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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

For Immediate Release

August 5, 2010

John M. Bales, United States Attorney

Contact: Davilyn Walston, Public Information Officer
(409) 981-7902
(409) 553-9881 (cell)

Veteran Police Officer Indicted on Federal Gun Charges

Captain Alleged to Have Stolen Firearms From Cleveland Pd Evidence Room

BEAUMONT, Texas — A 55-year-old veteran peace officer has been indicted and charged with federal firearms violations in the Eastern District of Texas announced U.S. Attorney John M. Bales today.

Harry Leroy Kelley, a Captain with the Liberty County Sheriff's Office, was indicted on Aug. 4, 2010, and charged with 103 counts of possession of a stolen firearm, two counts of possession of a firearm without a serial number, one count of possession of stolen ammunition and one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud. Kelley made his initial appearance today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Keith F. Giblin.

According to information presented in court, from 1992 to 2009, Kelley served almost exclusively as a police officer for the Cleveland Police Department in Liberty County, Texas. During that time, Kelley had control over the evidence room and was responsible for the destruction of certain items, including firearms in accordance with Texas law. It is alleged that during that same time, Kelley drafted disposal orders for firearms that he removed from the evidence room and reported their destruction when, in fact, he did not have the firearms destroyed.

If convicted, Kelley faces up to 10 years in federal prison for each possession count and up to 5 years for the conspiracy count. This case is being prosecuted as part of the Project Safe Neighborhoods Initiative. Project Safe Neighborhoods is aimed at reducing gun and gang violence, deterring illegal possession of guns, ammunition and body armor, and improving the safety of residents in the Eastern District of Texas. Participants in the initiative include community members and organizations as well as federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.

This case is being investigated by the ATF and the Texas Rangers and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney John A. Craft.

A grand jury indictment is not evidence of guilt and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.