Coushatta Indian Tribe member pleads guilty to burglary charges

The following is a Press Release from the The United States Department of Justice:

Lake Charles, La.: United States Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced that a member of the Coushatta Indian Tribe pleaded guilty to burglary charges yesterday in federal court before U.S. Magistrate Judge Kathleen Kay in Lake Charles, La. Jordan Hawk John, 18, of Kinder, La., was charged in December 2011 with simple burglary. This case stems from a break-in at the Coushatta Convenience Store in Elton, La.

A surveillance camera shows John attempting to break into the store at approximately 1:00 a.m. on August 6, 2011. The defendant broke into the rear of the store and caused significant property damage totaling $244,999.00 when he set fire to the store.

Jurisdiction in Indian Country is based upon the unique sovereign relationship between the federal government and Indian tribes. Congress has criminalized certain acts that take place in Indian Country. The United States Attorney's Office prosecutes all felony and misdemeanor cases, arising in Indian Country, that are within the jurisdiction of this office. The U.S. Attorney's Office prosecutes cases arising in Indian Country involving felonies where either the defendant or the victim is an Indian or both the defendant and the victim are Indian. The U.S. Attorney's Office also prosecutes cases involving misdemeanors where the defendant is a non-Indian.

United States Attorney Stephanie A. Finley stated, "Public safety in Indian Country is a priority for the United States Attorney's Office and the Department of Justice. We will continue to work with the tribes to ensure that those who participate in criminal activity on the reservation are brought to justice. "

At sentencing, John faces a term of imprisonment of not more than 12 years, a fine of up to $2,000.00, or both, and restitution which will be determined at the time of sentencing. Sentencing will be scheduled at a later date.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Lake Charles Resident Agency, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney James T. McManus.