Liberty County man guilty of federal firearms violation

Published 8:19 am Thursday, September 10, 2020

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BEAUMONT, Texas – A 45-year-old Dayton, Texas man has pleaded guilty to a federal firearms violation in the Eastern District of Texas, announced U.S. Attorney Stephen J. Cox on Wednesday.

Michael Leonard Cupp pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm by a prohibited person today before U.S. District Judge Marcia A. Crone.

According to information presented in court, on Nov. 12, 2019, law enforcement officers executed an arrest warrant issued in Calcasieu Parish, LA, for Cupp at a residence in Dayton, Texas, in the Eastern District of Texas.  The warrant was related to ATM thefts from the Lake Charles, LA, area.  Immediately following the arrest, federal agents discovered a firearm in the living room of the residence in plain view.  The firearm was later determined to have been stolen.  Cupp had previously been convicted of engaging in organized criminal activity in Polk County, Texas, in 2004, and as a convicted felon is prohibited from owning or possessing firearms or ammunition.

A federal grand jury returned an indictment charging Cupp with a firearms violation on Dec. 4, 2019. Under federal statutes, Cupp faces 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.

This case is a part of Project Guardian, the Department of Justice’s signature initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws.  Initiated by the Attorney General in the fall of 2019, Project Guardian draws upon the Department’s past successful programs to reduce un violence; enhances coordination of federal, state, local, and tribal authorities in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes; improves information-sharing by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives when a prohibited individual attempts to purchase a firearm and is denied by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), to include taking appropriate actions when a prospective purchaser is denied by the NICS for mental health reasons; and ensures that federal resources are directed at the criminals posing the greatest threat to our communities.  The United States Attorney’s Office is prosecuting this case with support from the following Project Guardian partners: FBI, ATF, Liberty County Sheriff’s Office, Dayton Police Department, Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office, and the FBI Lab in Quantico, VA.

More information about Project Guardian can be found at

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Randall L. Fluke.