Frederick Co. executive: Sheriff can choose to stay on the job despite charges

Frederick County’s leader said it’s up to Sheriff Chuck Jenkins whether he continues to work, despite the U.S. Attorney for Maryland’s announcement that the five-term sheriff is facing federal charges connected to a scheme to illegally acquire machine guns.

Shortly after a federal grand jury handed up charges against 66-year-old Charles “Chuck” Jenkins, a department spokesman said, “He feels he can still support the role of Frederick County.”

In a statement, County Executive Jessica Fitzwater essentially responded by saying it’s Jenkin’s call whether to remain on the job, noting he’s an elected official, and neither she nor the county council play a “role in the operation of the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office beyond funding the division.”

Jenkins was re-elected sheriff last November, a role he has held since 2006.

The charging documents allege Jenkins conspired with Robert Krop, who owns the Machine Gun Nest shooting range, to falsify documents to buy guns for rent by Krop’s customers.

Between August 2015 and May 2022, prosecutors said the sheriff — at Krop’s request — wrote bogus letters on Frederick County Sheriff’s Office letterhead to gun dealers and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives falsely claiming the machine guns were to be used for demonstration and evaluation purposes for the sheriff’s office.

Krop released a video on Facebook after being charged with illegal possession of machine guns.

“I have hired the best legal defense in the state of Maryland. And we will not stop to protect our clients and the rights of every American to privacy and the Second Amendment. This fight is not going to be a quick one,” he said in part in the post.

Krop is in court for a hearing on April 13. Court records do not show when Jenkins’ next court date is scheduled.

Megan Cloherty

WTOP Investigative Reporter Megan Cloherty primarily covers breaking news, crime and courts.

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