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Vidalia police chief faces federal indictment in gun probe

Daily Town Talk (Alexandria, Louisiana)
BYLINE: Town Talk staff

Vidalia, LA

The chief of police in Vidalia is facing a federal indictment for allegedly making false statements to federal authorities.

Ronald G. "Tapper" Hendricks was charged Monday with making false statements to federal law enforcement agents during the course of an investigation into the use and disposition of certain firearms at the Vidalia Police Department.

The charge is outlined in a bill of information filed Monday with the U.S. District Court in Alexandria, U.S. Attorney Stephanie A. Finley said.

Federal Bureau of Investigation agents and federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents began investigating Hendricks in February for possibly transferring a fully automatic machine gun from the Vidalia Police Department for use at a private hunting club in Ferriday, as well whether the chief removed firearms from the department's evidence room to give as gifts to friends and acquaintances.

During the course of the investigation, which lasted until about June 30, Hendricks allegedly attempted to mislead investigators, the bill of information filed Monday charges.

Hendricks is accused of "knowingly and willfully" making three material false statements to federal authorities.

He denied transferring the machine gun to the custody of an individual or individuals at the Rifle Point Hunting Club in Ferriday; claimed that one of the individuals to whom custody of the machine gun was transferred was a reserve officer with the Vidalia Police Department; and claimed the alleged reserve officer signed an oath of office form related to a swearing-in prior to receiving the machine gun.

False statements to a government agent is a felony offense and carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine or both. A court date has not yet been set.

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