in Gloucester County. Hinkel pleaded guilty on Feb. 2, 2012 to four counts of third-degree possession of an assault rifle and 21 counts of fourth-degree possession of a prohibited device. The prohibited devices were 21 illegal large-capacity ammunition magazines.
Deputy Attorney General Jill Mayer prosecuted the case and handled the sentencing for the Division of Criminal Justice Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau. The charges were contained in an Aug. 30, 2010 indictment stemming from an investigation by the New Jersey State Police.
Hinkel was arrested on Jan. 26, 2009, when members of the State Police went to his house to question him in an unrelated investigation and discovered numerous firearms in plain view. The State Police executed a search warrant and discovered approximately 258 guns, including the illegal assault rifles.
In pleading guilty, Hinkel admitted to illegally possessing 21 large-capacity magazines for semi-automatic rifles, as well as the following illegal assault weapons: (1) a Calico .22-caliber long rifle semi-automatic carbine, (2) a 7.62x39mm Norinco semi-automatic rifle, (3) a .223-caliber Colt semi-automatic rifle, and (4) a .30-caliber National Ordnance semi-automatic carbine.
Detective Sgt. Michael Peterson and Trooper Daniel Cunning led the investigation for the New Jersey State Police.