In a recent case in Bergen County, New Jersey, police apprehended a convicted sex offender after tracking a handgun en route to him via a woman he had connected with on the Internet.
55-year-old Gilbert Violante was arrested by officers from the Lyndhurst Police Department on Tuesday, December 17th, after reports of a suspicious package were made by employees of the United States Postal Service. According James O’Conner, Chief of Police at the Lyndhurst Police Department, a Texas woman sent Violante a .22-caliber semiautomatic pistol after the two connected over Facebook. Violante reportedly requested the gun, claiming that he planned to use it to combat a recent rodent infestation in his residence.
Violante allegedly asked the woman to purchase the weapon and then ship it to him via mail, knowing that his previous felony conviction would prevent him from buying a handgun himself. This plan went awry when inspectors from the U.S. Postal Service identified the suspicious package. They subsequently notified the Lyndhurst Police Department of the package’s destination and officers from the department as well as detectives from the U.S. Postal Service waited to identify the ultimate recipient.
Upon signing for the package when he received it on December 17th, Violante was arrested and taken to the Bergen County Jail. He has been charged with multiple weapons offenses and his bail has been set at $20,000 bail, which does not include a 10 percent option.
Under the New Jersey State Criminal Code, it is considered a criminal offense for individuals previously convicted of certain offenses to possess weapons. Certain Persons Not to Have Weapons, often referred to as the “Certain Persons” statute, is codified under N.J.S.A. 2C:39-7, and includes convicted felons among the list of restricted individuals. A violation of this statute can be classified as either a second or fourth degree offense; however, if the “certain person” is in possession of a firearm, the charges are generally of the second degree.
Violante became a registered sex offender after being convicted of molestation charges against a young girl in Florida in 2003. This prior conviction subjects him to the restrictions provided by the “Certain Persons” statute. Further, Violante’s attempt to obtain a firearm may subject him to sentencing for a second-degree weapons charge, which is punishable by a term of incarceration ranging from 5 to 10 years in New Jersey State Prison.
For more information pertaining to this case, access the following article: Police: Lyndhurst sex offender, felon had Facebook friend send him gun