When it comes to investigating illegal sales of firearms, the Federal agencies that you usually think would be involved are the ATF or the FBI. In a case from Indiana another Federal agency has gotten involved – the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
According to a story from WBEZ – Chicago Public Radio, three police officers in the Lake County, Indiana Sheriff’s Department are facing Federal indictment for selling full-auto firearms and laser aiming devices on the Internet. Some of these have been traced to crime scenes in Canada and Mississippi.
Lake County is situated in the northwest corner of Indiana and includes the cities of Gary and Hammond.
The three indicted officers are Edward Kabella, a patrol officer; Ronald Slusser, SWAT officer and firearms instructor; and former Deputy Chief Joseph Kumstar. They are alleged to have bought 74 full-auto firearms and 92 laser devices and then resold them.
The three officers purchased the H&K machine guns in the name of the sheriff’s department, since these types of guns can only be purchased by law enforcement agencies, according to the indictment.
The guns were shipped to the sheriff’s department in Crown Point and then removed to Slusser’s home. The barrels and additional parts from the machine guns were then removed and sold on the Internet.
The men are also facing charges that they understated their income from the sale of the guns and parts. The purchases all took place during the administration of then-Sheriff Roy Dominguez. He says he had no knowledge of it but that he knew that his chief deputy Joseph Kumstar had a side business selling firearms as an FFL.
One of the more interesting aspects of this story is not that crooked cops were selling firearms but who did the investigation into the case. It was the Food and Drug Administration.
“It’s unfortunate when persons in positions of trust allow their greed to cause them to disregard their oath to enforce the law and subsequently betray and endanger the public they serve,” said Dan Hensen, Special Agent in Charge of the Criminal Investigation’s Unit for the Food and Drug Administration’s office in Chicago. The FDA is involved in the investigation because laser devices fall under its jurisdiction.
As the picture above shows, the lasers in question appear to be higher-power military-grade lasers.