Former Ohio police chief sentenced to 3 years' probation for trafficking 200 fully automatic machine guns, DOJ says

Former Ohio police chief sentenced to 3 years' probation for trafficking 200 fully automatic machine guns, DOJ says
Lights on a police car.Oliver Helbig/Getty Images
  • A former Addyston police chief was sentenced to 3 years' probation for a firearm trafficking scheme.
  • Dorian LaCourse worked with firearms dealers to purchase or import about 200 fully automatic machine guns, per the DOJ.

An ex-police chief in Ohio was sentenced to three years' probation in a machine gun trafficking conspiracy, according to the Department of Justice.

Dorian LaCourse, a 66-year-old former police chief in Addyston, Ohio, was given three years' probation with six months of home detention for conspiracy and making false statements, the US Attorney's Office of the Southern District of Indiana said in a statement.

LaCourse was convicted in April after pleading guilty to three out of 17 charges in his 2021 indictment, Fox 19 reported. He originally faced 15 years in prison; federal prosecutors recommended a sentence of 70 months, the outlet reported.

LaCourse worked with two federally licensed firearms dealers out of Indiana — Johnathan Marcum, 34, and Christopher Petty, 58 – to exploit "a law enforcement exception to the federal ban on the possession or transfer of fully automatic machine guns," the US Attorney's Office said.

"As Chief of Police, LaCourse signed multiple 'demonstration letters' falsely stating that the Village of Addyston Police Department was interested in purchasing various types of machine guns, including military-grade weapons," the statement said. LaCourse was the only full-time police officer in the village of about 1,000 people.


According to the Justice Department, LaCourse asked Marcum or Petty to give the demonstrations, and then the dealers sent the letters to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives "to obtain the weapons." In reality, the police department didn't have the authorization to purchase the machine guns, and the firearms dealers never gave a demonstration of the weapons to the police department, the US Attorney's Office said.

"Instead, the gun dealers resold the machine guns at a significant profit. In some instances, a gun dealer resold illegally acquired machine guns for five or six times the purchase price," the US Attorney's Office said.

The agency said LaCourse also "placed direct orders for German-made machine guns that were purported to be paid for by the Police Department," but that were actually funded by Marcum and Petty who "intended to bypass restrictions on the importation of such weapons by anyone other than the police or the military."

Over the course of the scheme, the co-conspirators purchased or imported about 200 fully automatic machine guns, and LaCourse made $11,500 from the gun dealers, the US Attorney's Office said.

US District Judge Sarah Evans Barker ordered LaCourse to pay an $11,800 fine.


"Over 100 illegally obtained machine guns, 52,500 rounds of ammunition, and over $6,000 in proceeds of the crime seized from LaCourse's office desk will be forfeited to the United States," the US Attorney's Office said.

US Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana Zachary A. Myers said in the statement that "the public has a right to expect police powers are used for the public good."

"Instead, the defendant sold his badge to facilitate a criminal machine gun trafficking conspiracy. With heartbreaking regularity, we see the carnage that criminals can inflict on our communities with weapons of war," Myers said.

LaCourse's attorney, Andrew Maternowski, said in a statement to Fox 19 that his client made "mistakes ... with the intent to help fund the Addyston Police Department."

"Mr. LaCourse admitted his mistakes in trusting two federally licensed gun dealers to explain to him the complicated intricacies of ATF procedures and paperwork required to obtain firearms. He was mislead by these gun dealers who used him to obtain guns they re-sold at a profit estimated by the ATF to be upwards of $2 million dollars," Maternowski said, per the outlet.