Federal jury convicts St. Paul man of meth, gun charges

A St. Paul man has been found guilty of methamphetamine and gun charges by a federal jury.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office says the jury found 44-year-old William Howard Proto, Jr., guilty of two counts of possession with intent to distribute meth, one count of gun possession in furtherance of drug trafficking and one count of felon in possession of a gun. Authorities say Proto pleaded guilty to the gun possession as a felon charge during the trial.

Bloomington police arrested Proto on June 29, 2021, after he was found in the driver’s seat of a stolen Cadillac Escalade. Inside the vehicle, officers found nine pounds of meth, 200 grams of cocaine, scales, $50,000 in cash and a loaded gun, according to the attorney’s office. In August, he was then arrested at a Woodbury hotel and found with a handgun, an assault rifle without a serial number and five pounds of meth.

Prosecutors say Proto’s prior felony convictions in Dakota and Ramsey counties prevent him from legally having any guns or ammunition.

His sentencing date hasn’t yet been scheduled.