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Vice mayor of small Western Maryland town faces federal firearms charges

The vice mayor of a small Western Maryland town is facing federal firearms charges, authorities said.

An indictment unsealed last week charges Jacob Martz, 41, with possession of a firearm by a prohibited person and possession of a machine gun in connection with 16 firearms and multiple machine-gun conversion devices found at his home, according to a U.S. Attorney’s Office news release.

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The indictment alleges that Martz knew he was prohibited from possessing firearms due to previous felony firearms convictions, but he had 16 guns and about 5,200 rounds of ammunition on Oct. 6. It also alleges that he possessed devices used to convert AR-15-style rifles into machine guns, officials said.

Martz, the vice mayor of Sharpsburg in Washington County, turned himself in Thursday and pleaded not guilty at an arraignment in U.S. District Court in Baltimore, defense attorney David W. Fischer told The Herald-Mail.

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“We intend to vigorously defend against these allegations,” Fischer said.

U.S. Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Marcia Murphy said information about the investigation and what led to the charges wouldn’t be made public. Martz was released to his residence, she said.

Martz faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison on each charge, although sentences are typically less than the maximum, officials said.

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