March 29, 2010

Montgomery officers' gun purchases are subject of federal probe

A Montgomery County tuition-assistance program that allowed police and other law enforcement officials to purchase sharply discounted firearms for their own use has prompted a federal investigation, a senior county official said Thursday. There is "now an ongoing criminal investigation related to this program," said Timothy L. Firestine, Montgomery's chief administrative officer. County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) said federal authorities have shown interest in the gun transactions and how the firearms were valued.

Firestine discussed the investigation at a contentious session Thursday before members of the Montgomery County Council, who met to discuss a county inspector general's report. The report found that lax oversight had allowed 216 Montgomery law enforcement employees to purchase rifles or Glock semiautomatic pistols after taking expensive training classes paid for with county tuition-assistance money. Officers would pay $99 for a pistol that retailed for more than $500, and $350 for a rifle that retailed for more than $700, reported the inspector general, Thomas Dagley. Federal investigators appear to be interested in county police officer Aaron Bailey.

Charles Rand, Bailey's attorney, said his client received three federal subpoenas requesting information on companies that Bailey ran that were involved in firearms training. All three subpoenas indicated that the FBI was involved and sought corporate records and data, which were delivered to the U.S. attorney's office in Greenbelt in January, Rand said.

SOURCEWashington Post

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