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Former deputy chief requests leniency in weapons scheme

Kumstar

Kumstar

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Updated: July 30, 2013 7:45AM



The former deputy chief of the Lake County Sheriff’s Department is asking that he serve a little more than four years in prison in exchange for his early cooperation with federal attorneys.

Joseph Kumstar, of Crown Point, is set to learn his sentence Thursday in the U.S. District Court in Hammond.

Kumstar, along with fellow officers Ronald Slusser and Edward Kabella, pleaded guilty in 2011 to using their position with the department to illegally buy and sell guns and laser sights that only the military and law enforcement officials are allowed to purchase.

The men would buy the weapons and take them apart. They would then sell the upper barrel, which cannot be bought separately and is highly desireable, online for about twice as much as the entire gun cost.

Court records say Slusser and Kumstar, who were more active in the conspiracy than Kabella, made at least $200,000 from the scheme.

The men all cooperated with federal attorneys as soon as the investigation began, and another man, Vahan Kelerchain, a Pennsylvania man who owns Armament Services International, has since been charged in a separate case connected to the scheme. Federal attorneys say he worked with the officers to obtain some of the gun parts for himself.

Kumstar says in his sentencing memorandum that he should receive credit for his early cooperation and that a judge should grant him 51 months in prison, which is recommended by the plea deal.

The filing also says that Kumstar has since found a new job, where he works six days a week.

“It is those attributes that are more reflective of the type of person Mr. Kumstar is rather than the person who committed instance offenses for which Mr. Kumstar takes full responsibility,” his attorney, Matt Fech, says in the filing.

Kabella was sentenced early this year to two years in prison.



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