Dec 09, 2023

Frederick County sheriff and gun dealer allegedly conspired to acquire machine guns

By CBS Baltimore Staff

April 5, 2023 / 11:04 PM / CBS Baltimore

BALTIMORE -- Frederick County's sheriff is facing charges of conspiracy and making false statements in an effort to acquire machine guns, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office of the District of Maryland.

Charles Jenkins, 66, has been the sheriff of Frederick County for over 15 years.

He was first elected to the position in 2006 and most recently re-elected in 2022, state officials said.

Robert Krop, 36, was charged alongside Jenkins for illegally possessing machine guns, according to authorities.

Krop is the principal owner and operator of a firearms-related business in Frederick County, state officials said.

He had two federal firearms licenses, which allowed him and the business to possess and deal in machine guns under certain circumstances, according to authorities.

Charging documents show that Krops was doing business as "The Machine Gun Next."

Federal investigators allege that Jenkins and Krop conspired to unlawfully purchase machine guns and "defraud the United States."

The two men allegedly aimed to defraud "namely the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, an agency of the United States, by interfering with and obstructing the lawful government functions of the ATF to limit the purchase, sale, transfer, and importation of machineguns for purchase by or demonstration for military and law enforcement agencies," according to the charging documents.

The conspiracy began in or before August 2015 and continued through May 2022, according to the charging documents.

The two men allegedly falsified multiple documents on the Frederick County Sheriff's Office letterhead requesting machine guns for evaluation and demonstration to the Frederick County Sheriff's Office, state officials said.

Krops reportedly drafted the documents for Jenkins to sign, according to authorities.

There was an understanding between the two men that they would not demonstrate the machine guns for the Frederick County Sheriff's Office. Instead, the machine guns were used by Krop as rental guns for his business customers, state officials said.

Additionally, Krop is believed to possess several of the guns.

The duo allegedly traded support for Krop's business in exchange for political support for Jenkins, according to authorities.

If convicted of their alleged crimes, then Jenkins and Krop will face a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison each for the conspiracy, for false statements in records maintained by a federal firearms licensee, and for false statements to federal law enforcement, state officials said.

Krop also faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison for the unlawful possession of a machine gun, according to authorities.

No court appearance has been scheduled for Jenkins or Krop at this time, state officials said.

Jenkins intends to continue serving as the Frederick County sheriff, according to a spokesman for the sheriff's office.

"I will continue to serve as your sheriff as this process plays out and fully expect my deputies, correctional officers, and staff to remain the true professionals that they are," the spokesperson said.

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First published on April 5, 2023 / 4:44 PM

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