Wendt is accused of utilizing the weapons, a few of which prosecutors say he obtained by way of a gun retailer that he additionally owns, for his personal private acquire. He bought a number of rifles to particular person patrons throughout the nation, charged patrons to fireside police division weapons in a public “machine gun shoot” he marketed on Fb and supposed to promote different firearms sooner or later, in accordance with the indictment. He’s additionally accused of mounting a heavy machine gun on high of his private automobile, a Humvee.
On Dec. 14, a federal grand jury charged Wendt and an affiliate, Robert Williams, with conspiracy to make false statements and defraud ATF. Wendt was additionally charged with unlawful possession of a machine gun.
“Brad Wendt is charged with exploiting his place as chief of police to unlawfully get hold of and promote weapons for his personal private revenue,” FBI agent Eugene Kowel mentioned in a Division of Justice news release.
Wendt “adamantly denies these expenses and can plead not responsible,” Nicholas Klinefeldt, Wendt’s legal professional, advised The Washington Publish.
Courtroom information don’t record an legal professional for Williams, who didn’t reply to an e-mail searching for remark. The Adair Police Division additionally didn’t reply to requests from The Publish.
In a statement to KCCI final week, Adair Metropolis Legal professional Clint Fichter mentioned not one of the alleged conduct concerned metropolis cash or oversight.
Wendt was positioned on paid depart after authorities searched his home, workplace and enterprise in August, the Des Moines Register reported. Klinefeldt mentioned Wendt was reinstated by the Adair Metropolis Council shortly afterward, however was positioned on paid depart once more on Friday. The town’s website, as of Tuesday evening, listed him as police chief.
Federal legal guidelines usually prohibit the sale, switch and possession of machine weapons manufactured after 1986 — except for these bought to legislation enforcement businesses for official use. Sure licensed sellers could, with a letter of request from a legislation enforcement company, purchase machine weapons solely to supply a weapons demonstration to these businesses.
Along with being Adair’s police chief, prosecutors say, Wendt owns and operates one such enterprise, BW Outfitters, that’s licensed to amass weapons for legislation enforcement businesses.
In complete, Wendt bought 10 weapons for his police division, tried to purchase 15 extra and requested the demonstration of 65 further firearms from varied licensed sellers, the indictment alleges. 13 of the weapons requested for demonstration have been allegedly obtained by his personal gun retailer. Twenty-seven extra have been acquired by different licensed sellers, whom prosecutors allege have been pals or enterprise associates of Wendt’s, together with Williams.
BW Outfitters didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark. State information nonetheless record Wendt because the registered agent of the enterprise.
In July 2021 and February 2022, Wendt allegedly bought 4 submachine weapons bought in 2020 and 2019 and registered to the Adair Police Division to patrons in Florida and Alabama. For promoting the 4 light-weight, totally computerized weapons, Wendt turned a private revenue of virtually $75,000, the indictment alleges.
Klinefeldt mentioned Wendt was reselling outdated Adair police weapons for market worth after buying newer fashions for the division.
In January 2021, Wendt signed an illustration request for a .50-caliber machine gun for “particular operations and high-risk prisoner transportation particulars” — regardless of Adair police not conducting such operations — that allowed a Las Vegas-based seller to amass the machine gun, the indictment alleges.
In April, Wendt is accused of internet hosting a “machine gun shoot” with Williams in western Iowa, the place he allegedly charged patrons to fireside weapons registered to or requested for the Adair Police Division. He charged $5 per spherical of ammunition for patrons to fireside the machine gun mounted on his Humvee, in accordance with the indictment.
In February, Wendt posted movies on his Fb web page of somebody firing a Humvee-mounted machine gun at two empty vehicles in a area and a lady at a spread firing a submachine gun — one which the indictment alleges is a police-registered firearm — with the caption “come shoot mp7 April sixteenth,” punctuated with a smiling emoji.
Klinefeldt mentioned Wendt didn’t revenue from the taking pictures occasion and charged patrons to recoup the price of ammunition fired, and that it’s authorized for gun sellers to make use of firearms that they acquired by way of demonstration requests from legislation enforcement, then retained of their stock.
Not all of Wendt’s requests have been authorized. In November 2020 and January 2021, he allegedly sought permission to buy a minigun, a robust six-barreled gun sometimes mounted on army helicopters that fires 3,000 rounds per minute, in accordance with the indictment.
Upon being turned down by a producer, he obtained a quote to have a minigun constructed from a second producer and, as police chief, requested an illustration of the gun by way of BW Outfitters, his personal enterprise, writing that the weapon was “appropriate for engagements and suppressive hearth,” in accordance with the indictment. The second request was rejected by ATF.
If convicted, Wendt faces a most time period of 10 years in jail, in accordance with the U.S. legal professional’s workplace. He’s due in court docket on Jan. 5.