Nova Scotia

Dartmouth man sentenced to 6 years for gun trafficking

A young man has been sentenced to six years in jail after admitting to a crime that is rarely seen in courts in the Halifax Regional Municipality.

Robert Coneita, 24, pleaded guilty to the charge

Robert Coneita, 24, was facing 22 charges in total, but the most serious was gun trafficking. He has pleaded guilty to all the charges against him between June 2010 and August 2012. (CBC)

A young man has been sentenced to six years in jail after admitting to a crime that is rarely seen in courts in the Halifax Regional Municipality.

Robert Coneita, 24, was facing 22 charges in total, but the most serious was gun trafficking. He has pleaded guilty to all the charges against him between June 2010 and August 2012.

Last August, Coneita broke into a house and stole jewelry, while he was there he spotted guns in a case in the basement of the home. The court heard that later, a drug dealer told Coneita to return to the house and steal the guns, in exchange for wiping some of Coneita's drug debt.

Coneita owed a dealer $1,000. The dealer took the four guns as payment for half that amount - just $500.

Victim traumatized

Also in the courtroom was David Leslie, the owner of the guns. He said he came for closure.

Leslie said his wife is distraught, too scared to leave her home after finding it trashed last summer.  

"It's a horrific feeling. They were in every drawer, every closet. They were in everything," he said.

In his victim impact statement, Leslie said he and his wife no longer feel safe.

"This invasion has made us nervous in our home where we have lived for 35 years," he said. They've now installed a security camera, which Leslie, a man in his 70s, struggles to afford on his fixed income.

His victim in another unrelated crime was also a senior.   

"He's terrorizing a number of people, but he's also terrorizing the elderly," said Crown Prosecutor Melanie Perry.

Perry said this is the first time she's seen a case of gun trafficking.

"The first offence for something like that is a minimum of 36 months — that's for someone who has no previous criminal record, which is certainly not the person we were dealing with today," she said.  

The weapons have been recovered, but the jewelry, which included Leslie's wedding gift to his wife 48 years ago, is gone.

Leslie said he's satisfied with the sentence. Coneita's lawyer said he is also satisfied.

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