A Maryland Sheriff, who had taken a leave after being indicted on federal charges in April for an alleged scheme of purchasing machine guns illegally announced Monday that he would be returning to his position.
Frederick County Sherriff Chuck Jenkins sent an official memo to Frederick County executive Jessica Fitzwater, and to the members of county council to inform them that he will be returning to his full duty.
Jenkins announced that “I am ending my administrative leave immediately. It began on April 14th, 2023. This is in accordance with my letter of April 13th, 2023.” I will resume my full duties as the head of the agency, including management and oversight for day-to-day activities and all administrative and signing responsibilities. Please send all future correspondence my way.”
The U.S. Department of Justice announced on April 5 that Jenkins and Maryland firearms seller Justin Krop conspired between August 2015 and may 2022 to buy machine guns illegally.
Krop was in possession of two machine gun licenses, which allowed him to sell and possess them under certain conditions. However, he is accused of illegally owning seven machine guns.
Both men were charged with falsifying Frederick County Sheriff’s Office documentation requesting machine guns to be evaluated and demonstrated. According to the DOJ both men falsified documents knowing that the guns would never be evaluated or tested.
Documents were used, according to the DOJ, to rent guns for Krop’s clients. The DOJ says that Krop wrote the documents, and Jenkins signed them in order to gain political support from Krop’s customers.
Jenkins was charged on April 12 and pleaded guilty to none of the charges.
FOX 5 Washington, D.C. reported that the sheriff’s attorneys filed a motion separating his trial from Krop’s because Krop wanted a trial by the end of the summer.
The defense of the sheriff told the prosecutor that they didn’t have time to prepare for their case in this timeframe.
Jenkin’s defence also feared that his case would be prejudged if both were tried together, because Jenkins had “never received any value for his alleged role in this conspiracies – no money, rentals or political contributions. Jenkins never received anything at all.” Jenkins, they said, was not found to be in possession of illegal weapons like Krop.
Jenkins announced on Monday that he had decided it was the right time to resume all of his responsibilities as Sheriff for Frederick County.
He said, “The leave was self-imposed. There is no reason to not return to full duties at this time.” “My duties as head of the agency include managing the day-today operations, performing all administrative and managerial functions, and signing documents.
He added, “As a quick reminder, the Office of the Sheriff was the only law-enforcement officer that is mentioned in the state constitution. It is also the county’s chief law enforcement office.” Maryland’s Constitution calls for an appointed Sheriff in each county. “As it stands, I’m still the elected sheriff of Frederick County and the only law enforcement official directly accountable to voters.”
Jenkin announced in April on the Facebook page of the sheriff’s office that he would be taking a leave until the end of the legal process.
He said, “I have complete confidence in the system. I know that at the end of it all, my innocence will prevail and that I will not be found guilty.”
While Jenkins was on leave, Chief Deputy David Benjamin of the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office assumed Jenkins’ duties.
Jenkins and Krop could face 25 years of federal prison time if they are convicted. Krop, in addition to 25 years of prison time, could also face 10 more years of imprisonment for unlawful possession a machinegun.