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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Louisiana

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, March 22, 2018

New Orleans Man Pleads Guilty to Felon in Possession of a Firearm Charge

U.S. Attorney Duane A. Evans announced that RODNEY LAVALAIS, age 32, of New Orleans, pled guilty today to an indictment charging him with being a felon in possession of a firearm.

LAVALAIS previously pled guilty to a federal gun charge in 2008 in the Eastern District of Louisiana.  Federal law prohibits individuals who have been convicted of certain crimes from possessing firearms after being convicted.

According to court documents, LAVALAIS was arrested on November 3, 2016, as a result of a multi-agency investigation conducted by Kenner Police Department, New Orleans Police Department, Louisiana State Police and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.  Kenner Police Department conducted an operation targeted at illegal escort services and prostitution at Kenner hotels.  During the investigation, law enforcement officers learned of LAVALAIS’ when he was observed as the get-away driver of a vehicle transporting an escort who stole money from a Kenner Police Department detective, during a sting operation. Detectives conducted a search of the car being operated by LAVALAIS and located a loaded Glock .40 caliber handgun inside of the car.  Detectives also conducted a search of LAVALAIS’ phone and found a video of LAVALAIS at a local fire range, firing a gun that is believed to be the same gun that was discovered inside of the car.

Judge Lance Africk will sentence LAVALAIS on June 28, 2018.  LAVALAIS faces a maximum sentence of 10 years for the offense. 

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program that has been historically successful in bringing together all levels of law enforcement to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone.   Attorney General Jeff Sessions has made turning the tide of rising violent crime in America a top priority.   In October 2017, as part of a series of actions to address this crime trend, Attorney General Sessions announced the reinvigoration of PSN and directed all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to develop a district crime reduction strategy that incorporates the lessons learned since PSN launched in 2001.

U.S. Attorney Duane A. Evans praised the work of the Kenner Police Department, New Orleans Police Department, Louisiana State Police, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in investigating this matter. Assistant United States Attorney Brittany L. Reed is in charge of the prosecution.

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Updated March 23, 2018