Former sheriff’s security guard sentenced to prison for illegal gun

Ignacio Pimentel

NEWARK, NJ — The Essex County Prosecutor’s Office announced on July 24 that Ignacio Pimentel, 43, of East Orange, a former Essex County Sheriff’s Office security guard, was sentenced to five years in state prison by Superior Court Judge Alfonse J. Cifelli for second-degree unlawful possession of a handgun.

Pimentel must serve one year before he is eligible for parole, according to Deputy Chief Assistant Prosecutor Walter J. Dirkin, who handled the case.

The charges arise from Pimentel’s employment as an armed security guard, where he led his employer to believe that he was licensed to carry a weapon when, in fact, he was not. On Sept. 1, 2017, at approximately 4:30 p.m., detectives acting on a tip went to the 700 block of Mt. Prospect Avenue in Newark, the location where Pimentel was working. There, he was seen exiting the building wearing a tactical bulletproof vest while in possession of .40-caliber Smith and Wesson handgun.

In addition to illegal possession of a handgun, Pimentel was also charged with carrying hollow-point ammunition and possession of heroin and cocaine. In May, he pleaded guilty to illegally possessing the handgun.

“This defendant violated the trust placed in him as an employee of the Essex County Sheriff’s Department. While he was not a sworn law enforcement officer, he held a position of perceived authority and abused that perception to perpetuate these crimes,” Dirkin said.

Pimentel has nine known criminal cases lodged against him but this is his first indictable conviction. He was admitted to pretrial intervention in 1997 for receiving stolen property.