An ex-police officer was sentenced today after pleading guilty to weapons charges stemming from a 2009 investigation that uncovered a massive weapons cache at his home.

Brian Hinkel (NJ Office of Attorney General)

Former Vineland police officer Brian Hinkel, 62, of Newfield was sentenced to five years for his crimes, according to NJ's Attorney General Jeff Chiesa.

Hinkel pleaded guilty in February, 2012 to four counts of third-degree possession of an assault rifle and 21 counts of fourth-degree possession of a prohibited device, which were identified as large-capacity ammunition magazines.

The charges stemmed from an investigation launched in 2009 when officers who went to Hinkel's home on an unrelated matter noticed many firearms in plain sight.

Authorities then executed a search warrant for the home where they discovered 258 guns, including illegal assault rifles, the prosecutor's office says.

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