Independence man faces federal gun, drug charges

Karl Zinke
The Examiner

An Independence man faces several federal charges after twice leading police on high-speed chases.

Charles V. Bai, 27, was charged Wednesday in federal court in Kansas City 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 court documents, Kansas City police officers stopped Bai Wednesday. He was driving a 2006 Chevrolet Monte Carlo but was unable to provide a driver’s license or proof of insurance. He was issued a summons and released.

When officers prepared to have the car towed, they discovered a stolen, loaded handgun in the driver’s side door panel in a place where a speaker had been removed.

Officers located Bai driving another vehicle and arrested him. During the arrest, officers discovered 3.6 grams of meth in his front pants pocket and a box that contained items associated with drug distribution.

According to the court documents, that followed a pair of incidents in March that ended in high-speed chases. An Independence police officer spotted Bai’s Toyota 4Runner parked in his garage on March 14 and recognized it from a high-speed pursuit three days earlier.

Federal U.S. Marshals Service agents had tried to arrest Bai on a felony warrant on March 11 but he was able to elude them after a brief high-speed chase that was stopped because of public safety concerns.

On March 14, when Bai left his home, officers tried to stop him, but he led officers on another high-speed chase through Independence before he crashed the 4Runner on Blue Ridge Cutoff near Interstate 70. He ran, but officers caught him.

During the chase, police received a call about a gun lying in the eastbound lane of I-70. Officers recovered a 9mm handgun with an extended magazine on the highway. The magazine had been run over by passing drivers and bullets were strewn across the road.

Officers found four more magazines, 24 rounds of 9mm ammunition and a holster in the Toyota. Officers also found Facebook messages on his phone with Bai offering the pistol for sale.

Court documents also mentioned a road rage incident on March 8. A driver had reported another driver in a Toyota 4Runner had brandished a black handgun with an extended magazine and fired three shots into his vehicle near U.S. 24 and Sterling Avenue in Independence.

Court documents also said Bai told investigators after his arrest that he had bought large amounts of meth on several occasions.

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.