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What you need to know for 09/24/2017

'Career criminal' gets 15 years in gun sale

'Career criminal' gets 15 years in gun sale

Co-defendant to be sentenced later
'Career criminal' gets 15 years in gun sale
Jeffrey Hilts.
Photographer: Provided

SCHENECTADY — A "career criminal" received the maximum sentence possible for a 2015 gun sale Wednesday — 15 years in state prison, Schenectady County District Attorney's officials said.

Jeffrey Hilts, 52, was convicted in July of selling a gun to an undercover FBI informant in April 2015. 

His co-defendant, Kenny Walters, 34, was also convicted. He is to be sentenced later.

The convictions stem from an undercover gun buy from April 2015, prosecutors said. An FBI informant reported to his FBI handler that Hilts had offered to sell a .40-caliber semi-automatic handgun. 

The source went to Hilts' house on Paige Street in Schenectady and then Hilts and Walters showed him the gun. The gun was later determined to have been stolen out of Vermont, where Walters has ties. They negotiated a sale price of $800, prosecutors said.

The next day, the informant then purchased the gun from Walters at Hilts' house while the informant worked with the FBI, prosecutors and Schenectady police, prosecutors said

Both Hilts and Walters are members of the United Blood Nation, a sect of the Bloods street gang, prosecutors said. The conviction is Hilts' fourth and Walters' third.

Judge Matthew Sypniewski imposed the 15-year term.

"This career criminal and gun trafficker, who is well known to this office from past prosecutions and jury trials we have conducted, will return to prison thanks to the work of the FBI sponsored Safe Streets task force, which continues to perform valuable services to safeguard our community from people like Mr. Hilts," Schenectady County District Attorney Robert Carney said in a statement.

Carney cited FBI Special Agent Rich Cornelius, district attorney investigator Tony Brown and the trial team led by Brian Gray for their work in the case.

Attorney James Walsh represented Walters; Michael Mansion represented Hilts.

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