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Maryland Sheriff Charged in Scheme to Fraudulently Obtain Machine Guns

by Kaden Gicker

Frederick County Sheriff Charles “Chuck” Austin Jenkins, 66, was charged with conspiracy to commit fraud against the government, false statements during the purchase of firearms, false statements in records maintained by a federal licensee, false statements to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (“ATF”), and conspiracy to interfere with a government function and to violate federal law regulating machine guns.

Jenkins is accused of collaborating with a political supporter, Robert Justin Krop, 36, the owner of “The Machine Gun Nest,” to improperly secure machine guns from third parties by lying to the ATF for personal profit and political support from Krop.

Law & Crime reported on April 6, 2023, that the scheme began in August 2015 and ran until May 2022. Jenkins used the letterhead of his office to file requests with manufacturers and licensed machine gun dealers to purchase machine guns for ostensible use in demonstrations to law enforcement. Instead, Jenkins rented out the guns to Krop, who took the weapons for use at his store, where he allowed private citizens to rent them. Krop reportedly earned over $100,000 from the venture, which was acquired through lies conveyed over official letterhead.

Despite the fraudulent nature of the venture, Krop drafted the language for Jenkins to use in the fraudulent requests to gun manufacturers. In May 2022, Krop reiterated his political support for Jenkins in an email exchange.

Krop was charged with knowing unlawful possession of a FN M249 SAW, a FN Herstal SCAR 16 CQC, a FN Herstal SCAR 17, a Remington ACR, a FN P90 Tactical, a KRISS USA Vector SMG, and a FN Herstal SCAR 16.

If convicted, both Jenkins and Krop could face up to 5 years in prison on the charges they have in common. Krop could face up to 10 additional years in prison for the other charges he was handed.

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