BEAUMONT– Three Southeast Texas men have pleaded guilty to firearms offenses in the Eastern District of Texas, announced U.S. Attorney Brit Featherston today.
Michael Lawrence Geral, Jr., 35, of Orange; Joseph Jarred Thibodeaux, also known as Pitt, 34, of Orange; and Eric Emerson, 52, of Beaumont, each pleaded guilty of being a felon in possession of a firearm in separate hearings today before U.S. District Judge Marcia A. Crone.
According to information presented in court, on Dec. 13, 2021, Geral was stopped for a traffic violation by officers with the Orange Police Department. As officers spoke with Geral, they smelled the odor of burnt marijuana coming from the vehicle. Officers searched the vehicle and found a firearm which Geral admitted was his. Geral is a previously convicted felon and prohibited from possessing firearms.
On March 7, 2022, law enforcement officers with the Orange Police Department responded to an incident where Thibodeaux was said to have fired several shots from his vehicle towards another vehicle in Orange, some of which hit another vehicle. Officers arrested Thibodeaux and a search of his vehicle revealed a firearm under the driver’s seat and several used shell casings. Thibodeaux was also found to be a previously convicted felon and prohibited by federal law from owning or possessing firearms or ammunition.
On March 28, 2022, law enforcement officers with the Beaumont Police Department responded to a call of a burglary alarm going off at a local business located on West Cardinal Drive, in Beaumont. When officers arrived at the business, they observed a lone vehicle parked near the business. Emerson exited the vehicle. As officers investigated the scene, they observed a firearm on the passenger seat of the vehicle Emerson had exited. Further investigation revealed Emerson was a previously convicted felon and prohibited from owning or possessing firearms or ammunition.
The defendants each face up to 10 years in federal prison. The maximum statutory sentence prescribed by Congress is provided here for information purposes, as the sentencing will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the U.S. Probation Office.
These cases were prosecuted as part of the joint federal, state, and local Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) Program, the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.
These cases were investigated by the Bureau fo Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Orange Police Department, and the Beaumont Police Department and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Russell James.