- Associated Press - Thursday, February 19, 2015

DOVER, Del. (AP) - Federal prosecutors have charged a local Republican Party official and former state Senate candidate in Delaware with illegally dealing in firearms.

According to court documents unsealed Thursday, Matthew Opaliski, 40, of Greenwood was indicted by a federal grand jury last week on three counts of dealing firearms without a license and two counts of unlawful transfer of firearms.

Prosecutors allege the illegal activity took place on several different occasions between last November and earlier this month.

Opaliski, a tea party supporter and gun rights activist who has testified in the legislature on firearms bills, appeared in court Wednesday and was released on his own recognizance pending a Feb. 26 arraignment.

Opaliski’s public defender, Edson Bostic, declined to comment Thursday.

Opaliski, who chairs the Delaware Republican Party’s 35th Representative District Committee in Sussex County and has been a three-time candidate for state Senate, did not immediately respond to an email message Thursday. The voice mail system at his home was not accepting messages, and a cellphone number he has used in the past is no longer in service.

Sussex GOP chairman Vince Calabro did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment. Vice chairman Fred Silva declined to comment.

“Matt is part of the Sussex County Party structure and elected by folks in his local area,” said Delaware GOP executive director John Fluharty. “I’m sure the Sussex county executive committee will respond to this very difficult situation with the best interests of the party first and foremost.”

According to the indictment, Opaliski allegedly sold, traded or gave a Smith and Wesson .357/9mm-caliber revolver and a Springfield Armory 9 mm pistol to another person who was not a resident of Delaware in early December. A similar transaction earlier this month involved two Anderson Manufacturing AM-15 5.56-caliber semiautomatic rifles, authorities allege.


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