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Subject of Sharpsburg search gets one-year suspended sentence

Terry A. Porter also was placed on unsupervised probation on weapons charges

May 23, 2013|By DON AINES | dona@herald-mail.com
  • Terry A. Porter, 46, of 4433 Mills Road received a one-year suspended sentence after he pleaded guilty to two charges Thursday in Washington County Circuit Court.
Herald-Mail file photo

A Sharpsburg man whose home and property were searched last fall by dozens of Maryland State Police and other law enforcement officers looking for illegally possessed firearms received a one-year suspended sentence after he pleaded guilty to two charges Thursday in Washington County Circuit Court.

Terry A. Porter, 46, of 4433 Mills Road, also was placed on unsupervised probation for two years by Judge Dana Moylan Wright. She ordered him to pay $175 in court costs, but did not fine Porter.

“I understand these firearms (belonged to) family members,” Wright told Porter. “They were not even yours.”

Porter declined to comment after the sentencing.

“He’s got tremendous community support behind him ... He’s an outstanding member of the community,” defense attorney Rob Kamrad told Wright before sentencing. “He, and perhaps more so, his family, have suffered greatly” because of the criminal charges, Kamrad said.

A self-employed welder, Porter was indicted on seven counts each of possession of rifles or shotguns by a convicted felon and possession of firearms after being convicted of a disqualifying offense. He pleaded guilty to one count of each offense and the rest were dismissed as part of the plea agreement.

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The charges stemmed from a Nov. 29, 2012, search of his property and a subsequent consent search the next day, court records said. Four shotguns, a .30-30-caliber rifle and two .22-caliber rifles were found, court records said, including two weapons Porter turned over to police in the consent search.

Porter had a 1992 federal felony conviction for aiding and abetting the distribution of marijuana, according to a copy of his court docket obtained by The Herald-Mail in December from the Office of the Clerk of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia.

Few details of the case were discussed in court Thursday, but charging documents filed last year said an anonymous caller contacted Maryland State Police on Nov. 8, telling them that Porter had 10 to 15 machine gun-style weapons and 8,000 to 10,000 rounds of ammunition, as well as an underground bunker.

“No one found that many rounds of ammunition,” Maryland State Police Cpl. Robert Riley testified at Porter’s January preliminary hearing when asked whether 10,000 rounds were found.

He also testified that a Saiga, a semiautomatic rifle based on the AK-47, was not found in the Nov. 29 warrant search of Porter’s house, or when Porter consented to a second search on Nov. 30.

Riley, working undercover, met with Porter before the search warrant was obtained and Porter told him he had a Saiga, the charging document said.

At the preliminary hearing, Riley also testified about the anonymous caller’s claim that Porter buried refrigerators containing arms and ammunition on his property.

Porter “showed us two refrigerators that were buried in the woods,” Riley testified. Both were filled with dried foods, he said.

When police executed the search warrant on Nov. 29, they did not find Porter in the house, although Riley testified he had met with Porter there minutes before the search began.

The search of the property and subsequent manhunt for Porter involved state troopers, FBI agents, Washington County Sheriff’s Office deputies and special response units.

Porter later contacted state police and turned himself in on Nov. 30. He was released on $75,000 bond the same day, court records said.

About 60 Sharpsburg-area residents met Hagerstown Barrack Commander Lt. Tom Woodward at Sharpsburg Town Hall two weeks after the incident to air their concerns over what many felt was an overwhelming show of force by police.

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