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KINDER MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO PART IN ROBBERY AT COUSHATTA TRIBAL RESERVATION

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 5, 2014

LAKE CHARLES, La. United States Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced today that Chanten Keth L. Gauthreaux, 20, of Kinder, La., pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Patricia Minaldi to participating in a home invasion at the Coushatta Tribal Reservation.

According to evidence presented at the guilty plea, the defendant along with John Harold Materne, Trevor James Simon, Floyd H. Martine, and another suspect traveled on December 3, 2013, in a van to the home of an acquaintance located on property belonging to the Coushatta Indian Tribe near Elton, La., in order to steal illegal drugs. Simon drove the vehicle. With Materne carrying a shotgun, he and Martine entered the home.  While they were robbing the inhabitants, Gauthreaux entered the trailer and helped take pills and marijuana. The group was arrested while fleeing the scene in the van.  Materne and two of the victims are Native American Indians and members of the Coushatta Tribe.

Gauthreaux faces up to 15 years in prison, three years supervised release, and a $250,000 fine for one count of robbery in Indian Country. On Wednesday, June 4, 2014, Materne, 22, of Ragley, La., pleaded guilty to one count of robbery in Indian Country and also pleaded guilty to one count of brandishing a firearm, which carries penalties of seven years to life in prison, five years supervised release, forfeiture, and a $250,000 fine. A sentencing date of September 4, 2014 was set for Materne and September 11, 2014 for Gauthreaux.

Jurisdiction in Indian Country is based upon the unique sovereign relationship between the federal government and Indian tribes.  Congress has extended the territorial jurisdiction of the United States to major crimes committed against Native Americans that take place in Indian Country, which includes all property that the government holds in trust or use by officially recognized Native American tribes.  The U.S. Attorney’s Office prosecutes all major crimes and misdemeanor cases arising in Indian Country that are within the jurisdiction of this office.  The U.S. Attorney’s Office prosecutes cases arising in Indian Country involving felonies where either the defendant or the victim is an Indian or both the defendant and the victim are Indian.  The U.S. Attorney’s Office also prosecutes cases involving misdemeanors where the defendant is a non-Indian.

The Coushatta Tribal Police Department, FBI, and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives conducted the investigation.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph T. Mickel is prosecuting the case.

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