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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of West Virginia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, April 30, 2018

Kansas Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Drug and Gun Charges

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – A Kansas man who was caught with crystal methamphetamine and a firearm in Hurricane in November of 2017 pled guilty today to federal drug and gun charges, announced United States Attorney Mike Stuart.  Bunthia Can Thach, 39, entered his guilty pleas to possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.  U.S. Attorney Stuart commended the investigative efforts of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Hurricane Police Department.

“Another dangerous, drug dealing, gun-toting criminal off the streets,” said United States Attorney Mike Stuart.  “My Office is working with our federal, state and local law enforcement partners to prosecute repeat offenders like Thach.”

Around midnight on November 10, 2017, an officer with the Hurricane Police Department observed a vehicle parked just off the Interstate 64 exit ramp at Hurricane.  The officer noted the vehicle had Kansas registration plates, was not running, and approached the vehicle to see if it contained a stranded motorist.  The officer located Thach and another individual in vehicle.  The officer also observed that Thach was wearing a gun holster and saw a loose bullet in the floorboard of the vehicle.  Thach subsequently told the officer he hid a handgun under the passenger seat when the officer was approaching the vehicle.  Officers then recovered a loaded Glock .45 caliber handgun with a 30-round extended magazine from under the seat.  Officers also located approximately 54 grams of methamphetamine from a bag in the rear of vehicle. 

Thach admitted that he traveled from Kansas to purchase a large quantity of marijuana which he was going to transport to North Carolina.  Thach further admitted that he intended to sell the methamphetamine and that he brought the handgun from Kansas for protection during the trip.  Officers also discovered that Thach had previously been convicted of multiple felony offenses and was prohibited from possessing a firearm.

Thach faces up to 20 years in federal prison for the drug charge, and a mandatory minimum consecutive term of at least 5 years in federal prison for the gun charge, when he is sentenced on August 13, 2018.

Assistant United States Attorney Joseph F. Adams is responsible for the prosecution. The plea hearing was held before United States District Judge Robert C. Chambers.

This case is being prosecuted as part of an ongoing effort led by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia to combat the illicit sale and misuse of illegal drugs, including methamphetamine. The U.S. Attorney’s Office, joined by federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, is committed to aggressively pursuing and shutting down illegal pill trafficking, eliminating open air drug markets, and curtailing the spread of illegal drugs in communities across the Southern District. 

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone.   Attorney General Jeff Sessions reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.

 

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Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Updated April 30, 2018