AUSTIN, TEXAS – A 12-time convicted felon, who waived arraignment Tuesday and pleaded not guilty, remains in federal custody charged with multiple firearms offenses, announced U.S. Attorney Ashley C. Hoff and Special Agent in Charge Fred J. Milanowski, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Houston Field Division.
A federal grand jury indictment unsealed last week, charges 41-year-old Louis Duane Rhyne of Austin, with two counts of being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm and one count of possession of a stolen firearm. The indictment alleges that on March 19, 2020, Rhyne possessed a stolen .223 caliber Smith and Wesson model M&P-15 rifle. The indictment further alleges that on December 29, 2020, Rhyne was in possession of a .38 special caliber Smith & Wesson model 38 revolver.
On December 29, 2020, the U.S. Marshal Service Lone Star Fugitive Task Force apprehended Rhyne in Austin. At that time of his arrest, Rhyne was in possession of the loaded .38 caliber revolver. Public court records reveal that Rhyne has amassed a dozen felony convictions all in Texas ranging from assault and organized criminal activity to evading arrest and unlawful use of a motor vehicle.
Rhyne faces up to ten years in federal prison for each charge upon conviction. Jury selection and trial is scheduled for 9 a.m. on May 17, 2021, before U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman in Austin.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) investigated this case along with the Austin and Manor Police Departments. Assistant U.S. Attorney Alan Buie is prosecuting this case.
An indictment is merely a charge and should not be considered as evidence of guilt. The defendant is considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
This case is part of Operation Undaunted, a program which draws on the partnerships among federal, state and local law enforcement coupled with prosecution authorities to tackle violent crime and protect the communities of central and west Texas.