Federal prosecutors have indicted a sheriff and a firearms dealer in Frederick County, Maryland, for their involvement in a scheme to illegally acquire machine guns for rental.
Charles Austin Jenkins, 66, and Robert Justin Krop, 36, have been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of conspiracy and false statements to acquire machine guns, according to the US Department of Justice. Among the charges against Krop are illegal possession of seven machine guns.
According to the indictment, Krop is authorized to possess and deal in machine guns under special circumstances, which includes demonstrating them to potential law enforcement buyers.
According to the indictment, Jenkins and Krop conspired between August 2015 and May 2022 to unlawfully acquire machine guns by forging documents on the letterhead of the sheriff's office requesting evaluations and demonstrations.
Rather than using the guns for demonstrations, however, the pair intended to rent them to Krop's customers to boost his business.
They drafted the false paperwork for Jenkins to sign, and then they sent it to licensed dealers, importers and manufacturers, along with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, pretending the guns were for demonstrations to law enforcement, according to the indictment.
“The indictment further alleges that Krop’s business offered political support to Jenkins in recognition of his support for the business,” the DOJ stated in its release. Jenkins was reelected in 2022 after serving as sheriff since 2006. Todd Wivell, a spokesperson for the sheriff's office, said Jenkins remains in his position as sheriff.
Wivell read a statement on Jenkins' behalf which stated in part, “I have been in constant communication with the DOJ and the ATF for over a year and have been 100% cooperative throughout the course of this investigation.”
If convicted, the two could be sentenced to five years in federal prison, and Krop could face a maximum of 10 years behind bars.
Law enforcement like Charles Jenkins recklessly abuses their power with impunity because they know we live in a system that won't hold them accountable for their crimes. #AbolitionNow