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TRENTON – Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa announced that a Newark man pleaded guilty today in connection with the sale of an assault rifle to an undercover State Police detective on the Garden State Parkway. The undercover purchase was made during an investigation conducted under the Attorney General’s initiative to fight gun trafficking and violence.

George C. Sutch, 27, of Newark, pleaded guilty to a second-degree charge of unlawful possession of an assault firearm before Superior Court Judge Douglas K. Wolfson in Middlesex County. In pleading guilty to the charge, which was contained in an October 2012 state grand jury indictment, Sutch admitted that he possessed a Ruger Mini-14 assault rifle. During an investigation by the New Jersey State Police, Sutch sold the assault rifle to an undercover detective for $450 at the Cheesequake Service Area on the Garden State Parkway in Sayreville on July 13, 2012. Under the plea agreement, the state will recommend that Sutch be sentenced to five years in state prison, including three years of parole ineligibility. His sentencing is scheduled for May 13.

During the investigation by the State Police, Sutch also sold a .25-caliber handgun to the undercover detective for $100 at Deer Head Lake in Lacey Township on July 18, 2012. The other charges in the indictment, including the charges related to that gun, are being dismissed.

Deputy Attorney General Erik Daab prosecuted Sutch and took the guilty plea for the Division of Criminal Justice Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau.

Sutch is one of 57 defendants indicted last year in an initiative launched by Attorney General Chiesa in which the Division of Criminal Justice and the New Jersey State Police are aggressively targeting gun violence through strategic investigations focused on seizing existing weapons in violent areas, disrupting weapons trafficking into those areas, and aggressively prosecuting criminals involved in the illegal sale and possession of weapons. Most of the defendants are subject to the strict penalties applicable to Graves Act gun convictions, requiring mandatory periods of parole ineligibility of up to five years. Last year, the State Police Intelligence Section more than doubled the number of detectives assigned specifically to weapons trafficking, forming new Weapons Trafficking North and South Units and tripling annual gun seizures by the section.