WORTHINGTON — A Nobles County District Court jury found a Worthington man guilty of unlawfully possessing a pistol and ammunition, Nobles County Attorney Joe Sanow announced Friday.

Somboun Kounlabout, 39, of Worthington, was convicted of being an ineligible person in possession of a firearm.

According to a press release issued Friday by Sanow, who tried the case:

According to the criminal complaint and trial testimony, on Sept. 27, 2019 Worthington police officers were conducting a probation check at a residence in Worthington. Kounlabout was found in a bedroom. Kounlabout gave officers permission to search his backpack.

"Inside the backpack, officers found a 9mm pistol and magazine loaded with 9mm rounds. Officers found identical 9mm rounds in a plastic pill bottle not far from where the pistol and magazine was found. Kounlabout told officers he had prior felony convictions, making him ineligible to possess a pistol or ammunition."

According to Sanow, the trial began at 9 a.m. Thursday, and the jury received the case at 3:19 p.m. that same day. The verdict was returned at 4:03 p.m. after less than 45 minutes of deliberation.

“I am pleased with the jury’s verdict, and I thank the Worthington Police Department for its work on this matter,” Sanow said in the press release. “There is a compelling public safety interest in keeping guns and ammo out of the hands of ineligible individuals, who forfeited their right to bear arms when they committed their crimes. The Legislature agrees, imposing a substantial prison consequence for anyone who violates that law.”

Kounlabout faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 60 months in prison. A sentencing hearing will take place following completion of a pre-sentence investigation.