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Two South Louisiana Men Sentenced for Illegal Possession of Firearms

LAFAYETTE, La. – Acting United States Attorney Alexander C. Van Hook announced that two men from south Louisiana were sentenced today by United States District Judge Michael J. Juneau for illegal possession of firearms.

Eric Etienne, 33, of New Iberia, Louisiana, was sentenced to 65 months in prison, followed by 3 years of supervised release, for illegal possession of a firearm. In May 2021, Etienne went to trial on the charge and was found guilty by a federal jury in Lafayette. Evidence at the trial revealed that on December 18, 2018, officers with the New Iberia Police Department discovered a video on Instagram showing Etienne possessing what appeared to be an AR-15 rifle, two AK-47’s, and a Glock handgun. Law enforcement officers were familiar with Etienne, who is a convicted felon, and were able to determine the location in New Iberia where the video had been taken. Later that day, officers responded to the scene where the video was taken.  Upon arrival, Etienne was found standing near a silver sedan which was seen in the video and wearing the same clothes he was wearing in the video.  Officers found the AR-15 and Glock handgun in plain view in the sedan.  A search of a nearby residence recovered one of the AK-47’s.  Etienne’s prior felony conviction was for attempted manslaughter in 2006.

The ATF and New Iberia Police Department conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys David J. Ayo and Danny Siefker prosecuted the case.

Patrick Joiner, 54, of Erath, Louisiana, was sentenced to 60 months in prison, followed by 3 years of supervised release, for illegally possessing a firearm during a drug trafficking crime. On October 18, 2018, a state search warrant was executed at Joiner’s residence by Vermilion Parish Sheriff’s Office deputies. During the search, law enforcement officers seized methamphetamine, drug paraphernalia, cash, and a loaded firearm. Joiner was charged with possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. As an individual having been previously convicted of felony crimes, Joiner was prohibited from possessing a firearm. His criminal history is lengthy, having been convicted of 6 felony crimes dating back to 1989.

The ATF and Vermilion Parish Sheriff’s Office conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney John W. Nickel prosecuted the case.

These cases are part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. PSN is part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime. To learn more about Project Safe Neighborhoods, go to www.justice.gov/psn.