Maryland sheriff, gun shop owner indicted for machine gun rental scheme

Maryland sheriff, gun shop owner indicted for machine gun rental scheme

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A Maryland sheriff who has held office since 2006 and a gun shop owner were indicted on charges of conspiracy and false statements in order to acquire and rent machine guns, federal officials announced on Wednesday. 

Sheriff Charles Austin Jenkins, 66, and businessman Robert Justin Krop, 36, both of Maryland, were indicted by a federal grand jury. The charges were announced by Erek L. Barron, the United States Attorney for the District of Maryland, and Toni M. Crosby, the special agent in charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Baltimore Field Division.

The six-count indictment alleges that from August 2015 to May 2022, Jenkins and Krop “conspired to unlawfully purchase” machine guns and falsified documents on Frederick County Sheriff’s Office letterhead to request the machine guns for “evaluation and demonstration” by the office. Krop drafted these documents for Jenkins to sign, the indictment alleges. 

Krop is the principal owner and operator of firearms-related businesses in Frederick County, where Jenkins is the sheriff. Krop’s businesses allowed him to possess and deal in machine guns. Jenkins and Krop allegedly rented the machine guns to paying customers. The indictment also alleges that Krop illegally possessed seven machine guns and that his business offered Jenkins political support. 

A call to Jenkins’ phone, as listed on the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office website, was not answered. A public information officer for the sheriff’s office said there would be a press conference addressing the indictment Wednesday afternoon.  

If convicted, Jenkins and Krop face a maximum sentence of five years in prison for conspiracy, false statements in records maintained by a federal firearms licensee, and for false statements to federal law enforcement. Krop could also face a maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison for unlawful possession of machine guns. 

No court date is scheduled for Jenkins or Krop at this time, federal officials said. 

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