Evidence photos showing an underground bunker of weapons the ATF raided while investigating Caleb Bailey (U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Maryland)

A Maryland man who had an underground bunker full of machine guns, explosives and child pornography has been sentenced to more than 16 years in federal prison.

The sentencing Wednesday for Caleb Andrew Bailey, 31, of Waldorf came more than two years after he was first arrested in a case that originally began as an investigation into a suspicious package he sent through the mail.

“I screwed up beyond words, and I will never forgive myself,” said Bailey, who had been elected as a GOP delegate for Donald Trump in Maryland’s 5th Congressional District the month before the indictment was announced in May 2016. “The damage I’ve done haunts me.”

Bailey had tried to ship hundreds of rounds of ammunition without a permit to a store in Wisconsin in February 2016, but the box broke open at a U.S. postal facility, according to court filings. Bailey called to ask about the undelivered package, leading the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to Bailey’s home.

While executing a search warrant, investigators uncovered a cache of machine guns, unregistered short-barreled rifles and explosive devices. Authorities also found recording equipment and electronic devices containing more than 2,000 files depicting child pornography, including videos of teenage boys he recorded surreptitiously, according to his plea agreement.


Caleb Bailey (U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Maryland)

During the search, authorities also found a 17-year-old described as a “minor victim” at the house. The teen had earlier taken a laptop, camera and hard drive from inside the residence to hide near a footbridge in the woods at Bailey’s instruction, court filings state.

Bailey had an admitted fascination with firearms and also collected them as a means of personal protection, according to testimony from his sentencing. Bailey kept the weapons locked up and did not intend to harm others, his attorney said.

The government said he also used the weapons as a way to maintain the interest of the teenage boys he wound up secretly recording.

While there is a constitutional right to own firearms, possessing machine guns is illegal “because of how destructive they are,” Judge Paul W. Grimm said at sentencing in federal court in Greenbelt.

Much of Bailey’s sentencing hearing focused on the child pornography charges. Bailey relied on hidden cameras to record teenage boys using the bathroom in his RV and at hotels where he would stay with the boys while they competed in ATV races, according to the government. Bailey produced more than 100 videos between 2014 and 2016, his plea agreement states.


Entry to the underground bunker of weapons found by the ATF while investigating Caleb Bailey. (United States Attorney's Office for the District of Maryland)

Bailey and his attorney said he grew up in a conservative and religious community and he recorded the videos because he was ashamed of his attraction to other men and couldn’t openly express his sexual preferences.

“I did not know how to deal with my attraction to the same sex,” Bailey said.

Grimm called Bailey’s possession of child pornography “very serious crimes.” The judge alluded to the lifetime of trauma victims suffer as they are notified every time images of them being violated when they were “small and defenseless” circulate and recirculate through the Internet and become part of a criminal case.

“What folks need to understand is that the victims of child pornography become victims often for the rest of their lives,” Grimm said. “They write heart-wrenching letters of the trust that will never be restored.”