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Former Ohio police chief sentenced to 3 years probation for illegally trafficking machine guns

Former Addyston Police Chief Dorian LaCourse
Posted at 6:59 PM, Jun 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-01 18:59:40-04

INDIANAPOLIS — A former Ohio police chief accused of giving false statements to illegally acquire machine guns for two weapons dealers was sentenced to three years probation, with six months home detention, for conspiracy and making false statements.

According to court documents, 66-year-old Dorian LaCourse played a key role in a conspiracy to traffic fully-automatic machine guns. As chief of police, LaCourse signed multiple "demonstration letters" falsely stating the Village of Addyston Police Department was interested in buying various types of machine guns, including military-grade weapons, and asking that Indiana gun dealers Johnathan Marcum and Christopher Petty give the demonstration. Marcum and Petty sent those letters to the ATF to obtain the weapons.

LaCourse, Addyston's only full-time police officer at the time, also placed direct orders for German-made machine guns to be paid for by the police department. Marcum and Petty actually paid for the purchases. Federal prosecutors said the Addyston Police Department was never authorized to purchase any of the guns and the two Indiana gun dealers never did any demonstrations.

Instead, the machine guns were resold — some for five or six times the purchase price. The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Indiana said LaCourse received more than $11,500 from the gun dealers for his role in the scheme.

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As part of the sentencing, Judge Sarah Evans Barker ordered LaCourse to pay an $11,800 fine. More than 100 illegally obtained machine guns, 52,500 rounds of ammunition and $6,000 seized from LaCourse's desk will be forfeited.

Addyston's current police chief, Eric Pennekamp, said LaCourse's actions hurt the department and the small town that depends on it.

"It not only betrays the trust of the department, but it betrays the trust of the public," Pennekamp said. "And that's paramount for law enforcement, so when you have a violation of that, it takes a long time to recover."

Pennekamp said the department is closer than ever to separating itself from the criminal conduct of its former chief.

"It's unfortunate, but hopefully this last chapter of this puts an end to this story and we're able to move on from this," Pennekamp said.

The two gun dealers both pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States. Petty, a former police officer, will be sentenced in two weeks. Marcum will be sentenced in July.