Maryland Sheriff Charged With Illegal Gun Rentals
A Maryland sheriff has repeatedly lied to federal authorities to help a local gun dealer illegally procure machine guns and rent them to his customers, creating a partnership that was profitable and politically beneficial, according to an indictment filed last week Federal grand jury emerges.
Frederick County Sheriff Charles “Chuck” Jenkins pleaded not guilty to multiple charges Wednesday, including conspiracy and making false statements to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
After initially promising to remain in office during the trial, Jenkins said Wednesday he would take a leave of absence.
“I have complete faith in the system and I know my innocence will prevail in the end,” Jenkins said in a statement released by the agency.
He was released pending trial on several conditions, including not possessing firearms or other dangerous weapons.
Federal law generally prohibits gun dealers from importing machine guns unless used as demonstration models for law enforcement agencies who can legally purchase such guns. But for dealers to take advantage of this exception, the interested law enforcement agency must send a letter to ATF requesting a sample of the machine gun they wish to purchase.
According to the indictment, Jenkins wrote such letters on behalf of his co-defendant Robert Krop, whose Frederick County shop The Machine Gun Nest offered machine guns for hire. In 2018 and 2019 alone, the company made more than $100,000 in profits from the rentals, according to the indictment.
According to federal prosecutors, Krop Jenkins offered political support in exchange for the favor.
In several letters from 2015, Jenkins falsely claimed that the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office wanted samples of various machine gun models, according to the indictment. The applications were approved, allowing Krop’s shop to receive the guns.
In a 2018 letter, Jenkins requested machine gun models “fit for combat use only,” not for law enforcement purposes, the indictment said.
Jenkins was first elected sheriff of the largely rural county in 2006. He began his career with the agency in 1990.