DOJ Seal Department of Justice  

United States Attorney John M. Bales
Eastern District of Texas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                               CONTACT:  DAVILYN WALSTON
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 19, 2009                                    PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER
http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/txe                                PHONE: (409) 839-2538 CELL: (409) 553-9881

 

JURY FINDS PORT ARTHUR MAN GUILTY OF
HURRICANE GUSTAV FIREARMS VIOLATIONS

            BEAUMONT, TX -    U.S. Attorney John M. Bales announced today that a 36-year-old Port Arthur, Texas man has been found guilty by a jury of federal firearms violations in the Eastern District of Texas.

            CHAD ALLEN PIAZZA was convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm following a three-day jury trial before U.S. District Judge Thad Heartfield.

According to information presented in court, Piazza sold a stolen rifle and shotgun to a Port Neches resident on Sept. 2, 2008.  After a newspaper report describing the burglary, which occurred during the evacuation for Hurricane Gustav, the purchaser became suspicious that the guns were actually stolen and contacted police.  Further investigation revealed that Piazza was a convicted felon and prohibited from owning or possessing firearms or ammunition.  Piazza was convicted of possession of a controlled substance in 2001 in Jefferson County.  Piazza was indicted by a federal grand jury on July 15, 2009, and charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Piazza was prosecuted as part of Operation Time Machine.  Operation Time Machine is a federal and local partnership introduced in October 2009 to reduce gun and drug related violent crime in Port Arthur, Texas.  Time Machine partners include the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Texas, the Jefferson County District Attorney's Office, Port Arthur Mayor Delores "Bobbie" Prince, the Port Arthur Police Department, ATF, DEA, FBI, and ICE.

            Piazza faces up to 10 years in federal prison at sentencing.  A sentencing date has not been set.
 
            The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the Groves Police Department and the Nederland Police Department and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney John Ross and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Baylor Wortham.

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