Local Man Guilty of Firearms Charge in Furtherance of Drug Trafficking
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas - A federal jury returned a guilty verdict against a 42-year-old Corpus Christi man for possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick.
Charles Callis Jr. pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute cocaine this morning. Following a day of testimony, the jury deliberated for less than 30 minutes before also convicting him of the firearms charge.
On Dec. 6, 2018, multiple federal law enforcement agencies executed an arrest warrant for Callis on unrelated charges. At that time, they also searched his residence and business - Done Right Air Conditioning - on the 3700 block of Saturn Road.
During trial, the jury heard that during the searches, agents opened a locked room and discovered it had been set up for drug trafficking. The room contained an open counter along the wall where agents found a piece of Tupperware containing cocaine, a digital scale, cutting agents, a metal press, money counting machine and a loaded Taurus 9mm handgun.
In addition, they also discovered a large safe. Inside, there was a box of small Ziploc baggies, approximately $49,000 and a cellular phone. Authorities later confirmed the substance in the bags was cocaine with a total weight of 508 grams.
The defense attempted to convince the jury Callis had lawfully purchased the handgun and it was unrelated to the cocaine. The jury did not believe his claims and convicted him.
Senior U.S. District Judge John Rainey presided over the trial and set sentencing for Oct. 16, 2019. At that time, Callis faces a minimum of five and up to 40 years in federal prison for the cocaine conviction and up to life for the firearms charge which must be served consecutively to any other prison term imposed. The charges also carry a potential $5 million maximum fine.
Callis has been and will remain in custody pending that hearing.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives conducted the investigation with the assistance of the Drug Enforcement Administration. Assistant U.S. Attorney Lance Watt is prosecuting the case.