St. Paul Felon Pleads Guilty To Possessing A .22-caliber Handgun
MINNEAPOLIS—Yesterday in federal court, a 23-year-old St. Paul felon pleaded guilty to possessing a .22-caliber handgun. On August 20, 2013, Phuvanath Ronald Mounthachack pleaded guilty to one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm. Mounthachack, who was indicted on June 3, 2013, entered his plea before United States District Judge Patrick J. Schiltz.
In his plea agreement, Mounthachack admitted that on January 15, 2013, he made arrangements to sell a firearm to two individuals, one of whom was an undercover police officer. Mounthachack admitted instructing the individuals to meet him near the intersection of Interstate 94 and Lexington Avenue in St. Paul. At approximately 8:10 p.m., Mounthachack arrived at that location, carrying a .22-caliber, semi-automatic handgun along with some ammunition. In return for $500 in cash, he handed over the gun and ammunition to the two individuals.
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).
For his crime, Mounthachack faces a potential maximum penalty of ten years in prison. Judge Schiltz will determine his sentence at a future hearing, yet to be scheduled. This case is the result of an investigation by the Minneapolis Police Department and the U.S. 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 approximately two dozen serious habitual criminals through Project Exile Minneapolis.