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Former Taneytown police chief federally charged with transferring, possessing machine guns

Former Taneytown police chief federally charged with transferring, possessing machine guns
Former Taneytown Police Chief William Tyler on Monday, Feb. 4, 2019, was charged with illegally possessing and transporting machine guns, weeks after federal agents searched the police department, Tyler's residence in Fairfield, Pennsylvania and another residence in a town. (Courtesy Photo)

The U.S. Attorney’s Office has charged former Taneytown police Chief William Tyler with transferring and possessing machine guns, according to court records.

In charges filed Monday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office states that Tyler possessed and transferred two Ruger .223 caliber, model KAC556 machine guns between Nov. 8, 2017, and Jan. 15, electronic court records show.

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An initial appearance and arraignment has been scheduled for Feb. 12 at 2 p.m. in Courtroom 5B before U.S. District Judge Ellen L. Hollander, according to Marcia Murphy, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

According to Cornell Law School’s Legal Information Institute, U.S. Law prohibits any person — other than licensed importers, manufacturers, dealers or collectors — from transporting between states a machine gun, among other weapons.

Machine guns are automatic weapons that shoot multiple bullets with a single pull of the trigger, as defined by U.S. Law.

Tyler will forfeit the machine guns and any ammunition contained within as part of any sentence he receives, court records show.

Taneytown’s Acting City Manager Jim Wieprecht had no comment when reached by the Times Monday evening, having just been made aware of the charges.

Agents from the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives on Jan. 15 executed a search warrant at the Police Department, Tyler’s residence in Fairfield, Pennsylvania, and another residence in Fairfield.

FBI activity was also reported Jan. 15 on Mile Trail in Fairfield. Taneytown police Sgt. Brian Jestes lives on Mile Trail, according to the Adams County Tax Services Department.

Tyler and another officer, whom Taneytown Mayor Jim McCarron identified as a sergeant in the department in his “Mayor’s Message” in the city’s most recent newsletter, were placed on administrative leave immediately after agents executed the search warrants Jan. 15.

Taneytown accepted Tyler’s resignation Jan. 30.

Lt. Jason Etzler assumed command of the Police Department after Tyler was placed on leave, and he will continue to lead the department on an interim basis. Wieprecht previously told the Times that city officials are still developing a plan for replacing Tyler.

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