Missouri man charged with illegal firearms, drug trafficking

Drug Trafficking

A Missouri man was charged in federal court with illegally possessing firearms and with drug trafficking after twice leading officers on high-speed vehicle pursuits.

Charles V. Bai, 27, of Independence, Missouri, was charged in a three-count criminal complaint filed in the U.S. District Court in Kansas City.

The federal criminal complaint charges Bai with two counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm and one count of possessing methamphetamine with the intent to distribute.

According to an affidavit filed in support of the federal criminal complaint, an Independence police officer spotted a Toyota 4Runner parked in the garage at Bai’s residence on March 17, 2020. The officer recognized the vehicle, which was stolen, as the same vehicle Bai had been driving during a high-speed chase a few days earlier. In that earlier incident, on March 11, 2020, federal agents with the U.S. Marshals Service had attempted to apprehend Bai on a felony arrest warrant. Bai struck a Marshals Service vehicle and was able to elude law enforcement after a brief vehicle pursuit was terminated due to Bai traveling at excessive speeds.

When Bai left the residence driving the Toyota 4Runner, officers attempted to stop him but he fled and a pursuit was initiated. The pursuit continued for several minutes through Independence and ended on Blue Ridge Cutoff at Interstate 70 after Bai’s vehicle was involved in a single-car accident, rendering the vehicle inoperable. Bai fled on foot but was apprehended by officers. During the apprehension, law enforcement received an emergency call regarding a gun that was lying in the road on eastbound Interstate 70, outside of the center lane, west of Noland Road. An officer recovered the Ruger 9mm pistol with an extended magazine. The extended magazine of the handgun had been run over by passing motorists and approximately 26 9mm bullets were spread across Interstate 70. When officers searched the Toyota 4Runner they found four handgun magazines, 24 rounds of 9mm ammunition, and a handgun holster. Investigators also found Facebook messages from Bai offering the pistol for sale.

The affidavit also refers to a road rage incident that occurred on March 8, 2020. A motorist reported his/her vehicle being shot while driving on 24 Highway and Sterling Avenue in Independence. The victim reported that the shooter, driving a Toyota 4Runner, pulled up beside the driver’s side of his/her truck, brandished a black handgun with an extended magazine, and fired three shots at him/her, striking the victim’s vehicle with all three rounds.

According to the affidavit, Bai told investigators after his arrest that he purchased large quantities of methamphetamine on multiple occasions.

Bai was stopped by Kansas City police officers on Wednesday, Aug. 19. He was driving a 2006 Chevrolet Monte Carlo but was unable to provide a driver’s license or proof of insurance on the car. The license plate on the Monte Carlo was registered to another vehicle. Bai was issued a municipal summons and released. Officers prepared to have the car towed, but found a loaded Smith & Wesson .40-caliber semi-automatic pistol in the driver’s side door panel (in a cavity where a speaker had been removed). Officers determined the pistol had been stolen.

Officers then located Bai, who was driving another vehicle, and arrested him. Bai had a bag of 3.6 grams of methamphetamine in his front pants pocket and had been holding a box that contained items associated with drug distribution. 

Under federal law, it is illegal for anyone who has been convicted of a felony to be in possession of any firearm or ammunition. Bai has prior felony convictions for tampering with a motor vehicle, resisting arrest by fleeing and creating a substantial risk of injury or death, unlawful use of a weapon, resisting/interfering with an arrest, possessing a controlled substance, and unlawfully transporting firearms.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Byron H. Black. It was investigated by the Independence, Mo., Police Department, the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Marshals Service, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.