Former North Dakota police chief indicted by US Attorney in Maryland

(Baltimore, MD) – A former North Dakota police chief has been charged with conspiracy to illegally acquire machineguns and other regulated firearms. The announcement was made by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District of Maryland on Friday.

The indictment alleges that, beginning in at least June 2018 and through at least March 2021, the defendants, including former Ray, N.D. police chief James Sawyer, age 50, “conspired to acquire machine guns and/or other restricted firearms by falsely representing that the firearms would be used for demonstration to law enforcement agencies.”

These law enforcement agencies included the Ray Police Department.

The indictment goes on to say Sawyer and the other conspirators signed law letters “with no expectation that the weapons would ever be demonstrated to their respective law enforcement agencies.”

“The defendants allegedly intended to impermissibly import into the United States and resell the machineguns and other firearms for profit or to keep for their own use and enjoyment,” a news release from the Maryland US Attorney’s Office read.

If convicted, Sawyer faces a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison for conspiracy to violate federal law regulating firearms and for each count of false statements related to submission of a law letter.

Sawyer has yet to make an initial appearance but is expected to at a later date before the U.S. District Court in Baltimore.