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Press Release

Former Taneytown Police Chief Pleads Guilty to Illegal Transfer and Possession of a Machine Gun

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Maryland

Baltimore, Maryland – William E. Tyler, age 55, of Fairfield, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty today to the illegal transfer and possession of a machine gun.  Tyler is the former Chief of Police in Taneytown, Maryland.   

The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur; Special Agent in Charge Gordon B. Johnson of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office; and Special Agent in Charge Rob Cekada of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Baltimore Field Division.

According to his guilty plea, in 2017 Tyler transferred two machine guns owned by and registered to the Taneytown Police Department to himself and another officer, for their personal use.  Tyler did not attempt to report the transfer of the machine guns to the ATF’s National Firearms Act (NFA) Division, which is responsible for maintaining registration and transfer information about all NFA weapons in accordance with federal law. 

On January 15, 2019, law enforcement executed search warrants at the residences of Tyler and the officer and recovered the machine guns.  Tyler was interviewed by the FBI and ATF, and was warned that it is a crime to make a materially false statement or representation to federal agents.  Despite the warning, Tyler lied when he told agents that he had never fired the .223-caliber machine gun and did not know it was automatic, when in fact he had fired the weapon.

As a result of his guilty plea, Tyler must forfeit assets obtained as a result of, or used to facilitate the commission of his illegal activities, including the two .223-caliber machine guns.

Tyler faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.  U.S. District Judge Ellen L. Hollander has scheduled sentencing for June 14, 2019 at 2:00 p.m.

United States Attorney Robert K. Hur commended the FBI and ATF for their work in the investigation.  Mr. Hur thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Derek E. Hines and Leo J. Wise, who are prosecuting the case.

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Marcia Murphy
(410) 209-4854

Updated February 12, 2019

Firearms Offenses
Public Corruption