Lafayette, Louisiana, Gun Store Owner Convicted on Federal Firearms Charges
Lafayette, LA (KPEL News) - The owner of a Lafayette gun shop and another person from Broussard, Louisiana, have been convicted on federal charges involving illegally selling firearms and conspiracy that date back to 2019.
The United States Department of Justice reports that 37-year-old Jeremiah Micah Deare and 30-year-old Sarah Elaine Fogle were found guilty of conspiracy to engage in gun sales without a license. The jury heard from more than 20 witnesses and were shown numerous trial exhibits demonstrating that the couple sold or attempted to sell hundreds of firearms out of their house or at gun shows without a license or performing required background checks on customers.
The prosecution presented 246 guns, many with price tags, that were taken from the home of Deare and Fogle. The indictment also requires the forfeiture of 619 firearms that were involved in the crime.
Deare was the owner of Dave's Gunshop LLC in Lafayette and responsible for the Federal Firearms License. In August of 2019, the Louisiana Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) issued a warning to both Deare and Fogle for numerous violations, including failing to complete a background check form ATF-4473 (one time), failing to accurately keep acquisition and disposition records for dispositions (67 times), failing to accurately keep acquisition and disposition records for acquisitions (62 times), transferring firearms without having a final response from the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (two times), inaccurate completion of ATF-4473 forms (111 times), and for missing firearms.
Trial documents proved that the ATF investigator informed Deare of the responsibilities of a Federal Firearms License holder. Deare signed an acknowledgement that he understood his responsibility.
Despite the warning, the misdeeds went on.
Deare and Fogle continued buying and selling guns without keeping records or requiring background checks of their buyers. Evidence indicated that the pair was buying guns and ammunition from estate sales and accepting guns to sell on consignment without logging them into inventory. Deare and Fogle would, however, bring the firearms to gun shows both in Louisiana and in other states to sell without a license, off the book, and without checking backgrounds.
The investigation exposed the sale of some of these firearms to people prohibited from owning or buying guns.
The money the couple made selling these weapons wasn't listed as profit for the Dave's Gun Shop which, at the time, was in litigation with the store's previous owner.
Deare was taken into custody by St. Martin Parish Sheriff's deputies and will remain in jail until his sentencing on April 2, 2024. Fogle is out on bond but is restricted from traveling outside the state.
Deare faces a sentence of up to 11 years on all charges. Fogle faces a sentence of not more than 5 years in prison. Each defendant also faces up to 3 years of supervised release, and a fine of up to $250,000 on each count.
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