Newark man first to be convicted with new first-degree gun law



Alexis Canadas
Alexis Canadas

NEWARK, NJ — Following a trial before Superior Court judge John I. Gozzo, on Tuesday, Feb. 16, Alexis Canadas, 36, of Newark, was convicted of first-degree unlawful possession of weapon by a convicted felon, according to a newly enacted law which imposes stiffer penalties on repeat offenders.

According to the new law, which was passed in August 2013, Canadas is facing life in New Jersey state prison when he is sentenced on Friday, April 8.

In addition to the first-degree offense, Canadas, a reputed ranking member of the Sex, Money, Murder sect of the Bloods gang, was also convicted of second-degree unlawful possession of a weapon, second-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose and the fourth-degree offense of defacing a firearm.

Assistant Prosecutor Timothy Lanni, who tried the case, said the conviction is believed to be the first under the new tougher law.

“This is what the Legislature intended when the law was changed. The purpose was to keep repeat, violent offenders off the streets. Canadas is looking at a very, very long time in state prison which is appropriate given these most recent convictions and his prior convictions,’’ said Lanni.

Canadas has 16 prior felony convictions, including three aggravated assaults for shootings and multiple drug possession and distribution offenses.

The most recent conviction arises from an incident that occurred on Aug. 16, 2014. Canadas was stopped in a silver Acura on Park Avenue in Newark. One officer saw a silver handgun on the floor of the driver’s seat as she approached the vehicle. Canadas was arrested and charged with unlawful possession of a weapon and related offenses.

Canadas is currently in the Essex County correctional facility.