TPSO: 33 guns seized in Ponchatoula burglary investigation
PONCHATOULA – A couple was arrested after Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff's deputies say they seized 33 guns that are believed to be stolen.
The Street Crimes and Narcotics Unit of the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff's Office arrested Leonard Cheek and Janice Cheek.
Detectives received a tip that Leonard Cheek had a welding machine that was reported stolen in March along with other stolen firearms and drugs.
A search warrant was executed on Cheek's home and detectives found the stolen welding machine in the shed on the property. Detectives also found a large gun safe in the home and requested Leonard Cheek to open it. Cheek said that his wife, Janice, knew the code. However, she told detectives that Leonard was the only one who knew the code.
After the couple entered the wrong code several times, detectives seized the safe and transported it to the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff's Office evidence facility. According to the sheriff's office, a professional lock smith was able to open the safe and detectives discovered 33 guns, a large quantity of marijuana, methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia inside the safe. Detectives saw that one of the guns had the serial number scratched off and it was painted over.
Detectives are conducting traces on all of the guns that were seized in an effort to verify that they were reported stolen.
The couple was charged with possession of stolen property, possession of a firearm while in possession of a controlled dangerous substance, possession of firearm with an obliterated serial number, possession with the intent to distribute controlled dangerous substance schedule I, possession of control dangerous substance schedule II, possession of drug paraphernalia, and obstruction of justice.
Additionally, Shelia Clark was arrested after she arrived at the home while detectives conducted their search. Detectives found that she had an arrest warrant for failure to appear charges.