An ex-Ohio police chief used his badge in a machine gun trafficking scheme aimed at reselling more than 200 weapons of war, prosecutors said.
Dorian LaCourse was sentenced to three years of probation for his role in buying fully automatic machine guns that were then resold at a much higher price, the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Indiana said.
LaCourse, who used to oversee a police department in a tiny Ohio village, will spend six of those months in home confinement.
Federal laws ban the purchase or transfer of fully automatic machine guns unless for law enforcement, an exception LaCourse, 66, exploited.
Working with two federally licensed Indiana gun dealers, LaCourse signed multiple letters that falsely stated the Village of Addyston Police Department wanted to buy different types of machine guns, including military-grade.
Those letters were then sent to the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives by co-conspirators Johnathan Marcum, 34, and Christopher Petty, 58, to get the weapons. The two men were supposed to give the department demonstrations with the guns, but never did.
LaCourse also directly ordered German-made machine guns that he said were paid for by his department, but were instead purchased by Marcum and Petty.
The machine guns were resold for five or six times the purchase price, the US Attorney’s Office said
Marcum and Petty pleaded guilty to charges related to the scheme and will be sentenced at a later date.
LaCourse originally faced 17 charges connected to the crime, but ended up pleading guilty to three of them in April, according to Fox 19. Prosecutors sought six years in prison as part of the plea agreement, the television station reported.
More than 200 machine guns were illegally obtained and authorities seized more than 100 machine guns, 52,500 rounds of ammunition and $6,000 in money connected to the crime from LaCourse’s office desk, the feds said.
LaCourse was the only full-time officer for a village of about 1,000 people.
“Law enforcement officers are sworn to protect our communities and uphold the law, and the public has a right to expect police powers are used for the public good,” said US Attorney Zachary Myers, in a statement.
“Instead, the defendant sold his badge to facilitate a criminal machine gun trafficking conspiracy. With heartbreaking regularity, we see the carnage that criminals can inflict on our communities with weapons of war. Today’s sentence demonstrates that officers who violate the public’s trust with utter disregard for the public’s safety will be held accountable.”
LaCourse collected more than $11,500 from his role. As part of the sentencing, he was fined $11,800.
An AFT agent called the plot an “egregious betrayal of the public’s trust.”
“LaCourse committed an egregious betrayal of the public’s trust by engaging in this machine gun trafficking scheme,” said AFT’s acting special agent in charge Travis S. Riddle, of the Columbus division. “I hope that this sentence serves as an example to anyone else out there who might be tempted to betray their oath of office and their responsibility to their community.”