Miller Co. sheriff arrested by FBI on stolen gun charges

Published: Oct. 28, 2016 at 4:20 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 28, 2016 at 5:31 PM EDT
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ALBANY, GA (WALB) - The Federal Bureau of Investigation has arrested the Miller County Sheriff.

Wesley Shane Rathel, 42, was arrested at the Albany FBI office on Friday, on charges of selling two stolen firearms.

The case was investigated by the FBI and the GBI.

An affidavit from the Middle District of Georgia, dated October 27,  indicates that the sheriff is charged with two counts of selling a stolen firearm.

It says that Philip Weston Jones turned over three firearms to Sheriff Wesley Shane Rathel to comply with the terms of a bond he received after he was arrested in February, for aggravated assault.

He was required to avoid contact with family members and to possess no guns. A bond revocation hearing in May again required him to give up his guns, and Jones called Sheriff Rathel to give the guns to him, in accordance to a court order.

Rathel took the Windham AR-15 rifle, a Mossberg shotgun, and a Taurus .38 special revolver from Jones.

In September, Jones went to Brad Bell's pawn shop in Donalsonville to do some electrical work in the store, and saw his guns. He knew they were the ones he turned in to Rathel, because he wrote down their serial numbers, and compared the guns to his list.

Bell told the ATF that Rathel pawned the guns for a 30 day period for $600, and that he recorded it in his pawn shop log.

The affidavit says that Rathel sold the .38 to a man for $200 in July.

If convicted, Rathel could serve 10 years in prison, and pay a $250,000 fine.

Rathel was appointed acting sheriff after the former sheriff died in 2013.

He was then elected to the position in a special election.

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