From a Release by U.S. Attorney's Office for Southern District of WV

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – A Kansas man who was caught with crystal methamphetamine and a firearm in Hurricane in November of 2017 was sentenced  to 132 months, or 11 years, in federal prison, announced United States Attorney Mike Stuart.  Bunthia Can Thach, 39, previously pled guilty to possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.  U.S. Attorney Stuart commended the investigative efforts of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Hurricane Police Department.

“Patrolling our highways is inherently dangerous, because law enforcement officers never know what they are going to face when they approach a car,”  said United States Attorney Mike Stuart.  “I’m so grateful for the brave men and women that do this work.  They take dangerous drug dealers like Thach off our streets.”

Around midnight on November 10, 2017, an officer with the Hurricane Police Department observed a vehicle parked just off the Interstate 64 exit ramp at Hurricane.  The officer noted the vehicle had Kansas registration plates, was not running, and approached the vehicle to see if it contained a stranded motorist.  The officer located Thach and another individual in vehicle.  The officer also observed that Thach was wearing a gun holster and saw a loose bullet in the floorboard of the vehicle.  Thach subsequently told the officer he hid a handgun under the passenger seat when the officer was approaching the vehicle.  Officers then recovered a loaded Glock .45 caliber handgun with a 30-round extended magazine from under the seat.  Officers also located approximately 54 grams of methamphetamine from a bag in the rear of vehicle. 

Thach admitted that he traveled from Kansas to purchase a large quantity of marijuana which he was going to transport to North Carolina.  Thach further admitted that he intended to sell the methamphetamine and that he brought the handgun from Kansas for protection during the trip.  Officers also discovered that Thach had previously been convicted of multiple felony offenses and was prohibited from possessing a firearm.

Assistant United States Attorney Joseph F. Adams handled the prosecution.  The sentence was imposed by United States District Judge Robert C. Chambers.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone.   Attorney General Jeff Sessions reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.