Rocket launcher seized in Liberty traffic stop

Pct. 2 Deputy Constable John Tucker (left) and Pct. 2 Constable Les Hulsey show the rocket launcher their agency seized during a routine traffic stop in Liberty.

By Vanesa Brashier,

A rocket launcher stolen from Camp Pendleton, Calif., was recovered during a routine traffic stop last Thursday in Liberty. The stop was initiated by Pct. 2 Deputy Constable John Tucker in front of Auto Zone in Liberty.

The driver of the vehicle, a U.S. Marine with just four months left to serve, reportedly told Tucker that he was going to give the rocket launcher to his stepfather as a gift.

“I guess buying your old man a shotgun isn’t good enough these days,” Tucker told Bluebonnet News.

The vehicle was stopped for a minor speeding infraction – just six miles over the speed limit.

“I walked up to the vehicle and I always say the same thing to people as I approach. I say, ‘Are you traveling with anything illegal like rocket launchers, hand grenades or machine guns?’ The guy then told me he had a rocket launcher in the car,” Tucker said. “I thought he was joking so I explained to him that I always say that to people when I approach their vehicles. He told me again he had a rocket launcher in the car.”

Seeing that the young man was serious, Tucker handcuffed and detained him while he searched the vehicle. In the backseat, he found an AT 4 anti-tank rocket launcher. It was not decommissioned, meaning that it still had the firing mechanism in place. However, there were no ordnances in the vehicle for the rocket launcher.

Tucker explained that he radioed for dispatchers to contact the ATF, the federal agency that regulates alcohol, tobacco and firearms. The ATF asked Tucker to photograph everything – the driver, his license and identifying information and the rocket launcher. A few moments later, Tucker said the ATF notified him that through a check with Fort Polk it had been discovered that the rocket launcher was stolen from Camp Pendleton, Calif.

“They told me to let him go. They didn’t have anything on military equipment [to hold him on]. The feds will be taking over any investigation, if there is one,” Tucker said. “I just don’t understand how something like this made it off the base without someone knowing about it.”

“I don’t know that he was an American citizen on paper but we do know that he was an active Marine,” he said.

For now, the Pct. 2 Constable’s Office has the rocket launcher under lock and key while a decision is made on where it will be sent. The constable’s office displayed the item at Tuesday night’s National Night Out event in Daisetta. People from the community were interested to see a rocket launcher up close.

“People were amazed that something like that was just rolling down the highway in Liberty County. It goes to show you that a traffic stop, even one just six miles over the speed limit, can lead to something more. It’s not always the stop. It’s what it can lead to,” he said.

Pct. 2 Constable Les Hulsey demonstrates how the rocket launcher is held.
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Before creating Bluebonnet News in 2018, Vanesa Brashier was a community editor for the Houston Chronicle/Houston Community Newspapers. During part of her 12 years at the newspapers, she was assigned as the digital editor and managing editor for the Humble Observer, Kingwood Observer, East Montgomery County Observer and the Lake Houston Observer, and the editor of the Dayton News, Cleveland Advocate and Eastex Advocate. Over the years, she has earned more than two dozen writing awards, including Journalist of the Year.


  1. It’s completely useless, it’s basically a trainer at this point. Couldn’t you pigs just leave him alone instead of taking a photo shoot? Go solve real crimes.

      • They’re 1-time us & destroy items. Moreover, what the government owns belongs to We The People.

      • It’s not stolen property, it’s used and will be thrown away and typically crushed or melted to recycle the plastic and fiber material. Many of these have become wall decorations for many military, including LAW launcher and Stinger tubes. This is useless, and the military wont even care unless hes been stealing the un fired ones.

    • If its not his then its stolen! If he didn’t have permission to have it, then its stolen. Its ppl like you who are the problem because you want to justify criminal behavior!!

  2. It’s a spent tube you morons and you can’t add another round to it, so it’s literally useless. Another thing, what does the Marines ethnic background have to do with any of this? Sounds pretty racist. Cute photo shoot though, keep it up with all the good protecting and serving you’re doing.

    • Ethnic background has a whole lot to do with it, you moron! First there are many middle eastern men that the US is looking for for several different reasons (most criminal), so in fact they ARE doing their jobs! And the Marine well he will find a nice criminal charge waiting for him when he gets back!

  3. The comments show the mentality of those making the comments. Irregardless of whether it can be reused, IT WAS STOLEN. Last I knew theft was a crime no matter what the item could or couldn’t do.

    • Irregardless is not the word you are looking for friend. What you’re trying to say is regardless, irregardless means “not regardless”. I usually don’t correct double negatives but this one has always botherd me. I probably let it slide more than I don’t. Just please God don’t tell me the gas station is acrosst the street.

      • “botherd “? You should probably pay more attention to your own writing, especially if you want to correct someone else.

  4. It’s a trainer. It shoots a specially designed 9 mm tracer round. All you have to do is be on the signature card for the training devices warehouse and you can pick one up. They are harmless without the requisite components needed to fire, and even then, it’s a trainer. A real AT4 on the other hand, is tightly controlled. They are stored inside of a bunker at the Ammo Storage Area on the installation and are kept under 24 hour surveillance and guard. Each AT4 is a one time use weapon, and it cannot be reloaded like the old bazooka from WW2. After being fired, the spent tube must be accounted for and turned back in to the ammo storage area. Is it possible to steal a real one? Of course, but I can say with certainty that had a live AT4 went missing, the entire installation would have been locked down. This isn’t to say that the officer didn’t do his due diligence in finding it, but this thing posed more of a threat as a blunt instrument to beat someone with than it did an actual weapon. There’s really no need for anyone to get bent out of shape over this story as it is not a big deal.

    • It’s not a trainer, it’s just a spent tube that he probably just held onto after a life fire range. The tube is useless but is normally turned back into the ACP like spent brass. There are thousands of these floating around out there. They are a common souvenir.

      • Troop cant “hang on to” spent AT-4s after an LFX. They must be accounted for as ammo residue after firing. Only after the ASP did their thing can the items be released for sale as militaria for public offering, usually through DRMO.

      • It is an accountable item and must be accounted for by ser # even after expended until destroyed.

  5. I have one of those beer bongs as well, I asked the guys at DRMO if I could have it instead of throwing it away in the dumpster like they usually do and sure enough they gave it to me.
    Sick oakleys on his head, tribal tats, not one but two thin blue line patches on his plate carrier with no plates. It makes total sense why this cop wasn’t making jokes when the joke was on him, I bet he was furiously sucking his own dick that night for the “high profile” bust he made, pulling someone for going 6 miles over the limit….yeah I’m staying away from driving in Liberty.
    He’s got four months left in active duty before getting out, the ATF might not give a shit about a useless fiberglass tube but this Marine’s command does especially if it has a paper happy sgt maj. I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t get an NJP for trying to be funny with the police.

  6. Holy shit… The ma’am that wrote this has no knowledge whatsoever on the topic. Bravo! You wrote a slightly racist, poorly written, piece of toilet paper. Please stick to what you have actual knowledge on or educate yourself.
    Also bravo officer, you didn’t use any officer discretion and ruined a young marines future because you wanted that big bust. With something we literally walk off the range with all the time. The “rocket” he had is no more deadly then a 2×4 plank of wood.

  7. Constable Tucker… always asks everyone he stops if they have “rocket launchers, hand grenades or machine guns”… yet has no idea what the legalities are regarding any of these things, or that common US weapons like the AT4 and LAW are one-time use disposables which immediately become harmless fiberglass tubes upon being fired, and are discarded by our military. Sad really. Way to ruin a US Marine’s (and his stepfather’s) day with your ignorance.

  8. The “writer” has been berated already for writing a racist and just plain bad article and the police have been criticised for making a mountain of an empty fiberglass tube. Permit me to comment on the “writer’s” questionable use of the term ordnance. Ordnance is a perfectly fine word when it’s used in the right place. The Ordnance Corps likes their name. When one discusses naval ordnance that’s cool too. Unexploded ordnance is nothing to play with unless you like that sort of thing. But when you use that word while trying to say that the rocket launcher was empty and not accompanied by extra rockets, why not simply use the word rocket? “Ordnances” may be the correct way to pluralize ordnance but it sure ain’t in common use amongst folks who use the word ordnance. If you found a box of bullets, a case of hand grenades or crate of artillery shells or a truck load of military working dog fur missiles, would you say your found a box, case, crate, truck of ordnances? No. If you believed in clarity of writing, you would likely write that you found a box of bullets, a case of hand grenades or a crate of artillery shells. Now stop using the synonym feature in the google machine’s magic word thing and learn to write in simple English. You’re supposed to be a news writer, not a CNN anchor.

  9. It’s just like a skull….totally useless and only decorative when it’s empty. Just exactly like the cops who think they’ve done the public a good turn by seizing this empty fiberglas tube that would have literally just been thrown away anyway. Doesn’t even matter if the firing mechanism is intact, because literally there is no reload available for it anywhere in the world. It’s a one use device. Once you fire it, it’s junk. Decorative, cool, but junk.

  10. I can by them on the Black Market new..
    RPG, rocket launchers any kind of weapons.
    I sell ghost guns and parts to make ghost guns.
    Contact me for more info..

  11. “Just out here saving people from a harmless piece of plastic, metal, and some electronics.”

    It’s no more dangerous than a tree branch at that point, retards.

  12. Its a fiberglass tube… fire and forget weapon, and the firing mechanism is just a spring on a pin… no warhead and all that is is a funny story. Buddy used to use one as a golf bag, though it only held 4 clubs. And the constable is holding it wrong which is kinda hilarious because full operation instructions are printed with stick figure diagrams on the side of it.

  13. Lol! I can’t stand the Pigs!!! Its alwayzs a MINOR TRAFFIC VIOLATION!! THANK GOD THEY DIDENT KILL HIM!! Oh he wasn’t BLACK!!

  14. lmao it’s a fiberglass tube that’s totally harmless and the cops act like they saved the entire human. race

  15. Nice headline you morons. Do you also publish headlines like “Officer saves family of 6.” when a cop stops traffic for ducks crossing the road?

  16. Well hell! CIA through Obama was selling live launchers and everything to drug cartels! Nothing is being done to them!!!

  17. Holy shit… It’s an expended AT-4 tube… Can’t be reloaded, can’t be reused… Good for nothing but a wall-hanger… They ruined a Marine’s life over NOTHING!

  18. Don’t tell anyone. But I once took a Ink Pen home when I was in the US Navy. Scared me for life. I am so ashamed! It was worse then that time I brought a AK-47 home from the Gulf War that I have hanging on my wall in the Man Cave.

  19. All of these experts on a subject they have little to no knowledge on. This is the issue with America today, people are so quick to fire their opinions as facts rather than let someone who actually has knowledge in the subject area.
    1) They don’t have to be turned in, damn near any infantry barracks you go to Will have dozens of these floating around.
    2) it’s considered a round of ammunition, once shot it’s useless.
    3) they do make great souvenirs with many uses… to include a substitute for a beer bong on any night of the week in the barracks. Get over your fear mongering bogus and go cry about things you actually have experience in.

  20. Per SWAT magazine decades ago, an officer in a rural county faced down a tipsy resident on a long driveway to the resident’s home out in the country. The resident had reloaded an expended LAW with a model rocket with engine. The officer’s long-barrel revolver convinced the resident to put it down. A fake grenade is just as scary as a live one.

  21. I may or may not have taken a spent one home as well… gave it to my brother who displayed it on his toolbox at work (because he didn’t work with a bunch of bitch ass pussies).

  22. Well Wayner, the US Army considers me an expert so there are 2 ways you can tell it has been fired:
    1. The way they are holding it in one of the photos it is obvious it is empty because they would not be holding a much heavier live one like that.
    2. If you do not have the level of expertise I do, you could resort to reading the article where it is clearly stated it is empty.

  23. This is so sad. Im a LEO. This agency has probably ruined a year of this guys life over a useless wall hanger of which there are thousands. Its common for them to get permission to take them. He will do no time because he didn’t break any laws, but in the meantime he will be stressed beyond belief and hate every cop he meets for the rest of his life. These are trash to the military and they aren’t dangerous. The fact they would make light of it and take these pictures is worse. Aren’t there enough real criminals out there to go after? Law enforcement has enough enemies. We dont need the good guys hating us too.

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