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Crosby man pleads guilty to possessing a pistol and drugs

MINNEAPOLIS — A 32-year-old Crosby man Tuesday pleaded guilty to possessing a .40-caliber, semi-automatic pistol along with approximately 30 grams of methamphetamine in federal court.

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 entered his plea before United States District Court Judge Ann D. Montgomery.

In his plea agreement, Kozar admitted that on Dec. 26, 2012, officers stopped Kozar for a traffic violation while he was near Brainerd 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 Dec. 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 in 1999, escape from custody in 2001, fifth-degree drug possession in 2004 and two counts in 2008 and third-degree drug possession in 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.

Kozar faces a potential maximum penalty of life in prison on the gun charge and 40 years for drug possession. 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.

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
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