Ex-Ohio Police Chief Sentenced for Illegal Trafficking in 200 Fully Automatic Machine Guns | USAO-SDIN
INDIANAPOLIS — Dorian LaCourse, 66, of Milford, Ohio, was sentenced today to 3 years probation, including 6 months house arrest for conspiracy and misrepresentation. LaCourse is the former chief of police for the village of Addyston, Ohio. Two federally licensed gun dealers in Indiana were his co-conspirators, Johnathan Marcum, 34, of Laurel, Indiana, and Christopher Petty, 58, of Lawrenceburg, Indiana, had previously pleaded guilty in separate cases to participating in the same plot and will be sentenced later this year.
According to court documents, LaCourse, Marcum and Petty unlawfully exploited a law enforcement exception to the federal prohibition on possession or transfer of fully automatic machine guns. As Chief of Police, LaCourse signed several “demonstration letters” falsely stating that the Addyston Village Police Department was interested in purchasing various types of machine guns, including military-grade weapons, and asking Marcum and/or Petty to demonstrate. Marcum and Petty then sent the letters to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to obtain the weapons. Addyston is a southwestern Ohio village of approximately 1,000 people. LaCourse was the only full-time policeman in the village.
LaCourse also placed direct orders for German-made machine guns which were supposed to be paid for by the police department. In fact, the purchases were fully funded by Marcum and Petty and were intended to circumvent import restrictions on such weapons by anyone other than the police or military.
The Addyston Police Department was never allowed to purchase any of the machine guns, and Indiana gun dealers never provided machine gun demonstrations to the police department. Instead, arms dealers resold the machine guns at a significant profit. In some cases, an arms dealer resold illegally acquired machine guns for five or six times the purchase price. The conspirators bought or had about 200 fully automatic machine guns imported. LaCourse received more than $11,500 from arms dealers for his role in the scheme.
“Law enforcement officers are sworn to protect our communities and uphold the law, and the public has a right to expect that police powers will be used for the public good,” he said. said Zachary A. Myers, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana. “Instead, the accused sold his badge to facilitate a criminal conspiracy to traffic machine guns. With heartbreaking regularity, we see the carnage that criminals can inflict on our communities with the weapons of war. today demonstrates that officers who violate the public trust with total disregard for public safety will be held accountable.
“LaCourse has committed a gross betrayal of the public trust by engaging in this machine gun trafficking scheme,” said Travis S. Riddle, acting special agent in charge of the ATF’s Columbus Field Division. “I hope this phrase will serve as an example to anyone who might be tempted to betray their oath of office and their responsibility to their community.”
The ATF investigated the matter. The sentence was handed down by U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Barker. As part of the sentence, Judge Barker ordered the defendant to pay a fine of $11,800. More than 100 illegally obtained machine guns, 52,500 cartridges and more than $6,000 in proceeds of crime seized from LaCourse’s desk will be confiscated in the United States.
U.S. Attorney Myers thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys James M. Warden, William L. McCoskey, and Nicholas J. Linder who prosecuted this case.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Indiana is part of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Chicago Gun Trafficking Strike Force and has prioritized the investigation and prosecution of gun trafficking crimes. On July 22, 2021, the Department of Justice launched five cross-jurisdictional strike forces to help reduce gun violence by disrupting illegal firearms trafficking in key regions of the country. These firearms trafficking strike forces are designed to provide coordination across jurisdictions and help stem the supply of illegally trafficked firearms from source cities, through other communities and in five key market regions: New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco Bay Area/ Sacramento Area and Washington, DC