Pistol packing preacher pleads no contest to marijuana misdemeanor
Local pastor James Arthur McAbee, known as “the Pistol Packing Preacher,” faced judgment Aug. 20, not the preacher’s final judgment in the eyes of the Lord but judgment by a Jefferson County criminal court on marijuana charges stemming from an April incident in which officers reportedly discovered him with drugs and a gun.
Criminal District Attorney Cory Crenshaw announced Aug. 20 that McAbee, pastor at Lighthouse Worship Center in Beaumont, pleaded no contest to possession of marijuana, a Class B misdemeanor. He was sentenced by Judge Langston Adams to two years deferred probation with a $2,000 fine, the maximum fine for his crime. As conditions of his probation, McAbee will also have to complete drug education classes, perform community service, and surrender his concealed handgun licenses from Texas, Arizona and Florida, preventing him from privately packing his pistols in those states.
According to offense reports, on April 10, officers with the Beaumont Police Department were working undercover at the Red Carpet Inn, an area known for prostitution and illegal drug trafficking. Officers observed what they believed to be a drug transaction between McAbee and a known prostitute. Officers then reportedly conducted a traffic stop on McAbee and found marijuana in the vehicle and a loaded handgun on his person.
Possession of less than two ounces of marijuana is a Class B misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in county jail and/or a fine up to $2,000.
As part of the plea agreement, the state dismissed the unlawful carrying of a weapon charge.
McAbee has made no bones about his appreciation of firearms and even acted as an instructor for concealed handgun licensing courses, as discussed in a Feburary 2013 article in The Examiner when he was offering free training to educators. McAbee is also featured on a Facebook page, “James McAbee ‘The Pistol Packing Pastor.’”
“These aren’t ‘Little House on the Prairie’ days anymore,” McAbee told The Examiner last year.
True indeed, as “Little House on the Prairie” never aired any episodes pertaining to marijuana possession or buying drugs from prostitutes.