Former Iowa police chief sentenced to 5 years in prison in federal gun case

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A former small-town Iowa police chief has been sentenced to five years in federal prison for lying to authorities to acquire machine guns that prosecutors said he sold for his own profit.

Former Adair Police Chief Brad Wendt was convicted in February of making false statements to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, conspiring to do so and illegally possession a machine gun. He was sentenced Monday, KCCI-TV reported.

Wendt was indicted in December 2022. Authorities said he bought machine guns for the police department, then sold them for an almost $80,000 personal profit. Trial evidence showed he bought machine guns for his gun store, including a .50-caliber machine gun he mounted on his armored Humvee, federal prosecutors said.

Wendt's attorney, Nicholas Klinefeldt, called the sentence disappointing.

“The jury had acquitted Mr. Wendt of ever attempting to deceive the ATF in any way,” Klinefeldt said in an email. “Yet, the government was allowed to convict Mr. Wendt based on an interpretation of the law that has never before been applied by any court, and that we believe was incorrect. We look forward to the opportunity to appeal this case, and continue to believe Mr. Wendt will be vindicated at the end of the day.”

Adair has about 800 residents. Wendt became police chief in July 2018.