NEW YORK - An NYPD cop from Long Island who stole and sold guns from his Ninth Precinct station house to support a prescription drug habit was sentenced to 15 1/2 years in prison Wednesday in Manhattan Supreme Court.

Nicholas Mina, 32, sat silently with his hands cuffed behind his back during the sentencing, but his attorney said Mina was driven to betray his badge by getting hooked on Vicodin and Percocet prescribed to deal with pain from a line-of-duty car accident.

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"Mr. Mina's case reflects the fact that the scourge of prescription drugs needs to be addressed by legislative action," said defense attorney Robert T. Gallo. "If it can happen to him, it can happen to anyone."

Judge Edward McLaughlin credited Mina for taking responsibility for what he had done, but said he couldn't ignore the fact that another cop could have been killed by one of the guns Mina sold to his drug dealer.

The judge said the NYPD's patrolmen's union had negotiated provisions that protected the jobs of cops who needed to get treatment for drug habits, providing a legal path for Mina to deal with his addiction.

Mina, a three-year NYPD veteran, lived in Queens before his arrest, but listed his voter registration at his parents' home in West Babylon.

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He pleaded guilty to selling five handguns taken from the Ninth Precinct in the East Village and to drug sale charges.