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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Kentucky

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Federal Grand Jury Returns Four Indictments for Firearms and Drug Offenses

Charges Include Possession with Intent to Distribute Fentanyl and Methamphetamine

Louisville, KY – A federal grand jury in Louisville returned four indictments last week separately charging firearms and drug offenses. According to the indictments:

Charles Lee Bailey, age 45, of Louisville, Kentucky, was charged with distribution of methamphetamine, and possession of a firearm by a previously convicted felon;

Elmer Gregorio Mendoza, age 60, of Guatemala, was charged with possession with the intent to distribute more than a half kilogram of methamphetamine and more than 400 grams of fentanyl;

Charles Bethel, age 44, of Louisville, Kentucky, was charged with possession with the intent to distribute more than a half kilogram of methamphetamine and more than 40 grams of fentanyl, possession of a firearm by a previously convicted felon, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking; and

Charles Jermaine Gore, age 38, of Louisville, Kentucky, was charged with possession with the intent to distribute fentanyl, possession of a firearm by a previously convicted felon, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking.

Bailey made his initial court appearance yesterday before a U.S. Magistrate Judge in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky. Mendoza made his initial court appearance on August 9, 2022. Bethel and Gore will be scheduled at a later date to make their initial court appearances.

If convicted, Bailey faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 5 years and a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison, Mendoza faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years and a maximum of life in prison, Bethel faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 15 years and a maximum of life in prison, and Gore faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 5 years and a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison. There is no parole in the federal system. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

U.S. Attorney Michael A. Bennett of the Western District of Kentucky, Special Agent in Charge R. Shawn Morrow of the ATF Louisville Field Division, Special Agent in Charge J. Todd Scott of the DEA Louisville Division, Special Agent in Charge Jodi Cohen of the FBI Louisville Field Office, and LMPD Chief Erika Shields made the announcement.

The ATF, DEA, FBI, and the Louisville Metro Police Department are investigating the cases.

These cases are being prosecuted by Assistant U. S. Attorneys Alicia Gomez and Frank Dahl.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.

An indictment is merely an allegation, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

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Updated August 24, 2022