MINNEAPOLIS (WJON News) – A St. Paul man has been sentenced to more than 23 years in prison for methamphetamine trafficking and firearms violations.

On June 16, 2022, following a three-day trial 45-year-old William Proto Jr. 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.

According to court documents, on June 29, 2021, officers with the Bloomington Police Department arrested Proto after he was found 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.

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On August 19, 2021, pursuant to a federal warrant, agents located Proto at a hotel in Woodbury. Officers arrested Proto as he was wheeling a luggage cart in the parking lot towards his SUV. On the luggage cart in a black duffle bag, officers found five pounds of methamphetamine, $5,000 in cash, an assault style rifle, and loaded magazines. Proto also had a loaded 9-mm handgun in his pocket. Officers searched Proto’s SUV and found additional ammunition.

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