St. Paul Felon Indicted For Possessing A .22-caliber Handgun
MINNEAPOLIS—A federal indictment unsealed earlier this week charges a 23-year-old St. Paul felon with possessing a .22-caliber handgun. The indictment specifically charges Phuvanath Ronald Mounthachack with one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm. The indictment was unsealed following Mounthachack’s initial appearance in federal court on June 19.
The indictment alleges that on January 15, 2013, Mounthachack possessed the .22-caliber, semi-automatic handgun. Because he is a felon, Mounthachack is prohibited under federal law from possessing a firearm or ammunition at any time. His prior Wright County convictions include aggravated robbery (2007) and fifth-degree sale of a controlled substance while employing a dangerous weapon (2009).
If convicted, Mounthachack faces a potential maximum penalty of ten years in prison. Any sentence would be determined by a federal district court judge. This case is the result of an investigation by the Minneapolis Police Department and the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Amber M. Brennan.
The case was charged federally through Project Exile Minneapolis. That law enforcement initiative was launched on July 22, 2010, as part of a city-wide effort to reduce gun violence. Through Project Exile, the Minneapolis Police Department and the ATF work together to apprehend serial criminals for violations of gun laws. Then, the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office teams up with the U.S. Attorney’s Office to determine where those offenders will most effectively be prosecuted – state or federal court. Those determinations are based on the offenders’ criminal histories and current charges, among other factors. To date, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has brought charges against more than a dozen serious habitual criminals through Project Exile Minneapolis.
An indictment is a determination by a grand jury that there is probable cause to believe that offenses have been committed by a defendant. A defendant, of course, is presumed innocent until he or she pleads guilty or is proven guilty at trial.