HAMMOND | Facing 46 months in prison for his part in a firearms scheme, former Lake County sheriff’s police Officer Edward Kabella cites a variety of mitigating factors in seeking a lighter sentence, according to a memorandum filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Hammond.
Kabella, 42, and former officers Joseph Kumstar and Ronald Slusser, all of Crown Point, were indicted on charges of conspiring to use Lake County Sheriff's Department letterhead to buy automatic machine guns and laser sights intended strictly for law enforcement departments or the military and selling the parts for a profit online. The laser sights are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration.
Kabella, Kumstar and Slusser have all pleaded guilty to conspiracy and tax fraud charges and are awaiting sentencing. The three have since resigned from the Lake County Sheriff's Department.
Kumstar is accused of recruiting Kabella and Slusser to assist him in buying 74 machine guns and a number of laser sights that were resold to private individuals in locations ranging from Montreal to Mississippi.
Kabella pleaded guilty to conspiring to provide false information to a federal firearms licensee, conspiring to defraud the Food and Drug Administration and making false statements under oath on his federal tax return, according to the memorandum.
Kabella underestimated his gross income by more than $58,000 on a tax return, according to court records. He agreed to pay the more than $26,000 in tax losses he caused.
His sentencing memorandum cites more than 50 letters written on his behalf by family members, law enforcement officers, former co-workers and longtime friends. He notes a lack of a criminal history, a “difficult and unpredictable childhood,” his “demonstrated extraordinary acceptance of responsibility” and “remorse and cooperation” with federal agents.
He describes himself as “substantially less culpable” than his co-defendants and noted his work with the drug task force and highway interdiction units.