Former Bel Aire police chief indicted in firearms scheme

Bel Aire Police Department (KSN File Photo)

WICHITA, Kansas – A former chief of the Bel Aire Police Department and a former officer were indicted Tuesday on federal firearms charges. The indictment alleges they conspired to buy firearms at a discount by claiming the weapons were the property of the police department and would be used for law enforcement purposes.

Sedgwick County Sheriff Jeff Easter says it was a personal call he received from a law enforcement officer that sparked the investigation involving four Bel Air Police officers.

“Approximately a year ago we received a complaint in reference to this particular investigation,” said Sheriff Easter.

Easter says the Sedgwick County Sheriffs Office partnered with the Department of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms in a year long investigation.

“After the investigation was completed we took our findings to the U.S. Attorney’s office where at that point they conducted a grand jury,” said Sheriff Easter.

Former police chief John R. Daily, 62, Haysville, and Ricky L. Swanson, 39, Wichita, are the third and fourth defendants charged in the case.

Also charged in the case are Nathan A. Mavia, 26, Wichita, and Robert McCaslin, 41, Wichita.

In the indictment, Mavia, Swanson and Chief Daily were charged with wire and mail fraud.

The indictment says they devised a scheme and artiface to defraud.

According to federal prosecutors, the officers lied and said the weapons were police department property, in order to get discounted pricing and tax exemptions.

The grand jury also charged McCaslin with knowingly and willfully making a materially false, fictitious and fraudulent statement to federal investigators.

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Click to read indictment

The indictment alleges Daily, who was chief from May 2006 to December 2013, signed paperwork for the purchase of three Sig Sauer Model 716 Patrol, 7.62 mm rifles, falsely stating that the military style weapons were being purchased for use by the police department and would not be sold. In fact, the rifles were not approved for officers to carry on duty. By misrepresenting the rifles as police department property, the defendants were able to take advantage of special pricing and tax exemptions.

The indictment alleges Swanson, who worked as an officer from November 2006 to December 2013, ignored an interim police chief’s directions to cancel the order. Instead he directed two of the rifles to be delivered to another location so he could take possession. He kept one of the rifles and sold the other one.

If convicted, all four officers face a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000 on each count.

Sig Sauer SIG716 Patrol rifle (Photo courtesy SigSauer.com)
Sig Sauer SIG716 Patrol rifle
(Photo courtesy SigSauer.com)

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