ATF

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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

District of Minnesota

www.justice.gov/usao/mn

For Immediate Release

May 15, 2013

B. Todd Jones, United States Attorney

Contact: Jeanne F. Cooney, Director of Community Relations
(612) 664-5611
jeanne.cooney@usdoj.gov

Crosby Felon Pleads Guilty to Possessing a Pistol and Drugs

MINNEAPOLIS — Yesterday in federal court, a 32–year–old felon from the northern Minnesota community of Crosby pleaded guilty to possessing a .40–caliber, semi–automatic pistol along with approximately 30 grams of methamphetamine. Zachari Allen Kozar pleaded guilty to one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm and one count of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. Kozar, who was charged on May 14, 2013, entered his plea before United States District Court Judge Ann D. Montgomery.

In his plea agreement, Kozar admitted that on December 26, 2012, officers stopped Kozar for a traffic violation while he was near Brainerd, Minnesota, and later found the loaded handgun and drugs under the vehicle's front passenger seat.

According to a law enforcement affidavit filed in the case, authorities began observing Kozar in the fall of 2012 as part of a drug trafficking investigation. During the December 26 stop, Kozar became agitated when a drug–sniffing canine was brought to the scene. The dog alerted police to a controlled substance. Police subsequently executed a search warrant on the vehicle, finding the loaded .40–caliber Steyr Mannlicher firearm in a nylon gun holster. They also recovered a second .40 caliber magazine, a plastic baggy containing approximately 2.8 grams of crack cocaine, as well as ten baggies of various amounts of methamphetamine and crack cocaine totaling approximately 32.1 grams. Kozar was arrested shortly afterward. Approximately $896 in U.S. currency was also found on his person.

Because he is a felon, Kozar is prohibited under federal law from possessing a firearm or ammunition at any time. His prior convictions in St. Louis County include two counts of theft of a motor vehicle (1999), fleeing police in a motor vehicle (1999 and 2004), third–degree burglary (1999), damage to property (1999), escape from custody (2001), fifth–degree drug possession (2004 and two counts in 2008), and third–degree drug possession (2009) . Because some of those convictions constitute crimes of violence, Kozar is subject to the federal Armed Career Criminal Act. That act mandates a minimum of 15 years in prison for anyone subsequently convicted in federal court for being a felon in possession of a firearm or ammunition.

For his crimes, Kozar faces a potential maximum penalty of life in prison on the gun charge and 40 years for drug possession. Judge Montgomery will determine his sentence at a future hearing, yet to be scheduled.

This case is the result of an investigation by the Lakes Area Drug Investigative Division, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Allen A. Slaughter.

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