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Worthington men who allegedly shot carp in Lake Bella face unlawful firearm possession charges

Soukhamthath1 / 2
Gasca2 / 2

BIGELOW — Two convicted felons prohibited from possessing a weapon face criminal charges following an Oct. 13 investigation regarding individuals accused of shooting a shotgun at carp near the Lake Bella spillway.

According to criminal complaints filed Monday in Nobles County District Court, Khamsone Soukhamthath, 29, and Christopher Gasca, 33, both of Worthington, were among the individuals who were stopped in a vehicle that a complainant identified as having left the lake near Bigelow after allegedly shooting at carp.

Nobles County deputies stopped the vehicle, but the investigation was then continued by Minnesota Department of Natural Resource conservation officers.

According to the complaint, the vehicle’s occupants all initially denied having shot carp. A firearm and ammunition was discovered in the vehicle. The gun and ammo — which conversation officers noted had six missing shells from the box — were claimed by a vehicle occupant who, as of Tuesday afternoon, had not been charged.

Due to a number of previous violent crime convictions that prohibited firearm or ammo possession, Gasca and Soukhamthath were both arrested.

Following their arrest, the individual claiming ownership of the weapon told officers that Soukhamthath and Gasca shot carp. He had earlier denied knowing anything because they all agreed to not confess —  so no one would get in trouble, he told officers.

The complainant providing the tip then took conservation officers to the location near the spillway where he claimed the suspects fired six to seven shots. Officers allegedly retrieved four spent shotgun shells that matched the shells in the box of ammunition seized. They also allegedly discovered a dead carp with a hole consistent with it being shot.

Soukhamthath and Gasca both face two counts of felony firearm/ammo possession of a person convicted or adjudicated delinquent for crime of violence. Soukhamthath has also been charged with driving after revocation, a misdemeanor.

The duo’s conditional bail was scheduled at $25,000 and $60,000 unconditional. Their initial appearance in Nobles County District Court is scheduled for Oct. 24.