Frederick County Sheriff indicted for scheme to illegally acquire machine guns

Frederick County Sheriff Charles Jenkins has been indicted in a scheme to illegally acquire machine guns along with the owner and operator of a firearms-related business in the county.

Despite being charged with federal crimes, Sheriff Jenkins has no plans to step down and will continue to lead the department. 

Charles Austin Jenkins, age 66, of Thurmont, Maryland, and Robert Justin Krop, age 36, of Frederick, Maryland, have been indicted and charged with conspiracy and false statements in order to acquire machineguns. Krop is also charged with illegal possession of machineguns.

Jenkins has been the Sheriff of Frederick County since his election in 2006 and was most recently re-elected in 2022. Krop is the principal owner and operator of firearms-related businesses in Frederick County.

As detailed in the indictment, Krop and his businesses held up to two Federal Firearms Licenses ("FFLs") that allowed Krop and the business, under certain circumstances, to possess and deal in machine guns.


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The six-count indictment alleges that from August 2015 to May 2022, Jenkins and Krop conspired to unlawfully purchase machine guns and 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.

Krop allegedly drafted these documents for Jenkins’ signature. According to the indictment, Jenkins and Krop knew that there would not be a demonstration of the machine guns to the Sheriff’s Office and that the machine guns were intended for rental to Krop’s customers.

Krop also allegedly illegally possessed seven machineguns. The indictment further alleges that Krop’s business offered political support to Jenkins in recognition of his support for the business.

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

In a statement, Sheriff Jenkins said, "I have been in constant communication with the DOJ and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) for over a year and have been 100% cooperative throughout the course of this investigation. At the advice of my attorney and out of respect for the justice process, I am not providing any comment at this time.

"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 they are."

No court appearance is scheduled for the defendants at this time. Read the full indictment here.