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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, June 20, 2014

Federal Jury Convicts Felon Of Stealing And Selling Over Thirty Firearms From A Port Allen Gun Club

BATON ROUGE, LA - United States Attorney Walt Green announced that a federal jury returned unanimous verdicts of guilty yesterday afternoon against JOSEPH D. MELANCON, age 45, of Lafayette, Louisiana, for conspiring to steal firearms, possess and sell stolen firearms, and possess firearms by a convicted felon; stealing from a licensed federal firearms dealer; and possessing firearms as a convicted felon.

As a result of his convictions, and his apparent status as an armed career criminal under federal law, MELANCON faces up to life in prison, a fine up to $750,000, restitution to victims, and forfeiture of the proceeds of his criminal activity. His sentencing date has not been set.

According to evidence presented during the four day trial before U.S. District Judge Shelly Dick, MELANCON and Dustin Ray burglarized the Hunter’s Run Gun Club in Port Allen, Louisiana, on the night of April 13, 2012, and stole over thirty (30) firearms. MELANCON had previously worked at the Gun Club and used that knowledge to avoid security measures. Later, with the assistance of Jeremy Smothers, MELANCON sold firearms stolen from the Gun Club to others, including David Narcisse, Jr., a convicted felon.

Dustin Ray, age 31, of New Iberia, Louisiana, pled guilty to conspiring to steal firearms, possess stolen firearms, and possess firearms as a convicted felon; stealing from a licensed federal firearms dealer; and possessing firearms as a convicted felon. He awaits sentencing.

Jeremy J. Smothers, age 32, of New Iberia, Louisiana, pled guilty to conspiring to possess, sell, and dispose of stolen firearms. He awaits sentencing.

David J. Narcisse Jr., age 31, of Lafayette, Louisiana, pled guilty to possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. He awaits sentencing.

U.S. Attorney Walt Green stated: “Stopping violent, career criminals from stealing, possessing, and selling guns to other criminals is critically important to the safety of our community. I am proud of the prosecutors and agents who worked diligently on this important matter and look forward to our office’s continued vigilance against armed felons.”

The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the West Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office, and the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Reginald E. Jones and Robert W. Piedrahita who serves as Litigation Counsel.

Updated December 15, 2014