For Immediate Release
Harrison County Man Pleads Guilty to Firearms Offense
Gulfport, Mississippi – Lon Edward Preston, Jr., of Harrison County, Mississippi pleaded guilty today to knowingly possessing a firearm after having been previously been committed to a mental institution, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Darren J. LaMarca of the Southern District of Mississippi and Kurt Thielhorn, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (“ATF”.)
According to court documents, on March 19, 2020, local law enforcement officers were notified that Preston had made threats to come to another individual’s home and that police were going to be forced to kill him on the front lawn. Surveillance video showed Preston driving by the individual’s home. Law enforcement officers then stopped Preston near the home. At that time, Preston was in the possession of three firearms.
A subsequent investigation revealed that in January of 2018, Preston was committed to a mental institution. Therefore, he was prohibited from possessing firearms. Additionally, he had previously been indicted in state court for his involvement in an alleged aggravated assault, where it was alleged that he shot someone in December of 2018.
Law enforcement officials were also able to determine that between September of 2019 and March of 2020, Preston had engaged in a course of conduct through which he attempted to harass or intimidate the individual who contacted police on March 19, 2020. This course of conduct included using text messages, iMessages, voice mails, and various communication devices to threaten to kill and/or harm the individual, often in graphic terms.
Preston pleaded guilty today and is scheduled for sentencing on August 17, 2021 at 1:30 p.m. He faces a maximum penalty of ten years in prison.
The D’Iberville Police Department, Harrison County Sheriff’s Department, and ATF investigated the case.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jonathan Buckner and Erica Rose are prosecuting the case.