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For Immediate Release
August 5, 2003
Contact: Sean Caine, 410-576-6357
scaine@oag.state.md.us

MAN SENTENCED FOR ILLEGALLY OPERATING AS A FIREARMS DEALER; NUMEROUS WEAPONS SOLD WERE RECOVERED FROM CONVICTED CRIMINALS AND A MINOR

Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. announced today that, as a result of a joint investigation with the Baltimore County Police Department's Firearms Violence Team, a Baltimore County man has been convicted of 10 gun-related crimes by the Honorable John Grason Turnbull, II, sitting for the Circuit Court for Baltimore County.

Gerry James Hege, 30, 8064 Roslyn Avenue, was found guilty of one count of Selling Regulated Firearms without a Regulated Firearms Dealer's License, and nine counts of Illegal Transfer of a Regulated Firearm. Judge Turnbull then sentenced Hege to five years incarceration at the Department of Corrections, suspending all of that time except nine months that Hege is to serve on home confinement. Furthermore, Hege was placed on five years of supervised probation.

Between August 2000 - January 2002, detectives with the Baltimore County Police Department's Firearms Violence Team developed information from various sources that an employee of Oak Grove Liquors, was selling numerous handguns and assault weapons to individuals from the store. The detectives learned that the sales were taking place at the liquor store without the required transfer paperwork being completed, or background checks being done. Furthermore, no one was properly licensed in Maryland as a regulated firearms dealer to be conducting such business.

Detectives ultimately identified Gerry Hege as the person selling these guns, and learned that of 21 guns registered to him only six remained in his possession. Detectives discovered that one of the sold weapons was used in a shooting in Essex involving minors, and another was seized from a man who illegally discharged the weapon. That man had identified Gerry Hege as the person he illegally bought the weapon from only a short time prior to his arrest.

Ronald Gorman Frank, 41, of 3523 Prospect Road, Harford County, Travis Todd Bynaker, 33, 1113 Anglesea Street, Baltimore City, and Scott Kreh, 33, 609 Mace Avenue, Baltimore County, all were found to have illegally bought firearms from Hege, and in some cases, resold the firearms to other people. In addition to the illegal purchasing of weapons from Hege, Frank and Byanker were found to have been prohibited from possessing such weapons because of prior criminal convictions. Kreh resold two weapons soon after he purchased them from Hege, including one to a minor and the other to a man in Baltimore City.

Ryan Forrest Thomas, 22, 2215 Line Bridge Road, Whiteford, Harford County, was the minor who bought a handgun from Kreh. He was under the age of 21 at the time he bought and possessed the weapon.

Frank, Bynaker, and Kreh were convicted on July 24, 2003. Frank was found guilty of three counts of Illegal Transfer of a Regulated Firearm and three counts of Illegal Possession of a Regulated Firearm. Bynaker was found guilty of two counts of Illegal Transfer of a Regulated Firearm and one count of Illegal Possession of a Regulated Firearm. Kreh was found guilty of four counts of Illegal Transfer of a Regulated Firearm. All three men were sentenced to three years at the Department of Corrections, with that time being suspended, and placed on two years of probation with 18 months of that time being supervised. Thomas was convicted of Illegal Transfer of a Regulated Firearm and Illegal Possession of a Regulated Firearm by a Person Under the Age of 21, and received Probation Before Judgement with 18 months of probation. He must further complete 40 hours of volunteer community service.

"The Office of the Attorney General will continue to work with other law enforcement agencies to track and eradicate the sale of illegal guns," Attorney General Curran said. "These are exactly the kinds of cases the gun trafficking unit was created to prosecute–in doing so, future crimes of violence may have been prevented and lives saved."

This case was investigated by the Baltimore County Police Department's Firearms Violence Team, and was prosecuted by the Firearms Trafficking Unit of the Office of the Attorney General. The Firearms Trafficking Unit is funded from grants received from the Governor's Office on Crime Control and Prevention, and the Maryland State Police Cease Fire Council.

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