Burnt pot smell, firing at another vehicle lead Orange men to federal prison sentences

Published 12:30 am Thursday, October 6, 2022

Two Orange men are awaiting sentencing in federal court following their guilty pleas Tuesday to illegal weapons possession.

U.S. Attorney Brit Featherston said the sentencing hearings are scheduled after the U.S. Probation Office completes its pre-sentence investigations.

Those who pleaded guilty this week include Michael Lawrence Geral Jr., 35, and Joseph Jarred Thibodeaux, also known as Pitt, who is 34.

U.S. District Judge Marcia A. Crone accepted the pleas in separate hearings.

According to information presented in court, an Orange Police Department officer stopped Geral Dec. 13, 2021, for a traffic violation.

As officers spoke with Geral, they smelled the odor of burnt marijuana coming from the vehicle.

A police search found a firearm, which Geral admitted was his. Geral is a previously convicted felon and prohibited from possessing firearms.

On March 7, Orange Police Department officers responded when Thibodeaux was reported to have fired several shots from his vehicle towards another vehicle in Orange.

Some gunfire hit another vehicle, authorities said.

Officers arrested Thibodeaux, and a search of his vehicle revealed a firearm under the driver’s seat and several used shell casings.

Thibodeaux is a previously convicted felon and prohibited by federal law from owning or possessing firearms or ammunition.

According to Featherston, the defendants face up to 10 years in federal prison.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, as well as the Orange Police Department, investigated the cases.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Russell James prosecuted the cases.