U.S. Department of Justice
United States Attorney
Western District of Tennessee
For Immediate Release
October 22, 2009
Lawrence J. Laurenzi, United States Attorney
Contact: Leigh Anne Jordan
(901) 544-4230 (fax)
Army GI Indicted For Illegal Possession Of Military Ordnance
Indictment Unsealed Charging Illegal Possession of Antitank Rocket and Hand Grenades
Jackson, Tenn. — Joshua Bartlett Etherton, 29 of Fort Campbell, Ky., has been charged in a two count indictment alleging the illegal possession of military ordnance, announced Lawrence J. Laurenzi, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee, and James Cavanaugh, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). The indictment was originally filed on Sept. 21, 2009, and was unsealed today following Etherton’s arrest last night and his initial appearance this morning before Magistrate Judge Ed Bryant.
According to the indictment, Etherton, a Private First Class of the U.S. Army stationed at Fort Campbell, knowingly possessed a M72A3 Antitank Rocket and four M67 Hand Grenades all of which were allegedly stolen from Ft. Campbell while he was stationed there, and then he later sold those weapons to an undercover ATF agent. Etherton faces up to 20 years in federal prison and up to a $500,000 fine if he is found guilty of the charges. Proceedings have begun to discharge Etherton from his military service.
This case stemmed from a tip to the local police department in Paris, Tenn., who subsequently notified ATF. The case is the result of joint efforts by the ATF, Paris Police Department, Henry County Sheriff’s Office, Tennessee Bomb and Arson, and U.S. Army CID. The prosecution of this case is being handled by the Eastern Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Tennessee.