INDIANAPOLIS – A former Ohio police chief and two Indiana gun dealers pleaded guilty in a conspiracy to illegally sell machine guns.
According to the Department of Justice, Dorian LaCourse helped two Indiana firearms dealers acquire and sell about 200 fully automatic machine guns by using false documents. LaCourse, the former chief of police in Addyston, Ohio, pleaded guilty to conspiracy and making false statements after a grand jury indictment.
The gun dealers, Johnathan Marcum, 34, of Laurel, Indiana, and Christopher Petty, 58, of Lawrenceburg, Indiana, have already pleaded guilty in the case.
The three exploited a law enforcement exception to the federal ban on the possession or transfer of fully automatic machine guns. In his position as police chief, LaCourse signed multiple “demonstration letters” stating that his police department was interested in buying different models of machine guns and asking Marcum or Petty to demonstrate them.
Marcum and Petty then sent letters to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) in order to obtain the weapons. LaCourse placed orders for German-manufactured machine guns that were supposed to be paid for by the police department. Instead, Marcum and Petty funded the purchases, bypassing restrictions on the importation of such weapons by anyone other than the police or military.
It’s worth pointing out that Addyston is a village in southwest Ohio with about 1,000 residents. LaCourse was its only full-time police officer. The Addyston Police Department was never authorized to buy the machine guns and lacked the personnel to use them in significant numbers.
Marcum and Petty, meantime, never provided any demonstrations of the weapons. They instead resold the machine guns at a “significant profit,” according to federal prosecutors, sometimes five or six times the purchase price. Federal prosecutors said about 200 machine guns were imported or sold.
For his help, LaCourse pocketed more than $11,500 from the scheme. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy, making false statements in records maintained by a federal firearms licensee and making false statements to the ATF. LaCourse faces up to 15 years in prison.
Marcum and Petty both pleaded guilty to conspiracy. They each face up to 5 years in federal prison.