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Joshua Bartlett Etherton, 29 of Fort Campbell, Kentucky, has been charged in a two count indictment alleging the illegal possession of military ordnance announced Lawrence J. Laurenzi, United States Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee, James Cavanaugh, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). The indictment was originally filed on September 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 United States Army stationed at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, 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, Tennessee 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.