Friday, December 22, 2023

U.S. Attorney’s Office Announces Forfeiture Process to Begin for Firearms Seized From Dave’s Gunshop in Lafayette, LA


Editor's Note: This press release is sourced directly from the ATF. Faithful readers of Gun Coyote News are familiar with our perspective on this unregulated federal entity: We encourage our readers to share their insightful and impactful thoughts in the comments section below.

LAFAYETTE, La. — The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Louisiana will be handling a forfeiture proceeding in connection with the seizure of numerous firearms in the case involving Dave’s Gunshop in Lafayette.

U.S. Attorney Brandon B. Brown announced that two individuals from Broussard have been found guilty on all counts after a jury trial that began in federal court on Monday, Nov. 27, and ended Thursday evening, Nov. 30. The couple was originally indicted for conspiring to deal firearms without a license, making false statements in records required to be kept by a licensed firearms dealer and failing to file sales reports in connection with their firearms business located in Lafayette.

Jeremiah Micah Deare, 37, Sarah Elaine Fogle, 30, were found guilty of conspiracy to engage in the business of dealing in firearms without a license, after the jury heard from over 20 witnesses and numerous trial exhibits demonstrating the illegal sale and attempted illegal sale of hundreds of firearms out of their residence and at gun shows as an unlicensed business. The couple was found to have engaged in the business of dealing firearms without following applicable laws, including the required background checks on their customers. The 246 firearms seized from the couple’s home, many with price tags, were brought into court for the jury to inspect, and the indictment also seeks forfeiture of a total of 619 firearms which were involved in the commission of these offenses.

Trial testimony and evidence revealed that Deare was the owner of Dave’s Gunshop, LLC, aka “Dave’s,” and the responsible party for Dave’s Federal Firearms License, which was located in Lafayette. Deare and Fogle did not hold a Federal Firearms License in their individual capacities. On or about Aug. 13, 2019, a compliance inspection was conducted at Dave’s by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. At a warning conference on Sept. 19, in Baton Rouge, Deare and Fogle were warned 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 evidence confirmed that, on that same day, the ATF investigator provided an Acknowledgement of Federal Firearms Regulations to inform Deare of their responsibilities as a Federal Firearms License holder, and about laws relating to engaging in the business of selling firearms at gun shows. Trial documents further proved the acknowledgment was signed by Deare acknowledging that he understood he was responsible for familiarizing himself with the laws and regulations.

During trial, testimony and evidence showed that Deare and Fogle, after being warned, willfully engaged in the business of dealing in firearms without a license by buying and selling firearms without complying with the recordkeeping and background check requirements required by federal law. Deare and Fogle acquired large quantities of firearms and ammunition from estate sales and other means but would not document the firearms in Dave’s Acquisition & Disposition Book as required by federal law. In addition, firearms brought to Dave’s to be sold on consignment were not logged into Dave’s Acquisition & Disposition Book and were not placed for sale at Dave’s, but rather were brough to gun shows to sell off of Dave’s A&D book and without background checks.

The jury trial revealed that Deare and Fogle kept firearms at their residence without logging them out of Dave’s store inventory and would travel with the firearms to gun shows conducted at various locations in Louisiana and several other states. Deare and Fogle sold firearms at gun shows to non-Louisiana residents for which no ATF-4473 or background checks were ever completed. Their failure to conduct background checks resulted in the sales of firearms to persons prohibited by law from possessing or purchasing firearms. Additionally, the sales of firearms at gun shows outside the State of Louisiana were not done through a dealer licensed in the state where the gun show was conducted as required by law. The proceeds from the out-of-state gun sales of firearms were not included as revenue for Dave’s, but instead, evidence and testimony revealed Deare and Fogle used it for their own personal gain to avoid any record of these profits with Dave’s, which at the time was in litigation with the previous owner.

Following the trial, a detention hearing was held and Deare was remanded into custody, where he will remain until the sentencing on April 2, 2024. Fogle will remain out on bond, with a restriction prohibiting her from traveling outside the State of Louisiana.

Deare faces a sentence of not more than five years in prison on Counts 1 and 2, and not more than one year on Count 3 of the Indictment. Fogle faces a sentence of not more than five years in prison on Count 1 of the Indictment. Each defendant also faces up to three years of supervised release, and a fine of up to $250,000 on each count.

The ATF conducted the investigation, and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lauren L. Gardner and Myers P. Namie prosecuted the case.

During the investigation of this case, agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives seized numerous firearms from Dave’s Gunshop and also from the residence of Jeremiah Micah Deare and Sarah Elaine Fogle. The defendants in this case, Deare and Fogle, were charged and found guilty of conspiracy to engage in the business of dealing in firearms without a license.

If you, your family member, or anyone that you know may have an interest in claiming ownership of any of the firearm(s) seized in this case, please contact the Forfeiture Unit of our office at 318-676-3600 for information on how to file a claim with the court for any firearm(s).

New Orleans Field Division

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