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Press Release

Rochester Armed Career Criminal Sentenced To 180 Months In Prison For Illegal Possession Of A Firearm

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Minnesota

United States Attorney Erica H. MacDonald today announced the sentencing of CHARLES ANTONIO GAYLES, 38, to 180 months in prison for illegally possessing a firearm. GAYLES, who pleaded guilty on November 20, 2019, was sentenced earlier today before Senior Judge Michael J. Davis in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

“The U.S. Attorney’s Office is focusing our efforts on taking armed criminals off the streets, in the Twin Cities and in greater Minnesota, said United States Attorney Erica MacDonald. “Mr. Gayles’s long and violent criminal history in Olmstead County warranted this significant sentence and I applaud our federal and local law enforcement partners for their work in bringing him to justice.”

“As an armed career criminal, this individual’s criminal conduct has plagued the Rochester community for far too long,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge William Henderson, of the St. Paul Field Division. “We are pleased to see that justice has been served. We appreciate the hard work from Rochester Police Department in this case.”

According to the defendant’s guilty plea and documents filed in court, on May 7, 2019, an officer with the Rochester Police Department initiated a traffic stop on a black Audi A6 for expired registration and unlawful tint. As the officer approached the vehicle he could smell marijuana and observed a sandwich bag containing just over eight grams of marijuana in the center console area. GAYLES, who was driving the vehicle, gave the bag of marijuana to the officer. When the officer asked GAYLES to turn off the vehicle, GAYLES sped off but shortly thereafter crashed the vehicle and then continued to flee on foot. The two passengers who were in the vehicle told the officer that GAYLES pulled out a black handgun from under the driver’s seat before fleeing on foot. Another officer saw GAYLES toss a black firearm into a nearby bush. Officers recovered from the bush a loaded Sig Sauer, model P320, 9-millimeter semiautomatic pistol. After a search of the area, officers located GAYLES a few blocks away hiding inside a trashcan; the keys for the Audi A6 were located in his pocket. After conducting a search of the vehicle GAYLES was driving, officers recovered an additional 27.34 grams of marijuana, two loaded 9mm handgun magazines, one a large-capacity 32-round magazine, and a Sig Sauer 9mm holster. Because he has multiple prior felony convictions, GAYLES is prohibited under federal law from possessing a firearm at any time.

This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and the Rochester Police Department. This case was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), an initiative that brings together federal, state, and local law enforcement to combat violent crime. This case is also part of Project Guardian, the Department of Justice’s signature initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Benjamin Bejar prosecuted the case.


Defendant Information:


Rochester, Minn.


  • Felon in possession of a firearm - armed career criminal, 1 count


  • 180 months in prison
  • Five years of supervised release





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United States Attorney’s Office, District of Minnesota: (612) 664-5600

Updated August 4, 2020

Project Guardian
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Firearms Offenses