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Baltimore County officer facing indictment for allegedly seeking and accepting bribes in exchange for handgun licenses

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Posted at 8:10 PM, Oct 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-26 20:10:00-04

BALTIMORE — A Baltimore County officer is facing federal indictment for allegedly seeking and accepting bribes in exchange for falsely certifying that applicants for Maryland handgun qualifying licenses (HQL) and wear and carry permits (CCW) had completed required training.

In order to purchase, rent, or receive a handgun in Maryland, residents must have a handgun qualification license (HQL). Similarly, to obtain a license to wear and carry a firearm, residents must have completed the Maryland State Police (MSP) firearms training course within two years of submitting a new or renewal application among other requirements.

According to the indictment, from May 2019 through September 2021, 32-year-old William R. Johnson, Jr. solicited and accepted bribes and kickbacks, paid services like Venmo, CashApp and Zelle, from people seeking HQLs and CCWs in exchange for the certification to the Maryland State Police that the applicant had completed the required training.

Johnson, who joined the Baltimore County Police Department in August 2008, became a narcotics detective on February 18, 2014. He obtained a qualified handgun instructor certificate (QHIC) from the Maryland State Police on April 29, 2019.

According to the indictment, since April 2019, Johnson has certified at least 100 applicants for handgun qualification licenses and at least 45 for wear and carry permits.

If convicted, Johnson faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison for each of six-counts of honest services wire fraud.