MINNEAPOLIS — A federal indictment filed Monday charges a 32-year-old felon from Crosby with possessing a .40-caliber, semi-automatic pistol along with approximately 30 grams of methamphetamine and crack cocaine. Zachari Allen Kozar was specifically charged with one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm, one count of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and crack cocaine, and one count of using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a drug-trafficking crime.
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. Then, on December 26, 2012, officers stopped Kozar for a traffic violation while he was in Baxter. During that stop, Kozar allegedly became agitated when a drug-sniffing canine was brought to the scene. After the dog alerted to a controlled substance, police spotted a clear plastic baggie with crystal-like content, along with a handgun, under the vehicle’s front passenger seat. Police subsequently executed a search warrant on the vehicle, finding the loaded .40-caliber Steyr firearm in a nylon gun holster, 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 after the initial traffic stop, and $896 in U.S. currency was 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 these 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.
If convicted, Kozar faces a potential maximum penalty of life in prison for being a felon in possession, 20 years for drug possession, and a possible consecutive five-year to life sentence for carrying and using a firearm during or in relation to a drug trafficking crime. All sentences will be determined by a federal district court judge.
This case is the result of an investigation by the Lakes Area Drug Investigative Division, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, and the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Allen A. Slaughter.