Hunt shop owner among 3 indicted in conspiracy to sell machine guns CECIL COUNTY

April 02, 1993|By Norris P. West | Norris P. West,Staff Writer

A federal grand jury has indicted the owner of a Cecil County hunting shop and two other men on charges of conspiring to sell four machine guns to an undercover agent.

The grand jury in U.S. District Court in Baltimore handed up a nine-count indictment against James G. Hardesty, 54, who owns Tri-State Black Powder and Hunting Supplies in North East.

Edward G. Miller, 33, of Elkton was charged in three counts of the indictment with conspiracy and unlawful transfer of machine guns, and Terry L. Caron, 33, of North East was charged in two counts.

The three men appeared at a hearing Wednesday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul M. Rosenberg, who ordered them detained pending a detention hearing today.

The indictment papers, unsealed Tuesday, say that Mr. Hardesty met Dec. 4 with undercover Special Agent Brandt Schenken, of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, to discuss the sale of an automatic Sten Mark II 9-mm machine gun.

Court papers say that five days later the undercover agent pai$550 to Mr. Hardesty for the machine gun, which was delivered by Mr. Miller.

The next day Mr. Hardesty told the agent that his source was Terry Caron, and that Mr. Caron would be able to provide at least one more machine gun, court papers say.

On Jan. 25, the agent bought three Sten machine guns from Mr. Hardesty for $550 each, court papers say. Mr. Miller and Mr. Caron are charged with delivering the weapons to Mr. Hardesty for sale.

It is illegal to possess or sell machine guns in the United States without a federal firearms tax stamp.

Mr. Hardesty is also charged with selling five other weapons to the undercover agent in a series of transactions beginning April 1, 1992. Those sales involved two revolvers, an Uzi weapon and two other semiautomatic guns. Three counts in the indictment charge him with failing to record the sale of those weapons.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter M. Semel said three more machine guns were recovered during a search Tuesday at Mr. Hardesty's business.

"We're still trying to determine what the scope of the conspiracy was," said Mr. Semel. He said the shop owner had an ATF license to sell rifles but not a Maryland license permitting him to sell handguns.

Mr. Hardesty, in requesting a court-appointed attorney, told the judge that his business has not taken in any money since hunting season ended in January.

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