State Dept. official indicted in arms case

September 21, 1990|By Kelly Gilbert | Kelly Gilbert,Evening Sun Staff

A State Department official who worked at U.S. embassies in Antigua and the Dominican Republic has been indicted in Baltimore on eight corruption charges tied to his alleged sales of guns and cars, money-laundering and misuse of his official position for profit.

The defendant, George R. Mitchell, 42, of the 3500 block of Menlo Drive, has been released on a $50,000 bond pending trial after an appearance this week before a magistrate in U.S. District Court in Baltimore.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory Welsh said Mitchell, the former regional security officer at the two embassies, has been relieved of those duties and now is working in an administrative job at the State Department in Washington.

The indictment was returned by a federal grand jury Sept. 13 and unsealed after Mitchell's arrest. The document charged the 14-year State Department veteran with:

* Making false statements to buy 37 .38-caliber and 9mm pistols without a license.

* Shipping 62 pistols to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, in violation of the Arms Export Control Act and without an export license.

* Stealing 1,000 rounds of ammunition from the State Department to supply his gun buyers.

* Using his official position for personal profit in a scheme to sell a variety of vehicles in the Dominican Republic.

* Sending or carrying more than $28,000 into the United States on three occasions in violation of federal customs reporting requirements and money-laundering statutes.

The indictment said Mitchell bought 37 of the weapons from Valley Police Supply, a licensed gun dealer on Harford Road. He allegedly told the dealer that he was authorized by the State Department to buy the weapons for a civilian security contractor at the embassy in Santo Domingo.

Welsh said Mitchell sold 50 of the pistols to the contractor and sold the other 12 to "private individuals" in Santo Domingo, all for profit.

Mitchell bought three four-wheel-drive vehicles and five used cars, had them shipped to the Dominican Republic and sold them there after using his State Department position to apply for exemptions from that country's customs duties, the prosecutor said.

Mitchell sold the four-wheel-drive vehicles to the embassy's security contractor and sold the five cars to other people in Santo Domingo, Welsh alleged.

The stolen ammunition was used to supply the security contractor and the private individuals to whom Mitchell sold the guns, Welsh said.

Civilian embassy security contractors are supposed to supply their own weapons, ammunition and vehicles, the prosecutor said.

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