Independence Man Sentenced for Drug Trafficking, Illegal Firearms, Carjacking

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – An Independence, Missouri, man was sentenced in federal court today for distributing methamphetamine, carjacking, and illegally possessing firearms after leading officers on three high-speed vehicle pursuits.

Charles V. Bai, 29, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Howard F. Sachs to 13 years in federal prison without parole.

On Oct. 13, 2021, Bai pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, one count of willfully damaging federal property, two counts of possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime, one count of carjacking, and one count of brandishing of a firearm in connection with a crime of violence.

On March 8, 2020, Bai fired three shots at a motorist on Highway 24 in Independence, Mo., during a road rage incident. The victim reported that Bai, driving a stolen 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.

On March 11, 2020, federal agents with the U.S. Marshals Service attempted to apprehend Bai on a felony arrest warrant. Bai, still driving the stolen Toyota 4Runner, 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.

On March 17, 2020, an Independence police officer spotted the Toyota 4Runner parked in the garage at Bai’s residence. The officer recognized the vehicle as the same vehicle Bai had been driving during the high-speed chase a few days earlier. When Bai left the residence driving the Toyota 4Runner, officers attempted to stop him but he fled and a pursuit was initiated.

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The pursuit continued for several minutes at speeds in excess of 100 miles per hour as Bai drove erratically, putting numerous motorists at risk, through Independence. The pursuit 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.

Bai told investigators after his arrest that he conspired with others to distribute methamphetamine. The conspiracy, which lasted from June 2019 to August 2020, distributed more than 15 kilograms of methamphetamine.

On July 14, 2020, Bai, along with co-defendants Destiny J. White, 33, of Blue Springs, Mo., and Kerri J. Seaboldt, 31, no address, carjacked a 2018 Chevrolet Camaro. White met the victim of the carjacking and rode with him in the Camaro as they were followed by Seaboldt in a separate vehicle. White directed the victim to an alleyway, where they met Seaboldt. White told the victim they were there to pick up Seaboldt because she was having an argument with her boyfriend. Seaboldt was on the phone with Bai and pretended to engage in an argument, as White and the victim waited. Meanwhile, Bai entered the alleyway, wielding a Glock .45-caliber semi-automatic handgun with an extended magazine. Bai pointed the handgun at the victim and ordered him to get out of the Camaro and leave his personal belongings. Bai then got into the driver’s seat and drove away.

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Bai later fled from officers in the stolen vehicle, which he ultimately wrecked, then fled on foot. Officers were unable to apprehend Bai at that time.

White and Seaboldt have pleaded guilty to their roles in the carjacking and to using a firearm in a crime of violence, and await sentencing.

Bai was stopped by Kansas City police officers on Aug. 19, 2020. 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.

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.

Operation LeGend

Operation LeGend is a federal partnership with local law enforcement to address the increase in homicides and violent crime in Kansas City, Mo., in 2020. The operation honors the memory of four-year-old LeGend Taliferro, one of the youngest fatalities during a record-breaking year of homicides and shootings. Additional federal agents were assigned to the operation from the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the U.S. Marshals Service.

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