Seven Years in Prison for Union County Gun Trafficker

Morristown Minute

A Union County, New Jersey, man was sentenced Wednesday, May 25, to 84 months in prison for trafficking guns throughout Elizabeth, NJ.

U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced Wednesday, May 25, that Mark Hernandez, aka “Skrap,” 26, of Rahway, NJ, was sentenced to 84 months in prison for gun trafficking offenses.

Hernandez had previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to unlawfully deal in firearms, unlawfully dealing in firearms, and possession of firearms and ammunition by a convicted felon.

The details of the case are as follows:

From December 2019 through June 2020, Hernandez and his conspirators, Clifford Behler, 43, and Francis Zyla, 56, unlawfully distributed more than two dozen guns – including shotguns, rifles, and weapons capable of accepting large-capacity magazines (e.g. AR-15) – in and around Elizabeth, New Jersey.

Hernandez illegally obtained several of those weapons and supplied them to his conspirators for redistribution.

Hernandez had been previously convicted of unlawful possession of a handgun in New Jersey and was prohibited from possessing firearms and ammunition under federal law.

In addition to the prison term of 84 months, Hernandez was sentenced to three years of supervised release.

Behler previously pleaded guilty to three counts of narcotics and firearms offenses and was sentenced to a 60-month prison sentence in December 2021. The case against Zyla is still pending.

“In July 2021 the U.S. Department of Justice launched five cross-jurisdictional strike forces to help reduce gun violence by disrupting illegal firearms trafficking in key regions across the country. Leveraging existing resources, the regional strike forces will better ensure sustained and focused coordination across jurisdictions and help stem the supply of illegally trafficked firearms from source cities, through other communities, and into five key market regions: New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area/Sacramento Region and Washington, D.C. According to gun trace data, a significant number of firearms recovered in the New York/northern New Jersey area originate from outside the area. The new strike force will help ensure sustained and focused coordination between law enforcement and prosecutors in the New York/northern New Jersey area with their counterparts in those other locations.” – U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of New Jersey.

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