- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 6, 2015

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A retired Westmoreland County deputy sheriff is charged with possessing firearms with obliterated or removed serial numbers.

The U.S. attorney’s office says a grand jury indicted 65-year-old Melvin Hinson on Tuesday. He was arrested last month on a criminal complaint alleging the same offense.

According to an affidavit supporting the complaint, Hinson received guns from law enforcement agencies for the purpose of destroying them but instead removed the serial numbers and sold or traded the weapons. He allegedly distributed at least a dozen such guns, including an assault rifle and a short-barreled shotgun, and had three guns in his possession in March.

Hinson’s attorney, David Carlson, did not immediately return a telephone message seeking comment on the charge.

If convicted, Hinson faces up to five years in prison.

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