Ex-Ohio police chief pleads guilty in federal gun conspiracy with 2 Indiana men

A former Ohio police chief pleaded guilty Monday to misusing his position and working with two Indiana men in a scheme to illegally traffic 200 fully automatic machine guns.

Dorian LaCourse, 66, of Milford, Ohio, pleaded guilty to conspiracy, making false statements in records maintained by a federal firearms licensee and making false statements to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Indiana and the ATF’s Columbus, Ohio, field division announced Monday. He faces up to 15 years in federal prison.

The two Indiana men — Johnathan Marcum of Laurel and Christopher Petty of Lawrenceburg — previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy in separate cases. Each faces up to five years in federal prison.

LaCourse, Marcum and Petty illegally exploited a law enforcement exception to the federal ban on the possession or transfer of fully automatic machine guns, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

In his role as chief of police, LaCourse signed multiple “demonstration letters” falsely stating that the Village of Addyston Police Department was interested in purchasing various types of machine guns, including military-grade weapons, and asking that Marcum and/or Petty give the demonstrations. Marcum and Petty then sent the letters to the ATF to obtain the weapons.

LaCourse was Addyston’s only full-time police officer, serving a village of roughly 1,000 residents.The Addyston Police Department was never authorized to purchase any of the machine guns, and the Indiana gun dealers never provided any demonstrations of machine guns to the police department, according to the USAO.

LaCourse also placed direct orders for German-made machine guns that were purported to be paid for by the police department. The purchases were fully funded by Marcum and Petty and were intended to bypass restrictions on the import of such weapons by anyone other than the police or the military.

The gun dealers then resold the machine guns at a significant profit, in some instances at five or six times the purchase price.

The conspirators purchased or caused the importation of approximately 200 fully automatic machine guns, with LaCourse receiving more than $11,500 for his role in the scheme.

Each of the three men will be sentenced at a later date.

The ATF investigated the case. Assistant U.S. attorneys James M. Warden and William L. McCoskey are prosecuting the 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 since July 2021.

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