A 76-year-old suspected mobster has pleaded guilty in a weapons and prescription drugs case that has revealed the FBI's belief that he has information about the largest art heist in history.
Robert Gentile, of Manchester, was in Hartford federal court on Wednesday.
According to court documents and statements made in court, Gentile in October and November 2011 conspired to distribute and distributed controlled substances, including OxyContin and Dilaudid.
He was arrested on Feb. 10. Police said they also found 200 Percocet tablets packaged for distribution, two .38 caliber Smith & Wesson revolvers, a .22 caliber North American Arms revolver, a .22 caliber derringer, a 12 gauge pistol-grip shotgun, numerous rounds of ammunition, boxes of 12 gauge shotgun shells, five handgun silencers, other items and approximately $22,000 in cash.
He is a previously convicted felon and, under federal law, it is illegal for a person with a previous felony conviction to possess any firearm or ammunition that has traveled in interstate or foreign commerce, according to federal authorities.
Gentile pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a Schedule II controlled substance, five counts of possession with intent to distribute a Schedule II controlled substance, one count of possession of firearms by a previously convicted felon, one count of possession of ammunition by a previously convicted felon, and one count of possession of unregistered silencers.
Sentencing is set for Feb. 6, 2013.
During a hearing in the case last March, a federal prosecutor disclosed that the FBI believes Gentile had some involvement with stolen property related to a 1990 heist at Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Thieves made off with masterworks by Rembrandt, Vermeer, Degas and Manet worth more than a half-billion dollars.
Gentile hasn't been charged in the art heist and his lawyer said his client knows nothing about it.