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Taneytown police chief pleads guilty to illegally possessing, transferring machine guns

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Posted at 5:07 PM, Feb 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-13 07:44:06-05

BALTIMORE — William E. Tyler pleaded guilty in federal court in Baltimore Tuesday to the illegal transfer and possession of machine guns while he was the Chief of Police in Taneytown.

Tyler transferred two machine guns that were owned by and registered to the Taneytown Police Department to himself and another officer, according to his plea. Tyler did not attempt to report the transfer. Federal law required Tyler to report to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives such transfers of weapons regulated by the National Firearms Act, which applies to machine guns.

A search warrants executed on Jan. 15 at Tyler’s house, and the home of the other officer, produced the two machine guns. Under questioning from the FBI and ATF, Tyler lied and said he had never fired the .223-caliber machine gun and did not know it was a fully automatic weapon, despite Tyler knowing giving false statements to the federal officials was a crime.

Tyler was placed on administrative leave on Jan. 17. He resigned from his position at the helm of the Taneytown police force on Jan. 31. He was formally charged on Feb. 4

“Tyler forfeits assets obtained as a result of, or used to facilitate the commission of his illegal activities,” a statement from the United States Attorney for the District of Maryland said.

Tyler faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison when he his sentenced on June 14.