MINNEAPOLIS – A federal jury convicted a St. Paul man of methamphetamine distribution and firearms violations, announced U.S. Attorney Andrew M. Luger.
Following a three-day trial before U.S. District Judge Nancy E. Brasel, William Howard Proto, Jr., 44, was convicted on two counts of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking, and one count of possessing a firearm as a felon. During the trial, Proto pleaded guilty to one count of possessing a firearm as a felon. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled at a later time.
As proven at trial, on June 29, 2021, officers with the Bloomington Police Department arrested Proto after he was in the driver’s seat of a stolen Cadillac Escalade. Officers searched the vehicle and found nine pounds of methamphetamine, 200 grams of cocaine, digital scales, more than $50,000 in cash, and a loaded firearm. Following his arrest, Proto was indicted in U.S. District Court on one count of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and one count of possession of a firearm as a felon. On August 19, 2021, pursuant to a federal warrant, agents located Proto at a hotel in Woodbury. Proto was taken into custody in the hotel parking lot. At the time of the arrest, Proto had a handgun in his pocket and, in a black duffle bag, more than five pounds of methamphetamine and an assault-style rifle with no serial number.
Because Proto has multiple prior felony convictions in Dakota and Ramsey Counties, he is prohibited under federal law from possessing firearms or ammunition at any time.
This case was the result of an investigation conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Bloomington Police Department.
This case was tried by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Andrew S. Dunne and Joseph S. Teirab.