Trinity father-son duo guilty of federal gun violations

BEAUMONT, TX (News Release) - BEAUMONT, Texas - A father and son from Trinity, Texas, have pleaded guilty to federal firearms violations in the Eastern District of Texas announced U.S. Attorney John M. Bales today.

Steven Daniel Middleton, 28, and Larry Don Middleton 56, each pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm today before U.S. District Judge Marcia Crone.

According to information presented in court, on Mar. 20, 2009, law enforcement officers executed a narcotics related search warrant at the Middletons' residence in Trinity.  During the search, 11 firearms were located in Larry Middleton's bedroom and four additional long guns in an addition to the main residence in Steven Middleton's bedroom.  Officers also found various narcotics paraphernalia, night vision goggles, surveillance equipment, methamphetamine residue, and $1600 in cash.  Further investigation revealed that Steven Middleton was convicted of manufacture of a controlled substance in 2004 and Larry Middleton was convicted of possession of a controlled substance in 1991, possession of marijuana in 1981, and delivery of marijuana in 1981, all in Trinity County, Texas.  As convicted felons, they are prohibited by federal law from owning or possessing firearms or ammunition.  The defendants were indicted on June 2, 2010 and charged with federal firearms violations.

They each face up to 10 years in federal prison at sentencing.  A sentencing date has not been set.

This case is being prosecuted as part of the Project Safe Neighborhoods Initiative. Project Safe Neighborhoods is aimed at reducing gun and gang violence, deterring illegal possession of guns, ammunition and body armor, and improving the safety of residents in the Eastern District of Texas. Participants in the initiative include community members and organizations as well as federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.

This case is being investigated by the ATF, the Walker County Sheriff's Office, the Trinity County Sheriff's Office and the Texas DPS and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Randall L. Fluke and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Baylor Wortham.